In the biggest weekend of play – until this date – for the Portuguese League of American Football, both Lisbon and Maia were the stages for two big games in the semifinals of the 8th edition of the LPFA.
Lisboa Devils 52 – Algarve Sharks 22
The rematch in Portugal between the current champions and last year’s runners-up was a highly anticipated match that was going to provide a surely entertaining afternoon to all those who watched. The Sharks offense took the field first and on their first drive they were able to march down the field and score on a John Holloway rushing touchdown. The two-point try was no good. However, on the ensuing kickoff Devils kick returner Danny Tam took the ball to the house and sent a message to all those present – the show was going to be entertaining.
After that the Devils defense was able to hold the Sharks offense and provide good field position for their offense. The Joey Bradley and Collin Franklin connection started and the Devils took the lead. The two-point try was good. We then moved into the second quarter and the game was still tight and the Sharks scored again and this time on a Holloway pass to Domonique Jefferson. The two-point try was no good. Still in the second quarter and before halftime the Devils scored again on a rushing touchdown by Willian La’Prado. The two point try was no good and at halftime the score was 22-12.
In the second half the Devils came out swinging and scored again with a Bradley to Franklin touchdown pass. The Sharks tried to reply but the Devils defense made good adjustments and didn’t allow any points. On the other side the Devils scored four more times with two more Bradley to Franklin passes (had four total) and two more rushing touchdowns by Willian La’Prado (had three total).
Before the end of the game the Sharks were still able to score a late touchdown with Holloway running for is second of the game, but it was too late for a comeback and the Devils ended up winning 52-22 and clinched their their second straight championship game berth.
Maia Renegades 36 – Porto Mutts 24
The Renegades and Mutts had faced each other once this season and the winner was the Renegades with only a touchdown difference (13-7). Playing again in Maia, the Renegades started their first possession with some run plays that ended up with a Brian Gessel touchdown from the one-yard line. After that the Mutts tried to reply but their offense wasn’t able to move the ball and the Renegades defense got a couple of turnovers. Still in the first quarter the Renegades scored again on a pass from Gessel to Miguel Vasconcelos. At this point both extra points were good.
In the second quarter the Mutts were able to add some points on a board with a long field goal by Hélio Reis. After that both offensive teams just exchanged drives without being able to put more points on the board before halftime.
The Renegades opened the second half with a touchdown pass from Gessel to Vasco Pinheiro. The extra point was good. After that it was Miguel Simões who kicked a field goal to get more points on the board for the home team. The Mutts then finally started clicking on offense and were able to score the first touchdown of the game and we had a glimpse of a possible comeback in the end of the third quarter.
In the last quarter the Mutts and Renegades went at each other with both teams scoring two touchdowns. The Mutts had two passing touchdown from Brian Lopes to Chris Miranda who had a very good game playing both sides of the ball and making plays happen. On the Renegades side, Carlos Matos scored on a rushing touchdown and Hugo Lopes also scored on another rushing touchdown.
The game had a total of nine turnovers with seven of them being for the Renegades and two for the Mutts. The Renegades held on for the 36-24 win and advanced to their first championship game ever.
The championship game will pit the Lisboa Devils and the Maia Renegades. The two best teams in the regular season will go at each other on April 8th in Évora, Alentejo. We will have a preview for the championship game coming next week.