Beijing Wins Battle of Unbeatens
Sunday October 9, 2016
Dalian, China – October 9, 2016 – by Mick Moninghoff
The China Arena Football League is a league of firsts. Today the first ever match up of undefeated teams took place as the Shenzhen Naja met the Beijing Lions as each team entered 1-0. This game lived up to the hype as a Luke Collis touchdown pass to Erwin Sennett Wu on the Lions last possession enabled them to escape the Damai Center with a 48-41 win over Shenzhen.
The Shenzhen offense which is predicated on the run came out throwing to start the game. The first completed pass by Dak Britt to Xinhe Xu went for 30 yards but Beijing’s Torez Jones forced a fumble and the recovery by James Romain led to the Lions first score. The teams traded touchdowns before Jones intercepted a Britt pass in the second quarter. Beijing quarterback Luke Collis capitalized on the turnover tossing a six yard pass to tight end Neal Tivis to run the score to 28 to 15. An interception by James Romain closed out the half and it appeared that the Lions would carry the momentum.
That good feeling was short lived as Terrance Smith intercepted Collis on the first play of the second half and it was clear the Naja was not backing down. Four plays later Dak Britt, who ran for 95 yards on 13 carries, was into the end zone and Shenzhen trailed by seven. The teams traded scores with Beijing’s Rustin Mayorga cashing in on a three yard run, but a failed on-side kick enable the Naja to close to within six points as Britt netted his third rushing TD of the game. Beijing ended the third quarter as Erwin Sennett Wu hauled in a 21 yard strike from Collis and the score read 41-28 Lions.
In the final frame Britt connect with Xu for his first career TD and the Naja trailed by 6. The Shenzhen defense got the football back after David Hong’s sack got the Lions off schedule, handing the football over on downs. It only took the Naja seven plays to tie the game as Britt connected with Shida Wang for his second score of the contest. Beijing answered with a four play drive with Collis connecting with Wu for his second score of the night and the 47-41 final.
Luke Collis, 22 of 34, 338 yards, 5TD, 1 interception
Chris Dieker, 1 for 1, 30 yards, 1 touchdown
Collin Taylor, 8 for 135 yards
Erwin Sennett Wu, 7 for 104 yards, 2 TD
Neal Tivis, 3 for 30 yards, TD
Tuohuti Ailiya, 3, for 74 yards, 2 TD
Dieker, 1 for 8 yards, TD
Yao Sue Lin, 1 for 22
Dieker, 1 for 3 yards
Mayorga, 1 for 3, TD
Defense: Torez Jones, forced fumble and an interception
James Romain, Fumble recovery and interception
Dak Britt 23 of 38, 205 yards, 3 TD, 2 Interceptions
Shida Wang, 9 for 104 yards 2 TD
Xinhe Xu, 6 for 90 yards, 1 TD
Sze Ting Lui, 1 for five yards
Yu Lan Shen, 1 for 10 yards
Britt 13 – 95 yards
Adrian Ferns 4 for 13 yards
Interception: Terrance Smith
Sack: David Hong
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.