Badalona Dracs Down The Thonon Black Panthers In EFL Action

The high-flying Badalona Dracs from Spain unleashed their aerial offense on France’s Thonon Black Panthers early Saturday, coming away with a 46-41 win in the crucial first game of the European Football League.

Playing in front of an enthusiastic home crowd, Spain’s top team wasted no time as they jumped out to a 24-0 lead in the second quarter.

Quarterback Mike Box tossed six touchdown passes, four of them in the first half, as the Dracs offense was clicking on all cylinders. Head coach Oscar Calatayud had his defense and special teams humming too as they forced three fumbles, two on kickoff returns, giving Badalona short fields throughout the first half.

In fact, the Black Panther’s offense did not have many chances in the first half to get on the field with the Dracs playing as well as they were.

Cesar Brugnani scored two touchdowns as did Robbie Jackson while Drew Clausen, Raul Cernuda and Micky Genabat (pick six) added one each.

Spain - Dracs-Black Panthers 2pic 2016

Black Panthers mounted furious comeback

Nevertheless, Thonon’s relentless running game began paying off in the second half as French national team running back Andreas Betza, who scored one touchdown, began pounding the Badalona front seven. Vincent Begou led the French 2015 finalists with three touchdowns while quarterback Sam Poulos added two more.

Thonon closed the gap to 24-22 quickly in the third quarter before Mike Box delivered two more touchdown passes extending Badalona’s lead to 39-22. However, the French squad responded again with two more touchdowns narrowing the lead to 39-34. Box then found Clausen for a touchdown but Thonon struck again with Betza carrying the ball in for the touchdown. With the score 46-41, the Black Panthers recovered the onside kick with a minute remaining.

The Black Panthers‘ furious comeback was finally snuffed out though as Oscar Pérez picked off Poulos ending Thonon’s chances for a miraculous come-from-behind victory.

Next game for Badalona in EFL play is May 29 against Germany’s Frankfurt Universe. Thonon will also face the Universe on May 5.

Photo credit: Badalona Dracs

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