The Roar of the Leones: Costa Rica’s Leones Cartago F.C. Edges Aguilas F.A. in a Thriller
Two neighboring Central American countries, Costa Rica and Nicaragua, organized a friendly game that took to field action on Saturday, September 3rd, 2016 at Cranshaw Stadium in Managua, Nicaragua.
Each country presented a team from their International Federation of American Football (IFAF) member league: the Leones Cartago F.C. of Costa Rica and the Aguilas F.A. of Nicaragua represented for this particular game.
Nicaraguan television channels 2, 8 and 13, as well as radio stations Radio Ya and Radio Sandino were very eager to promote the game while anticipating the arrival of the Costa Rica team.
Owner, Head Coach and Offensive Coordinator, Johan Quesada of the Leones Cartago F.C., had even more to celebrate as the team win of 26-24 coincided with his birthday weekend:
“The truth is, it was a very good experience to play against such a high level team. This was our 4th visit and the first victory against the Nicaraguan’s. Indeed, very proud of my team who understood the implanted idea that is to aim for and play with perfection. The execution of the plays was also perfect in the second half of the game.”
1st Quarter: The game opened with Leones Cartago F.C. QB Owen Williams #1 scoring a rushing touchdown. Extra point blocked. CR 6 – NG 0
Aguilas F.A. scored their first points of the game when QB Melvin Blandon #16 threw a 45-yard touchdown pass to RB Pablo Padilla #23. CR 6 – NG 6
Leones Cartago F.C. QB Owen Williams #1 repeated scoring action with another rushing touchdown to close out the quarter. Extra point blocked. CR 12 – NG 6
2nd Quarter: The next points scored for the Aguilas F.A. was in the form of a 25-yard touchdown run by RB Pablo Padilla #23. CR 12 – NG 12
Leones Cartago F.C. QB Owen Williams #1 suffered an injury towards the last eight minutes of the quarter and QB Arturo Ogiste #19 stepped in for the remainder of the game.
QB Owen Williams #1
“The Leones Cartago F.C. accepted me into their family and taught me what teamwork is. If you want to achieve things, you must strive for them. The most important experience for me was getting to play for the first time outside of the country and even being QB! This very important current position has given me many opportunities in the sport. I am very grateful for football and Johan Quesada as my coach who teaches me how to be better every day. This motivates me every game to give it my best and get the best result as a team. This sport for me has made a big impact on my life, because it was something I dreamed and now I’m really doing.”
3rd Quarter: Aguilas F.A. WR Rodrigo Arana #80 scored a 50-yard touchdown run. Extra point blocked. CR 12 – NG 18
Leones Cartago F.C. QB Arturo Ogiste #19 made a touchdown pass to WR Daniel Mora #22. Extra point blocked. CR 18 – NG 18
WR Daniel Mora #22
“I want to thank everyone who supported me from the beginning and gave me a beautiful experience, and to coach Johan Quesada, for giving me the opportunity to play on his team against a great team. Special thanks to my coach Raul McFaddin.”
4th Quarter: The Aguilas F.A. finished their scoring points of the game when QB Melvin Blandon #16 made a 30-yard touchdown pass to WR Rodrigo Arana #80. Extra point blocked. CR 18 – NG 24
Leones Cartago F.C. QB Arturo Ogiste #19 made another touchdown pass to WR Daniel Mora #22. FB Glenn Rojas #40 2-point conversion tipped the score in favor of the Costa Ricans. Final score: CR 26 – NG 24
QB Arturo Ogiste #19
“The offensive line actually carried us by opening up the holes for our fullbacks to wreak havoc, and then for a great passing game afterwards, making it really simple, actually, for me and the backs to do our job.”
FB Glenn Rojas #40
“This was my 3rd time playing in Nicaragua with three different teams spanning my football career. It was an honor to represent Costa Rica in a game. I am grateful to all the Leones Cartago F.C. coaches, players and the entire staff who supported us on the field and especially to the Aguilas F.A. team for the invitation. They are a great team! I always learn a lot when we play international games.”
The Aguilas F.A. team was led by Head Coach, Eduardo Cordoba Samayoa and Assistant Coach, Adolfo Cardenas. It is noteworthy to mention that both coaches are also pioneers of the American football in Nicaragua.
Eduardo Cordoba Samayoa commented,
“Our focus with the young players is to raise them up by assisting them to play football, but as well, to be good citizens in society, with good behavior. Also to realize that football is a good way to keep them interested in a healthy activity and out of gangs and drugs.”
Guerreros of Nicaragua is the name of the league and of the national team. The Guerreros of Nicaragua league has been in existence for thirteen years and has been a member league of the International Federation of American Football (IFAF) for six years.
The Aguilas F.A. team is still a relatively new addition to the league, being in existence only two years, with a player roster of forty.
Women’s Flag Football
A women’s flag game preceded the men’s contact game. Visiting Liberty Hawks Senior Female Flag Football National Team of El Salvador played against the Nicaraguan home team, Pinoleras.
The Liberty Hawks beat the Pinoleras with a 30-6 win.
Steve Agreda, President of Salvadorian Association of American Intramural Football (SAAIF) commented,
“We’re always honored to take part in regional events that fortify our partnership in growing and developing the sport outside our national borders. Women’s Flag Football is on the rise in El Salvador, as well as its neighboring countries.”