Badalona Dracs Top Spanish League After Four Weeks
The Badalona Dracs seem intent on repeating as Spanish league champions after only four weeks into the season with another decisive win, this time over the Valencia Giants. The Valencia Firebats, 2016 finalists for the Spanish title, pulled back to .500 in downing the Murcia Cobras. Meanwhile, the Reus Imperials sit comfortably in second spot with a resoundimg win over the Barbera Rookies.
Valencia Firebats (2-2) 20 – Murcia Cobras (2-2) 10
In a game the Firebats badly needed to win to stay in contention for a playoff spot, they performed at their best. Valencia jumped out to a 14-0 first half lead and increased it to 20-0 early in the third quarter before the Cobras could respond.
Firebats quarterback Fernando Altarriba threw two touchdowns passes to Alejandro Silvestre while Héctor Pertegaz scored the third and Nayim Mohamed added a two point conversion to account for the Firebats scoring.
Cobras running back Kevin Gramage scored a spectacular second half touchdown and Francisco Javier Martinez kicked a field goal in the third quarter but that was all the scoring Murcia could muster.
Badalona Dracs (4-0) 32 – Valencia Giants 6 (2-2)
The Badalona Dracs did not have an easy time of it early on in the game against the Valencia Giants in Catarroja. The Giants went into the halftime break nursing a 6-6 tie, but the Dracs then scored four unanswered touchdowns in the final two quarters to put Valencia away easily and leave no doubt that they are definitely planning to defend their Spanish title.
Dracs quarterback Sergi Gonzalo threw five touchdown passes while receiver Hunter Lee caught three of them. Both padded their league leads in each category. Raúl Cernuda and Ferran Llinàs each caught fourth quarter touchdown passes as Badalona cranked up the intensity in the second half.
The Giants had managed to keep pace with Badalona in the first half as their defense stymied the Dracs attack time and again. But Badalona head coach Oscar Calatayud definitely read the riot act to his troops at halftime and the game changed complexion completely as the third quarter started.
Lee hauled in a screen pass from Gonzalo on the first drive and took it all the way to break the tie and open the flood gates. Although Valencia could move the ball, they could not find the end zone as Badalona’s offense found its rhythm and won going away.
Reus Imperials (3-1) 49 – Barbera Rookies (0-4) 28
The Reus Imperials spotted the winless Rookies a 13-7 first quarter lead, only to kick into a higher gear in the second quarter scoring three straight touchdowns to take a 28-13 at halftime. Although the Rookies tried to play catch up after the break, they could not match the Imperials firepower.
Reus receiver Nate Stephens was a one-man wrecking crew scoring six touchdowns to overtake Badalona’s Hunter Lee for the Spanish scoring lead. Stephens now has 72 points after four games with Lee notching 66 so far.
Stephens caught four touchdown passes in the first half from the arm of quarterback Brady Huber. Then Huber’s replacement in the second half, Pau Muñoz, tossed two more to Stephens while running back Chris Smallwood rounded out the scoring for Reus in the fourth quarter.