Chinese National Football League marches through playoffs

Last weekend, four out of five scheduled Chines National Football League playoff games were played. While the Qingdao Conquerors- Chengdu Pandaman game was canceled when Qingdao didn’t have enough players able to make the long trip to Sichuan Province, the other three  first-round games went on as scheduled, along with one of the two remaining regular season games still left to play in the East.

Shanghai Titans wrap up undefeated regular season

Shanghai Titans 42 – Shanghai Street Cats 0

Zhangjiang Sports Center, Shanghai

The lone non-playoff game from last week, the Shanghai Titans took care of business and finished an undefeated regular season by defeating the Shanghai Street Cats 42-0.

QB’s Datong (#9), Dom (#13) and Ben (#34) all split time under center for the Titans (4-0), and receivers Frank (#11), Kaya (#98), and Wallace (#77) all caught touchdown passes. Dom and Ben also showcased their running ability as well as they also contributed scores on the ground.

This was a game that got a little bit chippy and sloppy at times, as at one point, there were 5 consecutive plays with a turnover as both teams gave the ball back and forth in a little bit of “You”, “No You”, “No You”.

The Titans finished their regular season 4-0, and their next game will take place in the quarterfinals as they will host the winner of the Taiyuan Troops/Zhengzhou Steamer.

The Street Cats (0-3) will have one more chance to earn a victory this season, as they have one game left against the Hangzhou Generals in late November.

Troops overpower the Steamer, advance to Quarterfinals

Taiyuan Troops 26 – Zhengzhou Steamer 14

Shanxi University, Taiyuan

In Shanxi Province, the Taiyuan Troops earned their first-ever post-season victory in a hard-fought win over the Zhengzhou Steamer, making their playoff debut. The Troops once again relied on their trademark rushing game, and the tandem of Yang Hao and Liu Jiangyu was enough to carry the day for the Troops.

Despite staying within striking distance for most of the game, the Steamer could only manage a pair of touchdowns, a pair of connections by QB 史浩男 Shi Haonan (#2) and WR郭雨 Guo Yu(#77), which weren’t enough as the Troops’ defense held firm.

With their first postseason victory in hand, Taiyuan advanced to the Quarterfinals where they will be traveling to Shanghai to meet the #1 seed from the East Division, the Shanghai Titans, with a semifinal spot on the line.

For the Steamer, their season ends here, but they will mark 2019 as a banner year. After a winless year last year, the Steamer made strides this season, including making the playoffs for the first time in team history.

Warriors make a statement in playoff opener

Shanghai Warriors 42 – Taipei Predators 18

Guojin Sports Center, Shanghai

In Shanghai, the Shanghai Warriors began their title defense in earnest with a strong 42-18 win over the Taipei Predators.

The first quarter was back and forth action as both teams traded passing touchdowns in the first quarter. Taipei took an early lead with a QB #13 Thomas throwing a 92-yard touchdown pass to #88 Kuan-Wen Chen, and later in the quarter Thomas connected with #2 Adam Mathias for a 37-yard touchdown. While for the Warriors, Chris Gardner (#2) hit receivers Danny Zhang and Ben Fisher for a pair of touchdowns.

However, after that, the Warriors clamped down on defense as linebackers Bryan Rock and Ibrahim Ma took control of the game, punctuated by Rock’s 93-yard fumble return for a score that put the game out of reach. On the other side, the Predators had no answers for the Warriors passing attack, as Gardner threw for 306 yards in the first half. The Predators’ final score came late in the 4th quarter on a 22-yard touchdown pass to WR Royal Chiou (#1) by Noah Yeh (#9).

Chris Gardner would end the game 27 of 42 for 395 yards and 5 touchdowns, while for Taipei, the duo of Kuan and Mathias combined for 7 catches for 195 yards and 2 touchdowns.

The Shanghai Warriors advance to the Quarterfinals where they will be heading north to take on the Beijing Barbarians, the Kings of the North Division.

 Eye of the Tiger: Foshan Tigers survive against the Smilodons

Foshan Tigers 25 – Hangzhou Smilodons 22

Skyway Center, Foshan

In Foshan, the most exciting and closest game of the weekend took place as the Foshan Tigers narrowly survived an upset bid by the Hangzhou Smilodons in an exciting back-and-forth game that went down to the wire.

The Tigers rose up to the challenge given by their “Tiger-rivals”, as the Smilodons went the distance in a hard-fought game, and nearly pulled off the upset.

Foshan’s QB Francis Mo (#3) threw two touchdown passes to receivers #87 Troy Lin (林东镇) and #13 Ye Zhi Jin(叶志劲), but Hangzhou hung tough, staying hungry and answering back with star WR Xiao Wang/Kevin (86) making some big plays and scoring a touchdown, as well as running backs Xiao Jia/Javas (#50) and Zhou Wei/Wilson (#35) also scoring on the ground for the Smilodons, who also added a field goal.

But it was their star defensive end, Kifasi (#92) who gave the Tigers the will to survive. He gutted out the last two scores for Foshan, a receiving and a rushing touchdown to help his Tigers just barely survive the Smilodons.

It was a thrilling fight to the end, and in a clash to see who had the eye of the tiger, the Foshan Tigers were the last survivors. They will be stalking the Wuhan Berserkers next in Wuhan, in a quarterfinal matchup between two very strong teams.

Allen Hu is a Chinese-American who grew up playing American Football in Clarks Summit, Pennsylvania. He primarily spends his time in both the United States and China