Spanish Semifinals: Osos Rivas, Las Rozas Black Demons stage huge upsets, usher in new era

The Spanish National League of American Football semifinals produced a pair of upsets and the promise of a brand-new champion in 2022.

In a major shift in power in Spain, Madrid’s Osos Rivas ran their unbeaten streak to nine games after running roughshod over the defending Spanish champions, the Badalona Dracs, in the semifinals whipping them 39-7, ending the Dracs hopes of winning a sixth straight title. In the other semifinal, the Las Rozas Black Demons exploded for four second half touchdowns, three in the final period, to down the Barbera Rookies 37-14.

For the first time since 2012, the Spanish final will be played without the Badalona Dracs. Ironically, they will be replaced by the team they defeated in that 2012 championship game, Osos Rivas, who will be making their first appearance in the title matchup for the first time since that game.

Osos Rivas 39 – Badalona Dracs 7

Photo: Lola Morales

Osos Rivas made short work of the former champions scoring four first half touchdowns with quarterback Sergio Barbero throwing three in the first half following running back Denzel Duchenne’s opening score on the Madrid team’s first possession. Barbero then connected with David Girón from Guatemala to extend the lead to 14-0. Álvaro Guitián was the next recipient of Barbero’s passing prowess making an outstanding one-handed grab to further add to the lead, 20-0. Giron struck again just before the break, giving Osos an almost insurmountable 27-0 lead

Photo: Lola Morales

Dracs quarterback Sergi Gonzalo displayed his poise early in the third quarter, finding young David Martinez to put Badalona on the board and reduce the lead to 27-7. But Duchenne responded late in the period with another rushing touchdown to make it 33-7,

Japanese receiver Atsushi Uehiro rounded off the scoring, hauling in Barbero’s fourth touchdown pass.

Las Rozas Black Demons 37 – Barbera Rookies 14

Photo: Lola Morales

In the other semifinal, the Black Demons held a tenuous 10-8 lead at the break before going on a second half rampage. After Jesús Pérez kicked an early field goal to give Las Rozas a 3-0 lead, Rookies quarterback Alex Pacheco connected with Victor Vega for the go-ahead touchdown. Brayan Larese added the two-point conversion to give Barbera an 8-3 lead. Then, midway through the second quarter Black Demons quarterback David de Diego tossed a 42-yard pass on a third and 10 to a wide-open Alejandro Garcia in the end zone and Las Rozas took a 10-8 lead to end the first half.

Photo: Lola Morales

The Rookies retook the lead early in the third period when linebacker Fernando Villegas scooped up a blocked punt and returned it 60 yards to give his team a 14-10 lead. That’s when the Black Demons took over the game as running back Daniel Romero weaved his way into the end zone from 15 yards out to give Las Rozas a 17-14 lead. Early in the fourth quarter, with the Rookies driving deep into Las Rozas territory, Black Demons defensive back Carlos Garcia picked off an Alex Pacheco pass and returned it 75 yards for a touchdown, extending the lead to 24-14. On the ensuing kickoff, the Rookies return man fumbled the ball and Las Rozas recovered on the five-yard line. Romero made no mistake punching the ball in and extending the lead to 31-14.

With Barbera forced now to take chances, the Black Demons got the ball back on the Rookies 29-yard line after a failed fourth down attempt. Romero scored two plays later on another magical 19-yard run putting the game away and sending his team to its third straight final.

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