Moscow Patriots confirm dynasty, dominate St. Petersburg Griffins in Russian Final

There was plenty of speculation coming into the Russian championship final as to what kind of team the Moscow Patriots really were at this point of their storied history. Was it was time for them to step down as the all-time greatest team in Russia? After all, their opponents, the St. Petersburg Griffins were the only team to have ever beaten them in the title game, in 2015.

But in the championship game, all of that speculation died quickly, as the Patriots came out as determined as ever and silenced all the doubters right from the start going on to trounce the Griffins 24-6. Quite simply, they are still the team to beat in Russia, and will remain one for the foreseeable future.

The Griffins started the game with the ball, had a pretty long return and were able to move the chains effectively, thanks to a well-executed short-passing and option game by their quarterback Anton Bagautdinov. But when they reached the end zone, he threw a costly interception that was almost returned for a touchdown – and the Griffins would never have any sort of momentum again.

Patriots WR Denis Pisarev hauls in the catch of the game / Photo credit Ksenia Dubovaya

The Patriots first scored on the very next play with some trickery, as WR Alexander Below perfectly executed a double-pass. On their next possession, an all-Star duo of QB Igor Chernolutsky and WR Denis Pisarev connected on a highlight long pass in double coverage to set up their next touchdown. Later in the second quarter, Chernolutsky ran for a long score again, having broken a bunch of tackles on a Griffins all-out blitz when they tried to stop a critical 4th and short. All the visitors could muster was a missed field goal, and the Patriots went to the locker room with a comfortable 21-0 lead.

After this kind of start, the second half toned down in its intensity, and the Griffins have in fact won in by the score of 6-3. But even this scoreline is misleading, as the Patriots switched to a power running game to control the ball, which they executed with a great deal of success, barely getting off the field and hardly giving the St. Petersburg squad the ball and chance to really get back into the game. The final score became 24-6 and the Moscow Patriots have once again proven to be unmatched in Russia.

 

Ilya Kravtsov
After being involved in bringing American football to his hometown of St. Petersburg, Russia, Ilya would go on to play in the Japanese X-League, helping his side Tokyo Bullseyes advance all the way to the top tier of the league and become the only non-corporate team in X-1. He's currently the defensive coordinator of St. Petersburg Griffins, as well as the head coach of St. Petersburg Valkyries.
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