Former Tennessee wide receiver JaVonta Payton is now an XFL Champion after a narrow one-score victory in San Antonio this weekend.
Payton’s Arlington Renegades defeated the D.C. Defenders in Dwayne Johnson’s revitalized professional football league championship game on Saturday. The Renegades held off the Defenders in the fourth quarter to win the game by a score of 35-26.
Payton finished the game with two receptions for 21 yards on two targets. The former Mississippi State transfer joined the Tennessee football team for one year in 2021 before moving on to the next stage. Payton was then on the Arizona Cardinals practice squad for a quick minute following his time in Knoxville but did not play any regular season games in the NFL.
JaVonta Payton began the XFL season on the Orlando Guardians but was traded to the Renegades about halfway through the season. In total, Payton finished the season with 306 yards and two touchdowns on 18 receptions. Both of Payton’s touchdowns, plus 142 receiving yards of his total, came during the Renegades’ two postseason games this year.
JaVonta Payton : 5 catches for a career-high 121 yards & 2 TD's on 5 targets (4 catches for 108 yards & 2 TD's in the 1st half) pic.twitter.com/kqhPcIFFVD
— Lee Harvey (@MusikFan4Life) April 30, 2023
The Tennessee Volunteers can now claim a Super Bowl champion (Trey Smith, K.C. Chiefs) and an XFL champion (JaVonta Payton) in the year of 2023.
The D.C. Defenders had two former Vols on the roster entering the championship game. Former Tennessee tight end Alex Ellis finished the game with two receptions for 17 yards while former tight end Ethan Wolf did not record a reception. Wolf, though, did have a critical touchdown reception in the Defenders’ semi-final game last weekend.
#Defenders extend their lead with this 26-yard touchdown reception from Ethan Wolf!
— XFL Center (@XFLCenter) April 30, 2023
The Arlington Renegades and wide receiver JaVonta Payton, led by head coach Bob Stoops, won the XFL Championship this past Saturday night in San Antonio after defeating the D.C. Defenders by a score of 35-26.
this is the moment we prayed for 🙏 pic.twitter.com/cvTeqBycUW
— Arlington Renegades (@XFLRenegades) May 14, 2023