LIVESTREAM Spain: Badalona Dracs (3-0) @ Mallorca Voltors (3-0), February 19 @12:00 CET (12 noon, 06:00 am ET)

By Kyle Pinnell

Sunday promises to be a busy and long day for the unbeaten Badalona Dracs as the Spanish National League of American Football reaches the midpoint of the 2023 season. The Dracs will be making a day trip to Palma de Mallorca for a top-of-the-table showdown against fellow unbeaten side Mallorca Voltors.

Both Badalona and Mallorca are 3-0 in 2023 and occupy the top two spots in the Eastern Conference of the Liga Nacional de Fútbol Americano (LNFA) Serie A. Both teams face off for the first time this season Sunday at Son Moix Stadium in Palma.

“The coaching staff is preparing us for a team competing like no other we have seen earlier,” said Dracs receiver Raul Cernuda. “They’re the best team we have faced this year.”

The trip itself will likely be the most difficult part of the game for the visitors. Players will wake up in Badalona around 4:00 am on a gameday, meet at the Camp Municipal de Montigalà and then make the trip across the city to the airport. From there, they’ll take the short flight to Mallorca and arrive hours before kickoff.

“It’s a little complicated,” Dracs coach Román Villamonte said. “We have to take advantage of the time we have on the plane and in the bus to continue preparing for the game. It’s going to go by really quickly.”

Watch live: Badalona Dracs (3-0) @ Mallorca Voltors (3-0), February 19 @12:00 CET (12 noon, 06:00 am ET)

Sunday will be Villamonte’s first time managing the Mallorca day trip as a head coach. However, he made the trip several times as a player and knows what to expect. For his players, used to taking a long bus ride to most away games, having to fly to a game is at least a fun change from routine.

“We’re playing in a country where American football means practically nothing,” said Dracs lineman Ricardo Millon. “However, you feel professional for a day when you get to travel on an airplane.”

Some Dracs players will be more rested than others. That’s the case for Cernuda, one of several Badalona players from Mallorca who will fly to the island a day early to spend additional time with family and friends.

On the field, both teams are flying high. The Dracs are fresh off a 50-14 win against the Valencia Firebats, a game in which they put up 29 fourth-quarter points to turn a relatively close game into a blowout.

Quarterback Kevin Doyle is off to another stellar start in the LNFA Serie A, putting up big numbers and connecting on more downfield passes, including a touchdown pass on Feb. 11 that traveled over 40 yards in the air and split several defenders before falling into the waiting arms of Iván Caballero. Edu Molina is also off to a red-hot start on the ground while American Import Isaiah Woods scored his first two touchdowns as a Drac last weekend.

Mallorca’s most recent win also came against Valencia, a 41-20 victory on Feb. 4. While capable of scoring in bunches, the Voltors offense has struggled at times this year. They needed linebacker, and kicker, Víctor Albarracín to nail a field goal in the final seconds to beat the Zaragoza Hurricanes 3-0 in its second game.

Voltors’ quarterback Diego Lliteras can quickly heat up while linebacker Javi Alberola and wide receiver Mattias Varrientos adds quality on both sides of the ball. Lineman Sebastian Bown provides added strength in the trenches while Albarracín can do a little bit of everything.

“Mallorca is the strongest team we’ll face in our conference,” Villamonte said. “I think it’s going to be a good game. They have a good defense and their attack isn’t bad, but I think we are the better team and are demonstrating how we can play at a high level right now, which I like a lot.”

As Villamonte pointed out, Mallorca’s defense isn’t anything to scoff at. The Voltors have proven difficult to face, made clear by the fact they haven’t given up more than three touchdowns in a game and have already held an opponent scoreless.

“I think it’s going to be a game of defenses,” Cernuda said. “Both defenses are very strong, so the one that doesn’t make as many mistakes is likely to win the game.”

A win at Son Moix come Sunday afternoon would be an important result for either team, both looking to cement their place at the top of the table. It also marks the end of the first half of the season as every team in the LNFA Eastern Conference will have played each other once. One team will leave the field with its first defeat of the season. With so much at stake, Sunday promises to be an entertaining game of football.

Watch live: Badalona Dracs (3-0) @ Mallorca Voltors (3-0), February 19 @12:00 CET (12 noon, 06:00 am ET)

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