LIVESTREAM Spain: Badalona Dracs @ Valencia Firebats, March 26, 12:00 CET (12 noon, 6 am EDT)

The Badalona Dracs’ 2023 road slate concludes this Sunday with a noon matchup at Polideportivo Quatre Carreres stadium in Valencia against the Firebats. The Dracs are looking to maintain a perfect season as they square off against a team playing its final game of the 2023 season.

“They’re playing at home and it’s their last game,” Dracs offensive coordinator Xavi Gonzalo said. “I don’t know for sure what their chances of making the playoffs are, but it’s a possibility and they’re going to try and make life difficult for us. It will be a hard game and we will want to be at our best.”

With three wins and four losses, the Firebats currently sit in fourth place in the conference behind the Dracs, Mallorca Voltors and Hurricanes. Mathematically they’re eliminated from playoff contention, even with a win on Sunday.

Valencia hopes to end its season on a positive note with a three-game winning streak. They beat the Pioners 28-21 victory at home and shocked the Voltors with a 35-34 victory in Mallorca. What hinders Valencia, however, is its defensive record: 224 points given up, the worst mark in the LNFA Serie A by a wide margin.

“It’s another important game and we hope we come back with a victory,” Evans Nugmertey said. “Obviously there’s always the possibility of not playing as well as we would like, but we have to win, which is the attitude we are going there with. For us [being undefeated] doesn’t mean anything, we’re going to continue giving each game 100%.”

Badalona and Valencia last faced off on Feb. 11 in Badalona, a back-and-forth game that isn’t done justice by the final scoreline: a 50-14 Dracs victory. Coach Román Villamonte’s team led just 21-14 before scoring 29-unanswered points in the fourth quarter which turned a competitive game into a complete rout.

Badalona Dracs @ Valencia Firebats, March 26, 12:00 CET (12 noon, 6 am EDT)

The Dracs remain undefeated, but both players and the coaching staff are hungry for more. They’re coming off a 38-21 win against L’Hospitalet and 27-7 victory against Zaragoza before that. Still, they know what they’re up against come this weekend.

“We’re excited because it’s going to be the last road game of the regular season and we already clinched the first seed in the playoffs,” Gonzalo said. “Valencia has improved a lot since we last faced them. They beat Mallorca in a bit of an upset and are motivated going into Sunday.”

Due to the club’s juniors team playing its league semifinal game in Badalona the same day, the senior team will lack depth in Valencia on Sunday. A less-than-ideal situation, it will likely force players still returning to 100% health, such as American imports Nygel King and Isaiah Woods, to receive more snaps than they would normally.

With a playoff spot locked in, the Dracs’ final two games are essentially tune-ups to prepare for the business end of the season. Gonzalo says the focus is on establishing longer drives, especially early in games. He believes that begins with trusting the ground game and putting the ball in the hands of running back Edu Molina, who already has rushed for close to 800 yards this season. Once the ground game is established, they can turn to the air. Defensively, the goal is to keep an opponent from finding paydirt, something the Dracs defense hasn’t accomplished since the team’s 17-6 victory in Mallorca on Feb. 19.

“Playing a team as motivated as the Firebats will be good for us,” Nugmertey said. “We know that they will give us all they can and for us as a team that has already qualified for the playoffs, the best thing we can do to give them respect is give our best as all.”

The Valencia Firebats will face the undefeated Badalona Dracs on Sunday at the Poliesportiu Quatre Carreres in the Valencian capital. This is the last game of the regular season for Valencia while the Dracs have another game remaining against Mallorca.  With first place and a home playoff game sewn up Badalona still would like to finish unbeaten. The odds would seem to be in their favor too as the last game between these two ended in a 50-14 win for Badalona.

Badalona Dracs @ Valencia Firebats, March 26, 12:00 CET (12 noon, 6 am EDT)

American Football International is your source for news and updates about American Football outside the United States!