Mexicas clinch playoff spot, edge Mayas in Mexico City thriller

After falling behind 34-6 at halftime, the Mexicas staged an incredible second half comeback, scoring 29 unanswered points to edge the defending champion Mayas 35-34 in front of a roaring crowd at Estadio “Palillo” Martínez in Mexico City.

With the win, the Mexicas have clinched a spot in the Liga de Futbol Americano Profesional (LFA) semifinals where they will face, the Mayas.

In fact, the same two teams will meet again in the final regular season game of the year in two weeks. And again one week later in the playoffs.

Mexicas quarter back Gerardo Ramos threw two touchdown passes and ran for another as well as a two-point conversion while Ditter Smith caught both TD passes. Guillermo Villalobos and Feranano Alvarez added a rushing touchdown each.

For the Mayas, who did all their scoring in the first half, quarterback Marco Garcia threw four touchdown passes finding Jair Viamontes for two and Michael McCrary and José Luis Santana for one each. Omar Cojolum also scored on a three yard touchdown plunge.

The Mayas delivered the first blow quickly as it took just three plays following the opening kickoff for Cojolum to find the end zone. With the Mexicas offense unable to cross the goal line, Garcia found Josué Martínez to increase the lead to 14-0.

Although the Mexicas defense picked off Garcia twice in the first quarter, the offense was unable to capitalize. Then, early in the second Garcia connected with McCrary to pull out to a 21-0 lead.

Ramos finally got his team on the board with a touchdown pass to Smith to narrow the lead to 21-6. But that was all the Mexicas offense could muster in the first half as Garcia found Viamontes for a 47 yard strike and then hit him again just before the half to give the Mayas a commanding 34-6 halftime lead.

And then the Mexicas started playing football.

With the Mayas seemingly comfortable with their lead, the Mexicas mounted a furious comeback as Ramos first scored at the 9:55 mark of the third quarter and then added the two-point conversion, making the score 34-14.

The Mexicas defense played furiously and picked off Mayas quarterback José Luis Canales, who had replaced Garcia, on the goal line and the momentum swung in the Mexicas favor. Villalobos took off on an end around racing 42 yards for a touchdown with Vladimir Araiza adding the two-point conversion, quieting the Mayas fans and edging the Mexicas closer, 34-22.

The “Blue Empire” seemed paralyzed and the Mexicas continued to take advantage with Alvarez finding the end zone from two yards out and suddenly the score was 34-28 with plenty of  time left.

Again the Mayas were unable to move the ball and on the ensuing possession, Ramos hit Smith again and with the extra point, the Mexicas fans were delierious as their team grabbed a 35-34 lead with little time remaining on the clock.

A last gasp field goal attempt by Mayas kicker Mauricio Morales was wide the the Mexicas had punched their ticket to the playoffs.

 

AFI
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