The Road To Shanghai Runs Through Beijing
- Updated: October 22, 2016
Guangzhou, China (October 22, 2016) By Mick Moninghoff
The Beijing Lions became the first team to earn a spot in the China Arena Football Leagues’ first ever Championship to be played in Shanghai in two weeks.
The 4-0 Lions used a string of 55 straight points to overpower the Dalian Dragon Kings in a 70 to 25 victory.
Dalian, (0-4) saw Phillip Garcia get his first start at quarterback in place of the injured Jawad Yatim and he helped his team to an early lead. The Dragon Kings took the opening kickoff and marched straight into the end zone with Garcia running two yards for the first score of the game. Beijing took a 7 to 6 lead as Luke Collis found Chris Dieker from three yards out but three plays later it was Garcia unloading 49 yards to Kent Richardson and the first quarter ended with Dalian up 13 to 6.
The Dragon Kings continued their upset bid as Ameer Ishmail intercepted Collis to start the second quarter. The possession ended with Bing Wang attempting a 28 yard field goal that was wide left. Beijing’s James Romain played the miss off the net and returned it 56 yards for a touchdown and a Lion’s lead. Maurice Woodard took the ensuing kickoff back 52 yards for a score and a 19-14 Dalian lead. It would be the Dragon Kings last lead of the day. A failed onside kick left Beijing just nine yards from the end zone and Chris Dieker connected with Collin Taylor for a score that started a run of 21 straight points to end the half. An interception by Torez Jones led to a TD run by Dieker (seven yards) and later a Rustin Mayorga score, (1 yard) gave the Lions a 35-19 lead. A second pick by Jones at the end of the half set the tone for what was to follow.
In the third quarter Beijing added a safety as Paul Cheng, who recorded three sacks on the day, nailed Garcia in the end zone. Dalian’s next possession ended with a Yao Tus Lin interception which set up a Collis to Taylor 15 yard score. On the very next snap by the Dragon Kings James Romain made CAFL history with the first interception return for a touchdown and the Lions led 57 to 19. The four picks in a game established a defensive record.
In the final Quarter Collis found Tuohuti Ailiya with a 9 yard scoring play and Beijing picked up its last points of the game as Romain recovered a fumble and returned it for his third touchdown. The 70 points score by the Lions is the most ever by a team in a CAFL contest.
The Lions run of 55 straight points ended when Zhen Ma caught a touchdown in the final seconds.
Just as impressive as the score was that nine different Beijing receivers had receptions.
Beijing has one game remaining against Guangzhou next week before it will play in the first ever China Bowl in Shanghai on November 6th.
Photo Gallery of the Beijing Lions and Dalin Dragons game below:
Luke Collis, 19 of 25, 165 yards, 4TD, 1 Int.
Chris Dieker, 3 of 3, 29 yards, 1TD
Mayorga, 1 for 13 yards
Romain, 4 for 34 yards
Dieker, 1 for 4 yards, 1TD
Erwin Sennett Wu, 3 for 19 yards, 1TD
Ailiya, 2 for 27 yards, 1TD
Taylor, 5 for 56 yards, 2TD
Xing Long Xiong, 1 for 17 yards
Junxing Zhang, 2 for 25 yards
Xiang Yu Zhang, 1 for 5 yards
Dieker, 4 for 4 yards, 1TD
Mayorga, 3 for 14 yards, 1TD
Taylor, 1 for 3 yards
Collis, 1 for 2 yards
Xiang Yu Zhang 3 for 14 yards
Garcia 15 of 41, 152 yards, 3TD, 4 Int
Talib Wise, 4 for 33 yards
Woodard, 3 for 33 yards
Steve Tang, 1 for 3 yards
Richardson, 3 for 66 yards, 1TD
Ma, 2 for 13 yards, 1TD
Jordan Mosely, 1 for 15 yards
Ka Chun Yip, 1 for 11 yards
David Oku 1 for 5 yards
Ameer Ismail, 1 for 5 yards
Garcia, 2 for 27 yards
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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