Score: CONDORS 23-22 Mexicas

“Jesús ‘Palillo’ Martínez” Stadium, México City

By: Daniel Cortés Martínez

The Condors won their first game of the season – Photo Credit: comexmasters.com

The Condors avoided an awful record of 0-4 by earning their first win of the season at the expenses of a tough Mexicas team that left many plays and points on the field and could not overcome costly mistakes.

In a perfect Sunday for football, the Condors and the Mexicas gave us a hard fought battle at “Palillo” Stadium and an amazing ending that saw the Condors sealing the win in the final seconds of the match. As usual in this 3rd season of LFA, the Condors started strong, scoring the first points of the game in their first offensive series. It was a 6-minute, 61-yard scoring effort with great balance between ground and air plays in an offense commanded by QB Diego Pérez Arvizu (No. 1). On the ground, Head Coach Felix Buendía has a formidable three-headed beast in RB Allan Rosado (No. 32), RB Irving Alamilla (No. 27), and first round selection RB Luis Humberto López (No. 4) that kept the Condors’ offense rolling.

Productive connections in the middle of the field between Pérez Arvizu and WR Preston Bailey (No. 11) plus the aforementioned frontal ground attack took the offense to the red zone, and culminated with the first score on a pass to the left caught by standout WR Andrés Salgado (No. 81). The Condors started aggressive and opted for the 2- point conversion that succeeded with a pass to Bailey (No. 11) giving them an 8-point lead over the Mexicas. However, it took no time for the Mexicas offense to answer the first points with their own ground attack carried by the legs of RB Terrill Gourdine (No. 19) and RB Vladimir Araiza (No. 33), but the aerial attack took the stage with QB Ricardo Quintana (No. 5) finding WR Diego Castro (No. 11) for a 35 yard gain and then Quintana taking the ball  himself for the Touchdown and a subsequent 2-point conversion with WR Mauricio Jordán (No.6) to tie the game.

The second quarter opened with another scoring series for the Mexicas, marching down the field with a couple of passes with WR Ditter Smith (No. 17) and two effective runs by Araiza (No. 33) and Gourdine (No. 19) topped with a Touchdown grab by WR Guillermo Villalobos to take the lead. The Condors’ offense struggled mightily and the Mexicas’ defense did not allow them anything on the trenches forcing them to punt in every series previous halftime. The Mexicas’ offense did not perform well either, sustaining a couple of long series that ended on a missed Field Goal and on a Fumble to end the half.

The Condors received the ball on the 3rd quarter but failed to score thanks to a good defensive performance, mainly from Oscar Olivares (No. 57), Jovani Carrillo (No. 40) and Isaac Gil (No. 91) forcing the Condors to turn the ball over on downs. Next up, the Mexicas exploded for a 50-yard Touchdown on the ground when Gourdine (No. 19) showed elusiveness and broke some Condors’ defenders ankles to escape directly to the end-zone, adding a 2-point conversion with Araiza (No. 33). Then on, the Condors’ defense locked down the lanes that were working for the Mexicas and began pressuring QB Ricardo Quintana (No. 5) making him throw uncomfortable and batting passes on the line limiting completely the production of the red warriors.

At the end of the 3rd period, the Condors found some groove on offense and Pérez Arvizu (No. 1) connected deep with Salgado (No. 81) for the score that marked the beginning of the comeback for the winged squad. The Mexicas sustained another long offensive series to open the 4th period, but again failed to score any points and missed another Field Goal that would be crucial in the final score. The Condors took advantage of their momentum and continued to make damage on the ground with Alamilla (No. 27) and Rosado (No. 32), but it was Pérez Arvizu (No. 1) who took the ball to the end zone, adding another 2-point conversion with the legs of López Tinoco (No. 4) to take a one-point lead over the Mexicas.

The Condors defense kept harassing QB Quintana (No. 5) and with the clock ticking away, Ditter Smith (No. 17) fumbled the ball, being recovered by the Condors and sealing their dramatic victory. Now, the Condors breathe some life in the Central Division after the win, but the scenario still looks complicated as they take on the Mayas who sport a 2-game winning streak and are looking strong down the stretch. For their part, the Mexicas will visit the Raptors who are desperately in need for a win to keep competing in the North Division and come from a painfully defeat against the Dinos. The Mexicas will need to get back on track and avoid the mental issues that plagued them on this loss if they want to keep up with the Mayas in the division.