Las Rozas Black Demons cruise into Spanish final with 49-14 victory over Mallorca Voltors

All season long, the Las Rozas Black Demons have made their intentions clear.

This year, it’s national championship or bust and the Mallorca Voltors weren’t going to stand in the way of that goal.

The team from Palma had championship visions of their own of course, but with a diminished roster they could do little to slow down the Black Demons path to Spanish supremacy in Saturday’s semi-final. In the end, Las Rozas walked away with a commanding 49-14 victory in a game that seemed to be decided on the first play from scrimmage.

With import Tanner Young injured, Mallorca chose to start the game with Diego Lliteras at quarterback. Scrambling to his right, his very first throw floated into the hands of Frederico Martinez for the interception in prime field position.

Star Canadian passer Chris Merchant took full advantage, finding an outstretched David Giron for a nine-yard touchdown on fourth down. The extra point was no good but the Black Demons extended their lead on their next drive. Gabriel Lee Levin broke a 25-yard run to put the team in position and Merchant connected with a wide-open Mavin Saunders for a 10-yard touchdown and the ensuing two point attempt to make it 14-0.

Black Demons RB Marcos De La Mata #45 Photo: Lola Morales

Now with Carlos Vega at quarterback, Mallorca’s next drive ended in endzone pick, once again by Martinez. The Black Demons couldn’t capitalize despite a 64-yard bomb from Merchant to Jesus Perez and Vega ended the first with a 45-yard strike of his own to Jaylon Hibbs. Brought to the goalline by penalty, Hibbs hauled in a two-yard jump ball to get his team on the board before the extra point was blocked.

A massive return from Pablo De Diego set up another touchdown connection between Merchant and Giron, this time for 12 yards, but the Voltors responded. Vega hit Javier Arbeloa and he battled inside the five for a 22-yard gain. Running back Piti Moreno #32, scampered in the rest of the way and added the two-point conversion to make it a seven-point game.

That would be the last time the Black Demons felt threatened by their opponent. Merchant led his team down the field and ended the half with a six-yard touchdown strike to Jesus Perez. That momentum carried into the second half, as Merchant took advantage of prime field position from a failed Mallorca onside kick to find Jesus Garcia-Valcarcel on a wide-receiver screen. The pass catcher followed his blocks and raced 47 yards to paydirt on the first play of the frame.

From then on, the game was decided. Merchant dazzled with a 38-yard touchdown run later in the third and Gabriel Lee Levin punched it in from eight yards out mid-way through the fourth to complete an unanswered 28-point run by Las Rozas. Both teams ended the game with backups and the team from Madrid cruised into the final with a 49-14 victory.

Chris Merchant was his usual productive self for the Black Demons after sitting out the season finale two weeks ago, finishing 15 of 27 passing for 233 yards and five touchdowns to go with 64 yards and a score on the ground. Guatemalan David Giron led the receiving corps with eight catches for 73 yards and two scores, but Jesus Perez topped his yardage with three catches for 80 yards and a touchdown. Jesus Garcia-Valcarcel was close behind with two catches for 62 yards and a score of his own. Gabriel Lee Levin added to his touchdown with six carries for 62 yards.

Mallorca Voltors RB Piti Moreno #32 Photo: Lola Morales

Defensively, Frederico Martinez hauled in two interceptions and Daniel Ruiz added one of his own, while also posting 1.5 sacks. Javier Condes matched that mark and Carlos Carrasco and Jorge Felix Velasco each added an assist.

Despite the loss, Carlos Vega had a respectable outing, completing 14 of 27 passes for 237 yards, one touchdown and one interception. Marcos Molina was his top target with five catches for 106 yards and Jaylon Hibbs had five of his own for 75 yards and a score. Running back Piti Moreno was held to just just 16 yards on eight carries and Lliteras tossed two interceptions as the backup.

With the victory, the Black Demons have earned themselves a title shot against the winner of Sunday’s semi-final between the Badalona Dracs and Osos Rivas, the goal they set with an impressive spending spree this off-season.

Though not all those pieces remain in Madrid, the trajectory remains the same and whether the potent Las Rozas offense can be stopped is anybody’s guess.

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J.C. Abbott is a student at the University of British Columbia and amateur football coach in Vancouver, Canada. A CFL writer for 3DownNation, his love of travel has been the root of his fascination with the global game.
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