Barcelona Dragons stay undefeated in road win against Jim Tomsula & the Rhein Fire

The Barcelona Dragons went on the road and earned a hard-fought 17-13 win over the previously undefeated Rhein Fire coached by Jim Tomsula. For the Dragons , who finished last year 3-7, they now are one of only two unbeaten teams in the European League of Football sitting at 4-0.

After a slow start to the game by both offenses, the Dragons got a huge break as they blocked a Rhein Fire punt to score the game’s first points. After a botched snap, and blocked kick, Adrain Jimenez scooped up the ball and took it 35 yards for a touchdown.

Later in the second quarter, the Rhein Fire struck back, as Jannik Seibel intercepted a Zach Edwards pass on the one-yard line, stifling what had been a great drive by the visitors. Rhein Fire running back Jason Aguemon took the momentum and followed his offensive line’s excellent blocking leading the Rhein Fire on an eight play, 99-yard touchdown drive capped by a quarterback sneak from Matt Adam, tying the game at seven just before halftime.

The Fire started the second half doing much of the same as a steady dose of running back Jason Aguemon and wide receiver Nathaniel Robitaille led to a 14-play 66-yard drive. However, kicker Daniel Schumacher missed a 19-yard chip shot, leaving the thousands of fans in attendance facepalming.

The crowd was back in the game quickly as Swiss linebacker Lukas Ruoss intercepted a risky pass from Zach Edwards.

After another punt from an unusually inefficient Rhein Fire offense, the Dragons marched down the field, led by some nifty moves from Zach Edwards as the dual threat passer picked up a clutch 4th and 3 conversion, then followed that up with a 20-yard run the next play. One the first play of the fourth quarter, Edwards found running back Adrian Jimenez in flats giving the Dragons a thin 14-7 lead.

Following the second straight punt from the Rhein FireEdwards and Dragons were back in business looking to stretch their lead to two scores.  Edwards picked up another first down on the ground. Then a few plays later he found receiver Kyle Sweet on the left side for another big gain. The Rhein Fire defense stepped up in the redzone as Martin Pinter was able to coral Edwards for a sack. Former Tennesse Titans kicker and NFL journeyman Giorgio Tavecchio booted in a short field goal stretching the Dragons lead to 17-7.

Now down by 10 points, it was do or die time for the Rhein Fire. Quarterback Matt Adam led an impressive drive capped by an 18-yard touchdown pass to receiver Nathaniel Robitaille. Despite having former NFL Draft pick and SEC defensive player of the year Michael Sam bearing down on him, Adam was able to get the ball just far enough for the veteran to make yet another clutch play. A missed extra point made it a four-point game however instead of three, leaving the Rhein Fire down 17-13.

The Rhein defense stepped up using their timeouts and a series of aggressive blitzes to force a Barcelona punt. With his team trailing by four and with less than two minutes remaining, Fire quarterback Matt Adam launched the ball deep for Robitaille only to watch it get picked off by Dragons defender Jordi Brugnani.

Jordi Brugnani makes the game-winning interception – Photo Barcelona Dragons

However, the referee threw a flag following the snap, perhaps mimicking an off-sides penalty. Thousands of fans waited for the call as the game hung in the balance. After a short wait the official announced an illegal formation penalty on the Rhein Fire giving Barcelona the most impressive road win of the season.

Throughout the game, Barcelona’s quarterback impressed tucking the ball and running himself as well as spreading the ball to Spanish talents Adrian Jimenez, Mario Flores, and Jordi Torrededia. His favorite target of course remains former Washington State standout Kyle Sweet who finished with 12 catches for 134 yards. Yet, those yards were hard earned as Jim Tomsula’s defense remained physical for all four quarters.

Now the Barcelona Dragons join the Vienna Vikings as the leagues only remaining undefeated teams. A much-improved Dragons squad has propelled themselves from the league’s basement to the penthouse. Next week, the Dragons host a winless Istanbul Rams team, while the Rhein Fire take on the 3-1 Sea Devils in Hamburg.

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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