Mexico: LFA served up two nail-biting rivalry battles

It was a great rivalry week in Mexico’s Liga de Fútbol Americano Profesional this week with two of the three scheduled games living up to expectations.

The Dinos remain unbeaten but needed overtime to finally down the Fundidores 24-17. Meanwhile, the Mexicas had to kick a late field goal to defeat a stubborn Raptors squad 10-8. The third game on the schedule between the two newcomers, the Reyes and Gallos Negros, was postponed until April 17 following the soccer riot during a game between Querétaro and Atlas on March 5.

Dinos (2-0) 24 – Fundidores (0-1) 17 (OT) 

Dinos RB Omar Delgado finding running room as Fundidores DB Ricardo Trevion closes in Photo: LFA

The famed “clásico del Norte” lived up to its title this week as we had arguably the best game so far this season. The Fundidores (in their first game of the season) started off like they had this one in the bag racing out to a 10-0 lead thanks to an early touchdown on a fumble recovery in the end zone by Ricky Benson Jr and a forced fumble by their defense leading to a field goal.

In the second half, the Dinos grabbed the momentum starting with a 10-yard scoring pass to James Agwu. On the next drive, Fundidores quarterback Shelton Eppler was picked off by Saltillo’s Marco Antonio Gonzalez Mancilla on the Dinos five yard line, setting up an Enrique Yenny field goal to tie the game. In the play of the game, Dinos quarterback Alejandro Esquer Martinez evaded several defenders and then threw a long 61-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Sergio Garcia, giving them a seven-point lead.

But the Fundidores weren’t going down that easily, as Eppler hit wide receiver Brandon Love with a clutch touchdown pass in the waning seconds of regulation. When overtime commenced, the Dinos scored on their first drive, and prevented their rivals from getting a touchdown. The Dinos left town as the only 2-0 team this season.

Mexicas (1-1) 10 – Raptors (1-1) 8

In a rematch of the 2018 Tazón México, the Raptors were looking for revenge against the Mexicas the whole way. And from the start of the game, it looked like it would be the case as the Raptors were able to grab a 2-0 lead and hold onto it for most of the game thanks to a botched snap by the Mexicas in the second quarter. But, a trio of missed field goals by both teams left the score 2-0. 

However, that all changed in the fourth quarter, when Mexicas RB Rubén Zendejas ran in for a one-yard touchdown run. The Raptors would respond with a touchdown pass to Enrique Barazza, but would fail to convert a two-point conversion that would’ve set the game to a three-point lead. The Mexicas took over the next possession and drove down into field goal range. Kicker Javier Ochoa did the rest, booting a 21-yard field goal and the Mexicas escaped with their first win of the season.

Photos: Liga de Fútbol Americano Profesional

A recent graduate of Hofstra University in New York. He is currently a sports freelance journalist and podcaster