The 1-0 Badalona Dracs, defending Spanish titleholders, will visit the L’Hospitalet Pioners (1-1) Sunday, February 2 as the Spanish League of American Football heads into its third weekend of play.
The Dracs edged the Osos Rivas 10-7 on the opening weekend of play a couple of weeks ago. Meanwhile, the Pioners downed the Gijon Mariners 29-22 in a come from behind win and then lost 49-28 to the Osos Rivas.
The six-time Spanish champion Pioners led by head coach Bart Iaccarino rely on quarterback Joey Bradley who has won two Portuguese titles with the Lisboa Devils. Iaccarino has signed defensive back Jabri Guy (Augsburg U.) as well as defensive lineman Danilo del Prete and Austrian offensive lineman Manuel Schabel. As coach of the Reus Imperials in 2017, Iaccarino guided his team to the Spanish final, and during the regular season handed Badalona its only loss of the season.
Still, this is a different Badalona team.
Since that season opener, the Dracs have added quarterback Anthony Gardner, a veteran of European football and a prolific passer. Gardner played for the Ingolstadt Dukes in the German Football League in 2019 and was the leading passer in the Austrian Football League in 2017 with the Ljubjana Silverhawks. The Dracs, under the guidance of head coach Oscar Calatayud, have won the last four titles and 10 overall and look good again in 2020. Garnder will be throwing to wide receiver Marquese Surrell (Adams State) along with Danish National Football League MVP Niko Lester (Triangle Razorbacks). Calatayud has also added big offensive/defensive lineman Matthias Stockamp, also a member of the Danish title-winning Razorbacks.
Despite the setback against Osos Rivas, the Pioners could give Badalona a surprise.