Russian American Football Superleague Has Rivalries Weekend

[tps_title]Russia Superleague[/tps_title]

The Russian Superleague saw 12 teams in action this past weekend and there were plenty of rivalries in the four divisions.

Simferopol Taurus (13) – Sevastopol Titans (22)

Regardless of the political situation surrounding the peninsula, American football is alive and well in Crimea, as the Taurus hosted the Titans in a rematch of long and storied rivalry.

Having lost the first game of the season quite decisively, the Simferopol squad looked to correct the mistakes at home and still make a run for the Black Sea Division, but they ultimately fell just short. Losing the battle in the trenches, they never managed to establish any kind of offensive momentum. And while their defense held on for most of the game, the considerable time of possession advantage that the Titans had eventually wore them out, as they conceded three scores in a tough loss at home.

With the win, Sevastopol takes the Black Sea Divison title and becomes the first team to advance to the playoffs in Russia.

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Urals Lightnings (21) – Team Samara (6)

For the second home game in row, the Lightnings greet their guests with a true rainstorm in their mountainous city of Ekaterinburg, but just like in week one when they hosted the Chelyabinsk Tanks, it seemed like the weather actually played into visitors favor by preventing a much bigger Lightnings victory.

The Urals squad once again relied on aggressive play by their front seven to disrupt the opposing offense, while overpowering them on the other side of the ball to establish a comfortable lead before the rain took the game over.
Samara has greatly improved their game coming from an opening loss to Chelyabinsk, but the newly arranged team seems to lack the experience of playing together, opening holes for both running and passing game. But they might not have enough time to find the answers this season, as the second loss in a row makes them all but eliminated from the playoff contention.

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Podolsk Knights (44) – Nizhny Novgorod Raiders 52 (7)

Having to travel to Podolsk with injured Kirill Zavyalov (their head coach and starting quarterback), Raiders 52 were not able to rally on either side of the ball and put much of a resistance against the dominant Podolsk. In addition to that, they were also missing some key pieces in their secondary, which (together with stellar play in pass protection) allowed the hosts to open up their playbook and attack them through the air.

The surprising Knights, who have previously relied on their heavy run game behind a dominant offensive line, were able to explore a different side of their playbook, which they will definitely need against the tougher teams in the playoffs – where they’ve already clinched a spot with a game to spare.

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Ilya Kravtsov
After being involved in bringing American football to his hometown of St. Petersburg, Russia, Ilya would go on to play in the Japanese X-League, helping his side Tokyo Bullseyes advance all the way to the top tier of the league and become the only non-corporate team in X-1. He's currently the defensive coordinator of St. Petersburg Griffins, as well as the head coach of St. Petersburg Valkyries.
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