CAFL Week 4 – China Daily Report By Lou Tilley
- Updated: October 24, 2016
Guangzhou, China (October 24, 2016) – By Lou Tilley
The China Arena Football League Super Series moved through Guangzhou this past weekend with more power and impact than the predicted typhoon. The storm missed the mark. The CAFL hit theirs. With just one weekend of play left before the indoor version of American football hits Shanghai for its championship weekend, the playoff seeding’s were settled in a dramatic weekend of play that made the weather seems mild by comparison.
In the most existing and well played game of 12 now in the books for the new indoor league, the Qingdao Clipper trailed the Shanghai Skywalkers for 59 minutes and 58 seconds. The last two ticks, however, saw the score and final decision flip in favor of the Clipper in the night-cap game of the Saturday twin bill. Both teams took the field with records of 2-1, knowing that a loss would likely eliminate them from a shot at playing in the league championship game.
Shanghai, with the league’s hottest passer Shane Austin, continued its explosive play in building a 28 to 20 lead at the intermission. And it appeared that they might pull away as play resumed with Shane Kauleinamuku grabbing his third touchdown of the night to lead 35 to 20. Qingdao QB Bryan Randall needed to jump start his team and did just that. On a second and 10 from the Shanghai 13 Randall, a former star at Virginia Tech , showed his old scrambling form, eluded the oncoming rush and took it to the house for his first rushing touchdown. Three players later Qingdao defensive back Rayshaun Kizer intercepted Austin. Three plays after that Randall was running into the end zone again, this time from two yards out and with the extra point Shanghai was barley holding on to a 35 to 34 lead.
The turnaround did not faze the Skywalkers. Shanghai went back in front by eight as Austin connected with Habai’s Shuai Liu for a 42 to 34 lead. Liu, fast becoming one of the top Chinese receivers, had seven catches for 91 yards on the night. Not to be outdone, Reggie Gray grabbed a 26 year TD pass from Randall for his second score and the quarter ended with Shanghai hanging on to a 42 to 40 lead.
Just 4 minutes remained, with Shanghai nursing a 49-48 lead, but in control of the ball. That’s when Clipper defender Jake Metz, the US league Defender of The Year showed his athletic skills. Metz playing both defensive end, and linebacker, harassed Austin into 2 incompletions and a sack in a dramatic sequence. Starting at their own 23, Randall and the Clipper used two completions and then consecutive runs by Jason Holman to place the ball in close but time was running out On fourth and goal from the six, Coach Rod Miller elected to send out Chao Ran Li for a 21 yard field goal attempt to win the game. Li who had missed two extra points. No CAFL specialist had yet successfully kicked a field goal through the indoor league’s 9-foot wide goalposts. Li also had the chance to become the first Chinese player to be the outright hero in a CAFL game. He did so. He boomed the kick through the uprights straight and true, and a mad celebration ensured as time expired. With the dramatic 51-50 win, Qingdao would have the chance to move to the CAFL finals, pending Sunday’s game between hometown Guangzhou and Shenzhen.
The Power of Guangzhou flexed their US muscle in the Sunday match-up, American veterans on both sides of the ball to grind down Shenzhen 47-39, withstanding a furious late rally by the Naja for the win. Power quarterback JJ Raterink found Chinese receiver Xun Da Qiu for 2 TD strikes and completed 17 of 28 passes in all for 238 yards in the win. The victory means that Qingdao, now 3-1, will qualify to play for the championship in the China Bowl on November 6 in Shanghai.
They will face Beijing, now 4-0, after the Lions remained undefeated by routing Dalian in Saturday’s first game 70-26. After a slow start, the powerful Lions ripped off 55 unanswered points as Beijing QB Luke Collis spread passes among a remarkable 9 different receivers. The Super Series now moves on to Shenzhen for 3 game next weekend on October 22 and 23 before wrapping up the tour in Shanghai on November 5 and 6.
Click below for the entire Super Series Schedule.
With the official announcement of approval from the China government, the new professional league will be called CAFL (China Arena Football League), and the Beijing based operating company, formerly known as Ganlan Media International, will carry the same name.
“We think this acronym says it all,” said David Niu, the President of AFL Global, the founding corporation based in Conshohocken, PA, USA. “The league, and all of our efforts, are unique to China. We want to highlight the fact that we are playing American-style football, not to be confused with soccer. And we want to emphasize that this is China’s first ever professional league, played by the best players in the world.”
Many of the rosters will feature Chinese players, who have been learning and training for the arena game specifically for over a year, at 6 select Chinese Universities, under the guidance of AFL Global.
CAFL headquarters are located in Beijing, with leadership comprised of senior media executives and sports professionals with an array of government and commercial experience.
For more information please contact the following:
Lou Tilley, VP CAFL Communications and Media
Alvina Alston, CAFL Public Relations