Spain: Valencia Firebats Capture Spanish Crown For 4th Time

The Valencia Firebats capped an outstanding season in Spain’s top division by defeating the defending champion Badalona Dracs 30-20 in Barcelona and capturing their fourth ever Spanish title. Firebats quarterback Chris Debowski, who threw three touchdown passes and ran another one in himself, was named game MVP.

Valencia broke open a tight, defensive struggle late in the first quarter as Debowski, with great protection from a dominant offensive line, hit Javi Martínez for the first touchdown of the contest late in the period. Badalona could not seem to get their running game untracked and this was a decisive factor. Time and again Valencia’s front seven stymied Badalona’s Curtis Cannon, the top running back in the league.

Spain - Valencia Firebats - Debowski MVP 2015

Meanwhile Debowski found his rhythm in the second quarter as he found Alejandro Silvestre on a great crossing route to extend the Firebat’s lead to 14-0. With Valencia’s defense playing at the top of their game, Debowski again tossed a touchdown pass, this time to Pau Palau and the Firebats went into the break with a 21-0 lead.

In the third quarter, Cannon, the league’s top scorer in the regular season (23 touchdowns), finally found the end zone but on the ensuing two-point conversion attempt, Valencia intercepted the pass and returned the ball all the way to the end zone for another two points giving the Firebats a 23-6 lead.

The Dracs seemed to gain momentum from that and early in the fourth quarter Cannon found the end zone again reducing the score to 23-13. But Debowski put an end to any thoughts of a Badalona comeback with a 21 yard touchdown run himself with less than five minutes remaining. Nevertheless, Badalona’s Joan Carles Bartra made things interesting again with a spectacular 95 yard kickoff return for a touchdown giving the Dracs new life and reducing the lead to 30-20.

Spain - Valencia v Badalona championship - Curtis Cannon

Valencia’s defense kept Curtis Cannon in check.

But Badalona’s hopes were dashed as Valencia played perfect clock-management football for the remainder of the match. Debowski either handed the ball off to running back Hector Pertegaz or kept it himself and kept the chains moving. The Dracs never regained possession of the ball and Debowski took a knee to give the Firebats their first Spanish title since 2009.

Roger Kelly
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.
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