The finish line for the Chinese National Football League 2020-2021 season is fast approaching, although the semifinals produced only one winner.
The outcome of the second game was decided by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Smilodons stonewall Conquerors in Semis
Hangzhou Smilodons 20 – Qingdao Conquerors 6, Hangzhou Thunder Football Field, Hangzhou
The Hangzhou Smilodons continue to look unstoppable as their 20-6 victory over the Qingdao Conquerors sent them to the CNFL Championship Game.
Hangzhou’s defense was once again a brick wall, limiting the Qingdao offense to less than 150 total yards of offense. Linebackers #29 Mark and #52 Big Tony combined for 14.5 tackles, a sack, a forced fumble, and a 33-yard interception return for a touchdown. Qingdao could only manage 26 rushing yards and coughed up the ball twice despite the best efforts of RB #15 Owen and FB# 86 Jerry.
Despite being short-handed with only 20 players, the Conquerors defense fought valiantly, forcing several turnovers of their own and holding Hangzhou to under 200 yards of total offense while giving up only a single touchdown. The rest of Hangzhou’s points came on the pick six and a pair of field goals after the Qingdao defense stubbornly refused to break.
Despite the low yardage, the Smilodons offense was able to effectively chew up the clock with their ground attack, using a steady diet of RB #50 Wei Shao, who carried the ball 27 times for 110 yards, and Qb #15 Roger scored the lone offensive touchdown for Hangzhou with a 1-yard run.
Hangzhou will go into the Championship Game at 5-0 and will surely be the favorites going into the game.
Covid outbreak results in a contentious forfeit
Sadly, the other semifinal game resulted in a forfeit in a very bitter fashion as the Beijing Barbarians forfeited to the Chengdu Pandaman.
A recent Covid-19 outbreak in Chengdu resulted in several flights from Chengdu to Beijing and vice versa on December 12, when the game was originally scheduled to take place, being canceled.
While several details are shrouded in mystery and are disputed by both teams, it is known that both teams were unable to agree on a date the game could be rescheduled.
Despite the CNFL’s best efforts to mediate and settle the difference, when neither team refused to budge from their position, the league had no choice but to stick to the rules put in place before the season started. When Beijing was unable to make the trip, it would result in a forfeit victory for the Pandaman.
The end result is the Chengdu Pandaman advance to their first-ever championship game, where they will be playing the Hangzhou Smilodons in mid-January.