Dracs, Imperials Secure Semifinal Berths In Spain

With only three weekends remaining in the Spanish regular season, the Badalona Dracs and Reus Imperials have assured themselves of berths in the semifinals and home field advantage. The Dracs shut out the Murcia Cobras while Reus had to score a touchdown in the last minute to defeat a tough Valencia Giants squad. In a huge upset, the Barbera Rookies earned their first win of the year beating the Valcencia Firebats also by scoring in the final seconds of the game.

The Rookies win sets up an interesting scenario. With the Dracs and Imperials set for the playoffs the final two spots are still up for grabs. The Valencia Giants have a record of 3-4, the Murcia Cobras are 2-5 as are the Valencia Firebats. The Rookies are now 1-6. All four teams still have a shot at making the playoffs.

Badalona Dracs (7-0) 33 – Murcia Cobras (2-5) 0

Badalona quarterback Sergi Gonzalo threw five touchdown passes, three to Joey Herrick as the Dracs made short work of the Cobras handing them their fifth straight loss.

Herrick scored twice in the first quarter as Badalona took a 27-0 lead into the halftime break as  Xavi Gonzalo and Ferran Llinàs also scored on passes from Gonzalo. Herrick added his third early in the second half and the Dracs cruised to the shutout win.

Reus Imperials (6-1) 32 – Valencia Giants (3-4) 27

The Reus Imperials suffered a scare and had to overcome a 27-18 fourth quarter deficit and running back Chris Smallwood had to score a last minute touchdown to defeat the feisty Giants.

Imperials wide receiver Brady Huber opened the scoring on a touchdown pass from quarterback Nate Stephens but the Giants roared back as quarterback TJ Tutone found his rhythm. He hit Jorge Huete in the end zone and on the next series TJ Murphy picked off Stephens setting up Ralph Pineda who scored giving Valencia a 13-6 lead.

Tutone then connected with Murphy to increase the lead to 19-6 at halftime.

Reus responded first in the third quarter as Huber threw a touchdown pass to Henri Laine and then Smallwood scored his first of three touchdowns to bring the Imperials within one, 19-18.

Behind the arm of Tutone, the Giants mounted a drive of their own with Tutone finding Murphy and then adding the two point conversion to give Valencia a seemingly secure 27-18 lead in the fourth. But Smallwood was having the game of his life as he scored to close the gap to 27-24 before adding the winning touchdown with 40 seconds on the clock.

Barbera Rookies (1-6) 34 – Valencia Firebats (2-5) 30

The Barbera Rookies, hopeless underdogs against the 2016 Spanish finalists, found a way to  claw their way back from what looked like another devastating loss.

Trailing 30-12 midway through the third quarter, the Rookies, behind running back Cory Soto’s three second half touchdowns, turned the game around. Soto scored on the final play of the third quarter, and quarterback Sebastian Frausto added the two point conversion to edge closer, 30-20.

And in the final quarter Soto scored again to close the gap to 30-28. Finally, with almost no time left on the clock Soto scored the winning touchdown giving the Rookies their first win and actually putting them into playoff contention.

AFI
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