At the midway point of the season in Spain, the Badalona Dracs have left no doubt that they fully intend to defend their Spanish title. The Dracs dominated last year’s finalists, the Valencia Firebats to remain undefeated and in sole possession of first place. Meanwhile, the Reus Imperials have staked a claim as the second best team in Spain with a drubbing of the Murcia Cobras. Finally, the Valencia Giants climbed back into playoff contention in beating the Barbera Rookies.
Badalona Dracs (5-0) 57 – Valencia Firebats (2-3) 21
The Badalona Dracs struck early and often against Valencia grabbing a 24-0 lead in the first quarter and then basically cruising to an easy 57-21 win. With the victory, the Dracs extended their unbeaten streak against Spanish teams to 15-0 stretching back to January 2016.
Quarterback Sergi Gonzalo threw six touchdown passes while Hunter Lee caught three of them, all in the first half. Jordi Brugnani kicked three field goals and added an interception. In fact, the Badalona secondary picked off Valencia quarterback Fernando Altarriba four times while also recovering two fumbles. Ferran Llinàs and Xavi Gonzalo each caught a touchdown pass and Joan Carles Bartra returned an interception for a touchdown.
The Firebats were without star running back Ben Sasu who is still out with a nagging injury and it showed. The anemic Valencia offense could only muster eight second half points against a Badalona defense that seemed to have something to prove. Nevertheless, Altarriba threw touchdown passes to Alejandro Silvestre (2) and Héctor Pertegaz.
Reus Imperials (4-1) 47 – Murcia Cobras (2-3) 20
The Reus Imperials jumped out to a 21-6 halftime lead over the Cobras, newcomers to the Spanish top division in 2017, and extended it to 28-6 before Murcia could respond.
Receiver Nate Stephens was a one-man wrecking crew accounting for five touchdowns. He caught two touchdowns passes, ran for one, returned an interception for one and threw for another. Quarterback Brady Huber threw four touchdown passes for Reus while rookie Pau Muñoz threw another one late in the game. Nazhi Essalhi and Henri Laine (2) also caught touchdown passes for Reus.
The Cobras offense suffered when quarterback Angel Clemente was forced to leave the game with an injury. He was replaced by receiver Benedict Van Jagow who threw a touchdown pass to Joan Andoni González in the second half.
Valencia Giants (2-3) 44 – Barbera Rookies (0-5) 36
The Valencia Giants earned their second win of the season in a hard fought battle over the Barbera Rookies. With the Giants trailing 29-28 early in the fourth quarter, Giants running back Ralph Pineda scored two straight touchdowns, adding the two-point conversions to give Valencia a 44-29 lead late in the fourth quarter.
But Barbera quarterback Sebastian Frausto tossed his third touchdown pass of the game, this one to Néstor Gonzalez to close the gap to 44-36. However, Valencia recovered the onside kick attempt ending the game.
Giants quarterback TJ Tutone threw three touchdown passes to Álvaro Cosín and Pineda ran for three in the win. Rookies quarterback Sebastian Frausto threw three touchdown passes to Sergi Ortiz, José Antonio Amado and Néstor Gonzalez while both he and Camil Canet scored rushing touchdowns to keep Barbera in the game.