Mexico: Autenticos Tigres capture 6th ONEFA title in 10 years

The Auténticos Tigres captured the 2018 ONEFA  (Organización Nacional Estudiantil de Futbol Americano) championship by beating the Burros Blancos IPN 23-20 in front of 16,000 roaring fans at Estadio Gaspar Mass in San Nicolás de los Garza, Mexico.

This was the sixth ONEFA title for the Tigres in the past 10 years, and eighth overall, but the Burros did not make it easy. Autenticos had to withstand a furious late-game comeback and rely on a blocked field goal in the last minute to secure the win.

The Burros Blancos opened the scored on their first possession with quarterback  Alejandro Garcia marching them from their own 11 yard line on a 10 minute, 83 yard drive which ended with a 23 yard field goal by Luis Enrique Garcia to put them ahead 3 -0.

In the second quarter, Tigres quarterback Víctor Cruz Jiménez engineered a 71 yard scoring drive capping it a 23 yard touchdown pass to Fernando Gómez Bahena giving them a 7-3 lead.

The visitors tried to answer, but fumbled the ball on their next series and it cost them dearly. Tigres defender Javier Calzoncit scored extending the lead to 14-3.

Autenticos struck again in the third quarter when Cruz threw a touchdown pass to Diego Reyes, further increasing the lead to 20-3, after Reyna missed the extra point.

That’s when the Burros came to life, mounting a furious comeback.

First, Garcia connected with his brother, Luis Enrique for a 14 yard completion and then he found Morales Suaste for a 23 yard gain. He finished the drive by punching the ball in from the three yard line, closing the gap to 20-10.

Then the Burros Blancos special teams stepped up, blocking a punt. Francisco Rodríguez kicked a 40 yard field goal making the score 20-13 with plenty of time left.

Cruz then responded, taking his team down to the Burros 14 yard line from where Reyna kicked a 31 yard field goal, restoring the 10 point lead making it 23-13.

Garcia quickly moved the Burros down the field, converting a fourth and one and capping the drive with a goal line plunge to close the gap to 23-10 with 2:49 left on the clock.

A final, desperate drive was snuffed out as the Tigres blocked a field goal with almost no time left, sending Autenticos fans into a frenzy as the Tigres captured their eighth national ONEFA championship.

Rachid Sabag Serrato
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