Written by: Daniel Cortés Martínez

Dinos vs Mayas | Tazón México II | Credit: Ángel Santiago – FootballProMX

FINAL: Dinos 18-24 Mayas

The Mayas cemented their status -if they needed to remind anyone- as the best team in the 2017 season of the LFA. After losing just their first game in the campaign, the Mayas never got defeated again and won EIGHT games in a row, including the championship match. That record speaks about discipline and consistency, surely the things that best define the philosophy of this team. Now, they have made history in the young league as back-to-back champions and clearly are the best example of professionalism that the fans want to enjoy every Sunday from now on.

In front of them they had no easy rival and the title came after a hard fought battle. The Saltillo Dinos stepped into the field with hunger and proving that they had what was needed to knock-down the defending champions. Specially with their defensive play that was so effective when they shut down the Raptors attack last week in the divisional game. The Dinos opened the hostilities with the first offensive series only to punt away the ball four plays later. The Mayas offense was no better because QB Marco Garcia (No. 12) began to feel the heat that the Dinos defense put on him. He looked uncomfortable under center and took a sack by Dinos defensive man Luis Melo (No. 58) forcing the Mayas to punt on their own.

QB Marco García was named MVP | Credit: Ángel Santiago – FootballProMX

Then, the Dinos marched down the field and, after a deep 51-yard bomb from QB Alberto Garcia (No. 4) in connection with WR Javier Martínez (No. 88), they settled for a Field Goal to open the scoreboard. The Mayas engineered a long offensive series to answer the first points, but Marco García (No. 12) continued to feel the pressure and missed some easy throws, but with the aid of star RB Omar Cojolum, they managed to enter the red-zone. However, that trip was abruptly halted when García tried to extend a play to get a touchdown but was intercepted in the end-zone by Roberto Razo (No. 5).

The Dinos took no time to surprise the Mayas’ defense. QB Alberto García (No. 4) tested the deep field again and found WR Gerardo Álvarez (No. 3) for 44 yards. Two plays later, Alberto García himself took the ball into the end-zone for the Touchdown. It was a promising start for the Dinos who were presenting a good fight to the heavy favorites Mayas. However, the Mayas composed their offensive game with a combination of Cojolum runs and quick passes, and marched down the field with poise. Marco García (No. 12) also tried the deep field and found WR Josué Martínez for a 35 yard touchdown. 

The Dinos began to stagnate at offense and could not replicate the success that they had early in the game. The Mayas defense also made the right adjustments to prevent big plays. Then, the Mayas continued with the formula of Cojolum runs, and plays outside the pocket with Marco García. The QB was feeling less pressure from Dinos defense, but he needed to be creative when the pocket collapsed. That was what happened in a broken play when Marco saw the opportunity to take the ball himself into the end zone. The Mayas took the lead on the scoreboard for the first time in the match. 

Mayas holding the TMII Trophy | Credit: Ángel Santiago – FootballProMX

A little light for the Dinos came when Cojolum fumbled the ball and left the lizards in a great field position to get points. However, after a couple of ineffective plays, they settled for a field goal try. They missed it and ended the first half without points with a golden opportunity to be head-to-head with he Mayas. The third quarter was a tale of punts or very good defensive stand-offs. The Mayas were the next team to score again with Marco García handling the pressure way better than in the first half. The defending champions got closer to the end-zone but they took only a Field Goal to widen the advantage over the Dinos.

The Dinos did their job and sustained a 12-play offensive series that looked very good for them. The Mayas defended well their territory and prevented a touchdown in 3 plays. The Dinos decided to go for it on 4th down just to fail to convert and left the field without points again. I think that was the main issue that finally buried the Dinos, to leave points in the field. The Mayas went on to score again in an incredible 70-yard run by Omar Cojolum that took away the game from the Dinos completely. Then again, the Dinos sustained a long series just to turn the ball away on downs and the opportunity of a come-back vanished. Finally, the Dinos got a touchdown in the final minutes but the game was already decided in favor of the Mayas.

Mayas squad | Credit: Ángel Santiago – FootballProMX
In general, this was a very exciting final for an equally exciting season. The mexican fans must be very pleased for what this is becoming, a truly football experience. The Mayas are a worthy champion because they were, all in all, the best team the whole season. QB Marco García was named the Most Valuable Player for Tazón México II, but in reality the Mayas are formed with the effort of every player and coach that takes part in the daily life of the team. Now, they have set a quality standard for the league that every team is challenged to replicate. Kudos to the Dinos for leaving their skin on the field and surely their next season is going to be better. We say goodbye to the LFA 2017 season with a great taste in our mouths and we are pretty confident that there are better things to come for the hungry mexican football fans.