Naja Finish at .500 with 46-30 win over Dalian
- Updated: November 6, 2016
Shanghai, China (November 5, 2016) By Mick Moninghoff
Dak Britt ran for over 100 yards for the second straight game and Adrian Ferns scored twice as the Shenzhen Naja defeated the Dalian Dragon Kings 46 to 30 in the game that decided fifth place in the first season of the China Arena Football League.
The Crowd at Shanghai’s Oriental Arena was treated to the Naja running game that churned out 152 yards on 22 carries and three touchdowns between the running of Britt and Ferns.
The game began with Shenzhen’s Yu Lan Shen taking the opening kickoff 35 yards to the end zone for the games’ first score. After the Dragon Kings failed to get a first down, the Naja took advantage of a short seven yard field and scored in two plays with Britt getting his 14th TD of the season from two yards away.
Dalian climbed back into the game with Jawad Yatim hitting Kent Richardson with a 24 yard strike but the momentum faded as the Naja drove 32 yards in seven plays with Ferns scoring from four yards out and a 20 to 6 lead to end the first quarter.
Dalian came out swinging in the second quarter with a nice five play, 33 yard drive with Talib Wise, the third leading receiver in the league, hauling in a 17 yard pass to make it a six point game. Dalian missed a great opportunity to take the game over as its defense stopped the Naja on the next series. The offense drove the ball inside the ten, but on fourth and goal from the nine, they gave the ball back with an incomplete pass. Six plays later Shenzhen closed out the half with Britt firing to Xinhe Xu for his seventh TD reception of the season and a 26-14 halftime lead.
The Naja found another gear in the second half. After forcing Dalian to turn the ball over on downs, Shenzhen got creative on a first and goal at the three with Britt tossing a pass to tight end Colin Madison for six.
Dalian would not back down as linebacker Ameer Ismail recovered this third fumble of the season and the Dragon King offense responded, converting the turnover into points in the final quarter. On first and ten from the 14 Yatim pitched the ball to Wise who started to sweep around the right end, then he pulled up and floated an option pass to Zhen Ma for a touchdown and the Dragon Kings trailed 32-22.
The teams traded scores with Ferns scoring on a two yard run for the Naja and Yatim taking matters into his own hands and running 24 yards for his third rushing touchdown of the season. Dalian would get no closer than nine points as Britt closed the scoring with Shen getting his second score of the game, this time on a 23 yard pass play.
Britt finished the game just 6 of 15 passing for 87 yards and three scores while rushing 15 times for 101 yards and a score. He became the first CALF player to have back to back 100 yard rushing games. Britt finished the season with 489 yards. Ferns ended with 240 yards on the year. Yatim was Dalian’s leading rusher with 54 yards on eight carries and one TD. He was also 11 of 29 passing for 172 yards and two scores. Wise led all receivers with five catches for 54 yards and a TD while also passing for the 14 score on the option toss.
The Naja finished in fifth place with a 3-3 record while the Dragon Kings ended up 0-6.
Britt, 6 of 15, 87 yards, 3TD
Xu, 3 for 74 yards, 1TD
Shen, 2 for 35 yards, 1TD
Madison, 1 for 5 yards, 1TD
Britt, 15 for 101 yards, 1TD
Ferns, 7 for 51 yards, 2 TD
Yatim, 11 of 29 for 172 yards, 2TD
Wise, 1 for 14 yards, 1TD
Wise, 5 for 54 yards, 1TD
Yatim, 1 for 1 yard
Zhen Ma, 2 for 20 yards, 1TD
Maurice Woodard, 1 for 35 yards
David Oku, 3 for 20 yards
Oku, 5 for 21 yards
Wise, 2 for 9 yards
Yatim, 5 for 54 yards, 1TD
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