The first full weekend of the Emirates American Football League (EAFL) regular season kicked off on Friday afternoon at The Sevens in Dubai with all four league teams in action.
Abu Dhabi Wildcats 21 Al Ain Desert Foxes 0
In the evening match, the Abu Dhabi Wildcats beat a depleted Al Ain Desert Foxes squad just two weeks after losing to the Barracudas in the Turkey Bowl.
“All offseason, I’ve been preaching about brotherhood and my guys showed that today,” Abu Dhabi coach Tony Robinson said. “After our opening-day loss, we just had to get back to executing. I couldn’t be happier. It’s early days, but this is the type of spirit that could take us on to greater things.”
Read more: American Tony Robinson brings 'football culture' to Emirates American Football League gridiron
The Wildcats were almost at full strength and running back Vivaldi Tulysse scored a touchdown and was a constant threat all evening.
“We know we have a lot of work to do. Today was about trying to manufacture good field position,” new Foxes coach Johnny Sharp said.
“We’ve worked our receivers and quarterbacks a lot in the offseason and I know that will pay dividends as the season progresses.”
Dubai Barracudas 6 Dubai Stallions 6
The repeat of last season's Desert Bowl failed to live up to expectations in the early afternoon sun at The Sevens, with both teams guilty of a catalogue of errors across all four quarters, ending in a rare tie.
“It was sloppy football, both teams didn’t play their best this afternoon,” Dubai Barracudas coach said. “I’m not happy with the way we did things, we had a lot of turnovers and missed tackles, and were unable to establish the run.”
The Barracudas took an early lead when a fumble recovery deep in the Stallions territory set up a touchdown run from quarterback Jan Pavlik. Pavlik stood in for regular starter Zavier Cobb, who was away in the United States coaching the EAFL Falcons’ youth team.
“Jan did the best he could and stepped up, making some nice throws. But he also had some that he wishes he could have back,” Jordan said. “We’ll get better.”
Read more: Emirates American Football League regular season kicks off Friday in Dubai
The Stallions, winners of the 2015 Desert Bowl, came back with a quarterback scramble of their own. Rani Zahr found just enough room to tie the score. Both teams missed their conversions.
Dubai Stallions coach Anthony Daniels was the happier of the coaches.
“Defensively, I think we played great. We only gave up one touchdown,” he said. “On offense, we kept moving the ball but kept hurting ourselves. Penalties and turnovers kept killing drives.”
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