Spanish Semifinals: Badalona Dracs v. Osos Rivas – QB Head to Head

Spain’s LNFA Serie A regular season has come to a close. Four teams stood out from the rest qualifying for the playoff.

This Sunday the defending champion Badalona Dracs (7-1) will host the Osos Rivas (6-2) as the day’s only game on AFI TV, the winner books their ticket to the Spanish Cup.

For the Osos Rivas, their success came in part due to a dynamic offense headlined by Mike Gentilli, Adrian Jimenez, Alvaro Guitian, and of course quarterback Garrett DelleChiaie. DelleChiaie joined the Madrid-based Osos Rivas after two stellar seasons as the with the Ravensburg Razorbacks, in Germany. Dellechiaie led his team to a league title and promotion into the country’s top division. Since landing in Spain, he has helped set the Osos Rivas on their own championship course.

For the home team Dracs, a familiar face – Sergi Gonzalo –  took over the quarterback position after the departure of American import Cory Bennedetto. The 31 year old Gonzalo has seen it all and weathered the storm once again this season. The five-time Spanish national champion led his team to 7-1 record and a first-place finish in their division. The season’s only loss ended the Dracs historic 47 game winning streak. Still, Badalona bounced back after promoting Gonzalo to starter, winning their last four games of the season. The Spanish veteran has proven himself time and time again in his career coming off the bench or starting and getting the job done in key moments. Gonzalo is an excellent example of a homegrown European quarterback and his success is a testament to Spain’s growing football culture and the Dracs organization.

Both teams have led their team to successful regular seasons and are now four short quarters away from a championship appearance.

Both quarterbacks shared their thoughts with me on a few questions leading up to their playoff matchup:

What has been the key to your team’s success this season?

Gonzalo: “We had some issues during regular season, ending our 47-victory streak and not being able to adapt quarterback Cory Benedetto to our system. But we started to rely in each other as teammates and that brought us to the first place seed in our conference.”

DelleChiaie: “The key to our success so far has been how we’ve gelled as a team throughout the course of the season. I think we’ve gotten better every week and the hunger to win has grown more and more. We took our losses and never lost sight of our goal and that made us stronger.”

How does the team feel going into the playoffs?

Gonzalo: “For us it’s a must being in playoffs. We carry a lot of history on our shoulders and not being in the playoffs is not something you think about. We have to win at all costs, and once we’re in the playoffs. We must do our best to win.”

DelleChiaie: “Going into the playoffs the team is working hard and preparing for Sunday. We ended the season strong and we’re taking that momentum with us. This is what we’ve been working hard for and everyone is excited to show the work we put it.”

What adjustments have you had to make going into the playoffs?

Gonzalo: “We have to study our opponents more. Now every game is a final. We know it’s going to be a tough game but we are expecting it.”

DelleChiaie: “We are approaching this week like we’ve approached every week this season. We’re focusing on our jobs and executing the plays putting ourselves in good position to make plays in all 3 phases of the game.”

How do you see your offense matching up with the opposing defense?

Gonzalo:  “We have to focus a lot and analyse the defense to do our best to make our offense score in every drive.”

DelleChiaie:  “As an offense our goals and mindset have been the same all year. The key for us is to play Osos football and use this game as another opportunity to show the league what we created here. It’s do or die and everyone here is excited and focused.”

What would a title mean to your team?

Gonzalo: “We have multiple rings, but this season has been tough for everyone. Being able to bring the title home when no one was saying we will be able to maintain our level a few weeks ago is a motivation for us.”

DelleChiaie: “Bringing a title to Rivas would mean a lot to this team. A lot of the players and coaches have been around the program for a long time and have worked hard on and off the field for years. It’s been 20 years since we last won a championship, I think it’s well overdue.”

Watch the game live on AFI.tv. Osos Rivas @ Badalona Dracs, May 2, 11:00 CET (11 am, 05:00 am ET)

Alex is a former professional American football player who is now studying in London. His goal writing for AFI is to stay involved with the game that has given him so much. Alex enjoys covering leagues and players and sharing different football stories from across the globe.