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Mountaineers in the Pros

WVU Well Represented in UFL Conference Championship Games

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Former WVU Football WR Gary Jennings in UFL with Birmingham Stallions
Image credit to the Birmingham Stallions / UFL

With spring professional football intrenched into the new sports landscape, there’s an alternative opportunity for former Mountaineers. Several ex-WVU players will be able to experience postseason football this weekend in the UFL.

As the UFL prepares to crown its first champion since the XFL and USFL combined to form this new league, West Virginia will be represented no matter who wins.

Here are the Mountaineers taking part in the UFL’s conference championship games this weekend.

Gary Jennings will look to help the back-to-back USFL champion Birmingham Stallions win another title. He played under fellow WVU product Anthony Becht during St. Louis Battlehawks’ final XFL season last year.

Anthony Becht Unhappy About Fellow WVU Product Gary Jennings Being Signed by Stallions

But after losing one Mountaineer, Becht picked up another. Dravon Askew-Henry is a safety for the Battlehawks as they attempt to win St. Louis its first professional football championship since the then St. Louis Rams won Super Bowl XXXIV on January 30, 2000.

Another safety, Sean Mahone is on the Michigan Panthers and Rex Sunahara is a long snapper for the San Antonio Brahmas.

The games will get underway on Saturday and go through the weekend. On Saturday, the Panthers battle the Stallions at 3 pm ET on ABC/ESPN. The Brahmas and Battlehawks will then close the weekend with a Sunday contest, taking place at 7 pm ET and airing on FoX/Fox Sports. 

As mentioned above, the most notable former WVU player still alive in the UFL playoffs is Becht, ex-WVU and NFL tight end.

WV Sports Now’s Mike Asti talked with Becht about his progression as a coach ahead of his second season leading the Battlehawks in April.

“I think going into the season last year the biggest thing I wanted to focus on was my job in game, making sure situationally I’m sound, have a good understanding of what’s to come, what’s happening and give everybody a good sense and plan early enough so my coordinators can make the proper adjustments they need to make so we can execute at a high level,” said Becht at the time.

Anthony Becht Explains Progression as Coach, Holding Battlehawks to High Standard

He then elaborated on the differences of coaching this team this season compared to the situation last year besides just the change in leagues.

“Last year we had a little bit longer training camp so there was a little bit more banging and some things going on there like ‘how can I be different?’ and ‘how can I get guys fresh?’” Becht added that 2023 was a learning experience for him.

“You want to push them hard but you also go to tier it back and figure out that happy medium. For me, that was a big emphasis in training camp this year. Make sure we get our work in but make sure we get the schedule set so guys get adequate rest so they feel good, not just for the game, but the practices and everything we do.”

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