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Stampede beats WWAR

By The Herd, 02/02/24, 4:45PM CST


Stampede improve record to 2-0 at Birmingham

The Texas Stampede wheelchair rugby team roared back into action for game two at the demolition derby in Birmingham, Alabama, drawing cheers from their partisan crowd. Longtime favorite and recent Ring of Honor inductee, Bryan Kirkland, stole the spotlight as he was awarded player of the match, thrilling fans with a stellar performance that included scoring an impressive 12 tries. Kirkland expressed his gratitude, saying, "It was awesome having Stampede fans to start the tournament today. They bring the energy and enthusiasm and make us play harder just for them."

Coach Garcia shared his perspective on the team's performance, stating, "We came out on fire in the first game and accomplished a lot as a team. The team worked together with all aspects of the game. We did, however, have a slow start in our second game, but after an early timeout, we were back on the same page. I'm excited about what I saw today and look forward to our work tomorrow."

Despite that slow start, the Stampede rebounded after an early timeout. Led by the defensive prowess of Verdin, Pabon, Kirkland, and Bowser, they held WWAR's starting lineup, including USA athlete Melton and former development athletes Kress, Lindstrom, and Pitaluga, to just 8 points. The second quarter closed with a score of 30-18 for the Stampede, showcasing their determination to build chemistry on the court.

Newcomer Josh Smith made a significant impact in his first competition at Lakeshore, contributing five offensive assists. Player/coach Gabriel Garcia called his own number and subbed in the third quarter, causing numerous turnovers that propelled the Stampede to a 45-25 lead at the end of the period.

The fourth quarter saw both teams substituting starters and managing the rest of the game. The Stampede secured victory with a final score of 65-32. The team gears up for more action tomorrow, facing off against Boise and Shepherd. For additional game information, fans can visit