The former American Football League of China (AFLC) , now the Chinese National Football League, CNFL is fully underway.
The 21 team CNFL has four divisions – the North, East, West and South – with the North and South divisions in action this past weekend in their third round of play.
The South originally had two other games scheduled for this week, the Hong Kong Cobras versus the Foshan Tigers, and the Hong Kong Combat Orcas facing the Guangzhou Apaches. However, due to the political turmoil in Hong Kong, both Guangdong teams were unable to make it to Hong Kong last weekend and both games were counted as victories for the Hong Kong teams.
Beijing Barbarians 74 – Shenyang King Kong 0
Last weekend’s first of two games took place in Beijing, where the Beijing Barbarians overwhelmed the Shenyang King Kong by the score of 74-0.
With this win, the Barbarians (3-0) clinched the 2nd playoff seed from the North, and their remaining games against the Taiyuan Troops (9/28) and the Qingdao Conquerors (10/19), both on the road, will determine whether the Barbarians can repeat as North Division champions and how well they will fare in the playoffs.
For the King Kong (0-3), while a playoff bid is unlikely after losing all three games to the pre-season division favorites, they can still end their season on a high note as their schedule becomes a lot more forgiving with a pair of home games against the Beijing Iron Brothers and the Tianjin Pirates.
Hong Kong Warhawks 17 – Taipei Predators 12
The marquee matchup last week took place in the South Division* with the Taipei Predators hosting the Hong Kong Warhawks in a game that could have a huge impact on the makeup of the South division, and this game lived up to all expectations as it was a tightly contested battle to the end.
It was a defensive battle early on as Taipei went into halftime with a narrow 6-3 lead, but the game would ultimately turn on a series of three consecutive possessions in the 3rd quarter that would be pivotal in determining the outcome of the game.
The Warhawks connected on a big play for a touchdown that would give them a 10-6 lead.
On the ensuing Predators possession, the Predators responded with a beautiful long pass that brought them into the Hong Kong red zone, but the Warhawks defense came up with the play of the game by intercepting an errant Taipei pass and returning it 50+ yards to put the Hong Kong offense in great field position.
The Warhawks would then go on to score to give them a 17-6 lead, that they would ultimately hold on to.
The Predators scored a touchdown to close the gap to 17-12, and had several other red zone opportunities near the end of the game, but the Warhawks defense held firm.
With this win, the Hong Kong Warhawks (2-0) showed why they’re the reigning champions of the South, by making the big plays when they needed it the most. Their next game will be against the 2-0 Hong Kong Cobras in a rivalry game that could determine this year’s South Division winners.
While the Predators fall to 1-2, they showcased great ability in going toe-to-toe with the Warhawks for most of the game, and they still control their own destiny. Their next game will be a road trip to Guangzhou to face the Apaches.