Badalona Dracs earn impressive win as Spanish National League opens season with four games

The Spanish National League of American Football, LNFA, kicked off the 2022 season with eight of the 10 teams in action.

The reigning champion Badalona Dracs were on the road to face the L’Hospitalet Pioners while Madrid’s Osos Rivas played host to the Gijon Mariners. The Zaragoza Hurricanes were also the home team when they faced the Mallorca Voltors and the Murcia Cobras visited the Las Rozas Black Demons in their first-round matchup.

Badalona Dracs 48 – L’Hospitalet Pioners 3

The Badalona Dracs looked every bit the defending champions in Spain that they are in rolling over the newly promoted L’Hospitalet Pioners 48-3 Saturday on the opening day of the Spanish League of American Football 2022 season.

The Dracs jumped out to a 35-3 halftime lead before backing off in the second half. Quarterback Glen Cuiellette tossed six touchdown passes, three to Hunter Belzo, two to tight end Raul Cernuda and one to young David Martinez. For the Pioners, kicker Juame Llinas accounted for all their scoring, booting a field goal to open the game.

L’Hospitalet opened the scoring with a field goal from the toe of Jaume Llinas but then it was all Dracs as Cuiellette found Belzo for the game’s first touchdown. Although Llinas gave his team great field position with an excellent kickoff return, Badalona linebacker forced the game’s first fumble, hitting Pioners quarterback Murcock Rutledge who coughed the ball up and Cuiellette capitalized immediately, hitting Cernuda to increase the lead to 14-3, still in the first quarter.

Kenney then snagged the game’s first interception turning it into a pick six and the Dracs were out in front 21-3 as the period ended.

The onslaught continued in the second quarter with Cuiellette connecting with Martinez and then Belzo to make it 35-3 going into the break.

The second half saw Belzo and then Cernuda both add touchdown receptions, the latter after Rutledge was picked off again, this time by Eudald Sabater.

Osos Rivas 34 – Gijón Mariners 17

Osos Rivas WR David Giron from Guatemala scored a rushing TD Photo: Paula Romo

Madrid’s Osos Rivas went into the final quarter of their matchup against the Gijon Mariners trailing 17-13 but then scored four unanswered touchdowns to pull away and down the Mariners 34-17 to notch their first win of the young Spanish season.

Osos quarterback Sergio Barbero threw touchdown passes to Alejandro Tizón and Atsushi Uehiro while Adrián Jiménez and David Giron scored rushing touchdowns and Jorge Ruiz scored on a pick six.

Still, the Mariners did not make things easy jumping out to a 10-0 lead on a field goal from Raúl García and a touchdown from the feet of Mexican quarterback Daniel de Juambelz. Osos recovered from the shock of suddenly trailing the underdog Mariners as first Giron and then Tizon scored to take a 13-10 lead into the break. Gijon went back out in front early in the third quarter as Juambelz found Ibai Mejuto to give the Mariners a 17-13 third quarter lead.

Undaunted, Osos came right back with Uehiro hauling in his first touchdown of the season to make it 20-17. Then Jimenez caught a scoring pass following a Ruiz interception and Ruiz, who was on fire in the secondary, picked off Juambelz a second time, taking it all the way to the house to finish up the scoring.

Zaragoza Hurricanes 41 – Mallorca Voltors 35

Zaragoza Hurricanes WR Kyle Mucerino scored 2 TDs Photo: Vicente Cabello

The Zaragoza Hurricanes and Mallorca Voltors treated spectators to a wild offensive display Sunday with the Hurricanes managing to score a last minute touchdown to break a 35-35 tie and down Mallorca 41-35.

Hurricanes quarterback Kevin Doyle tossed five touchdown passes and ran for another with Aaron David and Kyle Mucerino catching two apiece and Luis Sánchez hauling in another.

For Mallorca, quarterback Diego Lliteras threw three touchdown passes, one to Marcos Molina, Javier Alberola and running back Ronaldo Tomasello and Tomasello added another two on the ground.

Following a tentative and scoreless first quarter the two teams exploded for five second quarter touchdowns with the Voltors taking a 14-0 lead on two touchdowns by Tomasello, the first one on the ground and the second on a 60 yard pass from Lliteras. Doyle and the Hurricanes offense responded as the quarterback found the end zone himself to narrow the lead to 14-7. Lliteras connected with Molina to extend the Mallorca lead to 21-7 but Doyle hit a streaking David to close the gap to 21-14 just before the half.

Zaragoza evened the score at 21-21 to open the second half as Doyle found Mucerino for his first touchdown but Lliteras answered on the next Mallorca possession, throwing to Alberola to restore the lead, 28-21 to close out the third quarter.

The wild fourth quarter saw Doyle connect with Sanchez to tie the game at 28-28, but Tomasello gave his team back the lead finding a hole up the middle and scamperngi into the end zone to make it 35-28.  Again, Doyle responded, finding David for his second touchdown of the day to tie it up again, 35-35 leading to the late game dramatics. On the final Zaragoza possession, Doyle went back to Mucerino to put the game away.

Murcia Cobras 17 – LG OLED Las Rozas Black Demons 13

Murcia Cobras QB Robert Cuda #7 Photo: Lola Morales

The Murcia Cobras relied on a tough defensive stand late in the fourth quarter to thwart a final Las Rozas Black Demons drive and come away with a 17-13 victory in the opening game of the season for both teams in Spain.

Cobras quarterback Robert Cuda threw ran for one touchdown and defensive back Alpha Jalloh, a late Murcia signing, scored another on a pick six while Irish kicker Conor Tait added a late field goal to account for the scoring.

For the Black Demons, quarterback David de Diego threw two touchdown passes, one to Alejandro García and the other to Jesús Pérez.

Cuda opened the scoring in the first quarter, weaving his way into the end zone to give Murcia a 7-0 lead. The Black Demons answered as de Diego connected with Garcia, but the extra point attempt failed, and the Cobras remained in front, 7-6. On the next Las Rozas possession, Jalloh picked off an errant de Diego pass and returned it all the way for a touchdown, extending the lead to 14-6. Again, the Black Demons responded, this time as Perez hauled in a scoring pass from de Diego to narrow the lead to 14-13 at the break.

Neither team was able to find the end zone in the third quarter and the fourth also looked like a defensive standoff until Tait booted the game-winning field goal with less than a minute on the clock. Las Rozas were unable to answer and the Cobras came away with a key early season win.

Action resumes in Spain this coming weekend with four games on tap.

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