Spain: 3rd round matchups offer exciting football this weekend

The Spanish League of American Football heads into its third round of action this coming weekend with hopes that all four games will be able to be held.

Two weeks ago, three of the four games scheduled, had to be postponed at the last minute. The Badalona Dracs home game against the Murcia Cobras was canceled due to COVID-19 pandemic concerns while the other two games in MadridOsos Rivas vs Fuengirola Potros and the Las Rozas Black Demons against the Gijon Mariners – were postponed due to the heavy snowfall in the Madrid region.

In the only game played, the Mallorca Voltors defeated the visiting Zaragoza Hurricanes 35-13.

Saturday, January 30, 16:00 CET, Las Roza Black Demons (1-0) @ Osos Rivas (1-0)

Osos Rivas opened their season with a comfortable 27-14 win over the Gijon Mariners while the Las Rozas Black Demons whipped Fuengirola 41-8 in the first week of play.

Since that opening game, Osos has added Italian American and Team Italy running back Mike Gentili. Gentili saw action in Finland (Helsinki Roosters) and Sweden (Orebro Black Knights) in 2020 after the Schwabish Hall Unicorns where he had originally signed to play could not play when the German Football League shut down. The team also added Spanish running back/linebacker Adrian Jimenez who most recently played for Denmark’s Triangle Razorbacks.

The Black Demons are led offensively by Canadian quarterback Chris Merchant from the University of Western Mustangs with whom he won a Canadian college championship. He will be protected by a solid offensive line led by Carlos Carrasco who helped the Wasa Royals reach the Finnish semifinals in 2020.. Add running back Marcos de la Mata who rushed for over 100 yards in the win over Fuengirola while also catching one of the touchdown passes and you have a potent backfield. Javier López and Jesús García-Valcárcel also hauled in scoring passes in that game while Matias Castagno scored on a 50 yard punt return and Jorge Félix Velasco on a 45 yard kickoff return. In other words, Las Rozas has plenty of weapons.

Defensively the Black Demons have brought in American linebacker William Lloyd, a two-year starter at Troy University (NCAA FBS) who amassed 143 tackles in his career. Lloyd played the 2019 season with the Ravensburg Razorbacks in Germany. He is joinedon defense by former Swarco Raider and Clemson Tiger defensive back Darius Robinson.

This will be an interesting matchup.

Saturday, January 30, 16:00 CET, Fuengirola Potros (0-1) @ Gijon Mariners (0-1)

The Mariners dropped a 27-14 decision to Osos Rivas in the first round while the Potros suffered a tough 41-8 defeat at the hands of the Black Demons.

The Mariners are looking to improve on their first game of the season where they lost the Osas Rivas in a hard fought 27-14 game on December 12th. Quarterback Marcos Martínez threw a third quarter touchdown pass to Alejandro Herrero after running back Miguel Quince had reduced the lead to 21-6 to close out the first half. The Mariners came close to scoring again but the third touchdown by Herrero was called back due to a penalty. In other words, the Mariners can surprise. Look for head coach Daniel Castanon to have his team ready for this game.

Look for the Potros quarterback Henri Väänänen, who scored his team’s only touchdown in the loss to Las Rozas, to run the ball more against this Mariners defense. He is a physical quarterback but also has great touch on his deep passes. The Potros defense featuring newly-arrived linebacker and 2018 German bowl MVP Nikolas Knoblauch along with Polish defensive end Michal Kusyk and defensive back Noah Richards should be ready for the Mariners offense.

Saturday, January 30, 17:00, Zaragoza Hurricanes (0-2) @ Murcia Cobras (0-1)

The Murcia Cobras lost their first game of the season 33-7 to the Mallorca Voltors while Zaragoza dropped a 51-6 decision to the Badalona Dracs in the opening round and then lost 36-13 two weeks ago to the Mallorca Voltors.

The Cobras have added a couple of lineman since that first game as British defensive lineman Deon Mutsvanemoto and Swedish offensive lineman Rasmus Gunnar Johansson have joined the squad.

For Zaragoza, the addition of veteran quarterback Dustin Hawke Willingham will give the offense some stability and confidence. Dynamic returner Denzel Duchenne will give the Murcia special teams problems. He had two long touchdowns called back in the loss to Mallorca.

This is only Zaragoza’s third season in Spain’s top league and these two teams have never played each other before.  This is an intriguing matchup.

Sunday, January 31, 12:00 CET, Mallorca Voltors (2-0) @ Badalona Dracs (1-0)

 

The Dracs opened the season beating the Zaragoza Hurricanes 51-6 and looked every bit the defending champions that they are. Meanwhile, Mallorca looked just as impressive in their two wins, a 33-7 victory over the Murcia Cobras and a 35-13 defeat of the Zaragoza Hurricanes.

Badalona is solid in all phases of the game and in the win, receivers Guillem García, Jordi Rua and Edu Morlans caught touchdown passes while Morlans also scored two rushing touchdowns and Charle Take added another one. Since then head coach Oscar Calatayud has added all star  receiver/defensive back Niko Lester who won a championship in Sweden with the Carlstad Crusaders. Also signed is former German Football League quarterback Cory Benedetto. On defense, linebacker Mike Taylor brings added muscle to an alreeady tough Dracs defense.

The dynamic Voltors duo of Tanner Young and Jaylon Hibbs combined for three touchdowns and 113 yards. Young and Hibbs were teammates at Centre College (NCAA D3 Kentucky) before heading to Australia and now Spain together. Defensively the Voltors, who were solid before, have added linebacker Kadel King, who won a Finnish championship with the Kuopio Steelers.

This could well be the game of the week in Spain.

AFI
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