Super Series III Weekend Wrap up
- Updated: October 16, 2016
Qingdao, China – (October 16, 2016) – By Lou Tilley – special to China Daily
Beijing Emerging as CAFL Team to Beat
After surviving a late game rally by the home town Qingdao Clipper, a hoarse Clint Dolezel, head coach of the newly 3-0 Beijing Lions was asked by a TV reporter if he was worried that the Clipper would come back in the end.
“Oh they came back. They came all the way back and had us ready to go down. That is a very good team over there and I’m sure their hometown fans are disappointed, but they showed great character. I’m just felt lucky to get out of here with a win.”
Dolezel was not being diplomatic. For the first 30 minutes of the feature game in week three of the CAFL (China Arena Football League) Super Series, the widely anticipated battle of the unbeaten teams was a lopsided runaway. Beijing, behind quarterback Luke Collis’s 14-18 -169 yard, 5 touchdown first half, lead 35-13 at the break.
“I told my guys they could go home on the bus, or get into this game.” That was Clipper coach Rod Miller as his team began the second half with a quick strike touchdown on an acrobatic Bryan Randall to Xavier Boyce hookup that covered 45 yards for the two former Virginia Tech stars. The Clipper then turned to defensive specialist Jake Metz . The 6-6, 260 pounds America AFL league defensive payer of the year responded with 3 knocked down passes, a sack, and a recovered fumble on two consecutive series, leading to a touchdown, and then a Qingdao first and goal at the Beijing 8 yard line, with 9 minutes to play.
A touchdown and 2 point conversion would tie things up. That’s when the Lions lived up to their moniker, held off the Clipper and eased ahead for the 47-33 win. Beijing is 3-0, and alone atop the CAFL standings. Qingdao fell to 2-1, tied with the Shanghai.
Shanghai’s Skywalkers improved their record in game one of the Saturday doubleheader, when they rode the outstanding wide receiver tandem of Mike Washington and Shane Kauleinamuku to an impressive victory over a plucky Shenzhen team. In the 61-48 win, Washington gathered in 8 passes from quarterback Shane Austin for 140 yards and 5 touchdowns. Kauleinamuku, like Washington a veteran star of the US indoor leagues, nearly matched that with 4 touchdowns of his own among his 8 catches for 123 yards. Austin finished his night, the-best yet by a CAFL passer, with a record setting passing performance that included 24 of 41 completed passes for 323 yards, 9 TDs, and no interceptions.
In the Saturday nightcap, Guangzhou met Dalian with both teams looking for their first win. Guangzhou, a preseason favorite with a powerful roster of US pros, had lost their first two games in the final minute. Dalian had shown improvement from their first appearance, but lost two key starters to injuries in the first half. fell behind and could not muster enough firepower to overcome a 3-touchdown deficit. Power quarterback JJ Raterink was solid controlling the football, and fullback Dashawn Johnson (6-3, 315) rumbled through the Dalian defense for 47 yards on 9 carries. Well ahead early, the Power coasted home with a 40-7 win, their first in the Super Series.
The Series moves to its fourth stop of Six cities next weekend with games set in Guangzhou on Saturday and Sunday.
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