Mayas, Raptors qualify for LFA playoffs, Chad Johnson shines in Monterrey

After six weeks of play, the Liga de Fútbol Americano Profesional (LFA), Mexico’s professional football league  is approaching the final week of the season.

Attention was turned to Monterrey where the Fundidores featuring former NFL star Chad ‘Ochocinco’ Johnson, were in a key matchup with the Dinos.  After six weeks, two of the six teams -the Mayas and Raptors – have punched their tickets to the playoffs. Both squads lead their respective divisions and are trying to head for a championship rematch, but they still have to play for the division title.

Although these two squads have secured a postseason pass, they still have to play the last game of regular season along with the other four teams. No team has been eliminated from the playoffs yet, so it will be an interesting seventh week in each stadium.

Fundidores 14 – Dinos 6

The game football fans in Mexico were looking forward to was between the squads from the north of the country. The Dinos visited Monterrey to face the Fundidores and Chad “Ochocinco” Johnson. They started the season with a match in the Dinos hometown of Saltillo, where the Dinos took their first victory of the campaign, so this time Fundidores wanted to take revenge from the loss in that initial duel.

It was also an important match not only because of their aspirations of reaching postseason, but also to see how Johnson would help Fundidores win the game. And the former Cincinnati Bengals and New England Patriots player did not disappoint as he contributed with a touchdown for his squad. Fundidores quarterback Roberto Vega connected with him on a 41 yard pass in order to get him into the end zone.

The Fundidores won the game keeping them alive in the playoff hunt and in their first season in the LFA.

Johnson helped his team a lot and he left the door open to play the next game against defending champion Mayas in the final week of regular season. It will depend he said on his schedule and the arrangements the league has to make in order to see him in Monterrey again in one of the toughest games for the Fundidores this season.

Mayas 47 – Condors 20

Once again, the Mayas defeated the Condors with a very separate score. In spite of this situation, the game was really tough for the blue and white Mayas squad. The Condors came into the game with a different defense designed to stop one of the toughest offensive teams in the LFA.

In the first half, the Condors tried to keep possession of the ball as long as possible. With Arturo Sánchez at quarterback instead of Salvador Castañeda, the team moved the chains easily, but the defensive changes the Condors made from the first game they played against Mayas Week 2 to this match were remarkable. In the red zone, they stopped, Mayas quarterback Marco García several times and also they managed to keep him off the field for long stretches.

In the last two quarters though the situation changed. The intensity that Condors displayed early in the game vanished and they let the Mayas get back into the game. With two turnovers, the Mayas were able to change the score and defeat Condors by 27 points. In the two games they had this season, the Mayas have scored a total of 111 points on the Condors’ defense.

Raptors 28 – 12 Eagles

The Eagles would have been the second team to secure a playoff berth if they had defeated Raptors, but it was the green and white squad the one who snatched away their dreams. Now, the Eagles have to win against the Condors if they want to win the conference title over the Mayas, but it will be a tough game as the Condors upset them in the league’s third week.

Once again, the Eagles demonstrated that they have troubles at the quarterback position. Raúl Mateos and Joaquín Juárez have had a friendly duel for the starting quarterback position, but this trouble is affecting the whole offensive scheme as the receivers, running backs and offensive line are not quite sure which player will lead the team.

On the other hand, the Raptors are waiting for the Fundidores or Dinos to play for the division title. Next weekend they will be travelling to Saltillo to face the Dinos, a location where foreign teams have had troubles this league, so this could be a pre-edition of the conference final if the Dinos win and the Mayas upset the Fundidores in Monterrey.

Fernando Franco is an aspiring sports journalist and chronicler who studies at Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM). He works as a broadcaster for two radio stations in Mexico and is an insider at LFA, working specifically with the team