Rookies Make a Statement in Spain

The Barbera Rookies and Valencia Firebats took home important wins last weekend in Spain. Although the season is still early, the Rookies made a statement in dominating the Valencia Giants while the Firebats moved to 3-1 by beating the Reus Imperials in a nail biter.

Valencia Firebats (3-1)  27 – Reus Imperials 26 (0-3)

Spain - 2016 Firebats-Imperials

For the second time in this young Spanish season, the Firebats have had to claw their way to victory in the last minute against a newcomer.

Valencia fell behind 20-7 early in the third quarter to Reus but rallied with receiver Alejandro Silvestre again making the difference scoring the winning touchdown with 52 seconds left in the game.

Imperials quarterback Allan Bridgford was outstanding early on as Reus took a 6-0 lead in the first quarter. But Valencia responded with Silvestre opening the scoring giving the Firebats a 7-6 lead.

Running back Vailele Peko Jr. regained the lead for Reus 12-7 with his first touchdown of the afternoon. Then Bridgford carried the ball in himself early in the second half to give the Imperials a commanding 20-7 lead.

But as they did against the Rookies, Reus seemed to wilt in the second half as Firebats running back Hector Pertegaz caught fire scoring two touchdowns  giving Valencia a 21-20 lead. The Imperials were not finished though as Peko scored his second touchdown regaining the lead for Reus.

That’s when Silvestre scored his second game-winning touchdown of the season for the Firebats who now keep pace with the Badalona Dracs.

Barbera Rookies (2-1) 34 – Valencia Giants 6 (0-3)

Spain - Rookies - Van Deripe

The Barbera Rookies recorded their second win of the season in dispensing with the Giants 34-6 making a statement for head coach Teo Polanco. Quarterback Michael Van Deripe scored three rushing touchdowns and threw for a fourth to lead Barbera to the convincing victory.

The Giants took the early lead though, on a Ralph Pineda touchdown but Barbera responded at the end of the first quarter with Van Deripe scoring his first of three majors. The Rookies extended the lead to 14-7 with Van Deripe again taking the ball in himself.

Before the first half ended, Van Deripe found Marc Gonzalez giving Barbera a 20-6 halftime lead.

Receiver Tim Pape hauled in another Van Deripe pass in the fourth quarter and the quarterback then rounded out the scoring with his third touchdown of the day for the win.

Roger Kelly is an editor and a writer for AFI. A former PR Director the B.C. Lions of the Canadian Football League for 7 years, he now lives in Sweden writing about and scouting American Football throughout the world.