Score: MEXICAS 35-34 Mayas
“Jesús ‘Palillo’ Martínez” Stadium, México City
By: Daniel Cortés Martínez
In a breathtaking game overall, the Mexicas took away the win from the Mayas and earned a playoff berth in the process, after a furious comeback that saw them scoring 29 unanswered points.
In the first half, the Mayas manhandled the Mexicas defense and rolled over the field via deep shots from the arm of QB Marco Garcia (No. 12) connecting with his usual go-to targets WR Josue Martínez (No. 81) and WR Diego Viamontes (No. 11). Star runningback Omar Cojolum (No. 1) was also present in the first quarter scoring a 5-yard Touchdown to open the board. The Mayas’ aerial attack was in full operation constantly burning the Mexicas’ secondary. On the other side, the Mexicas’ offense was a mess committing a series of costly mistakes that prevented them from being head to head with the Mayas.
To open the second quarter, the Mayas scored their third Touchdown of the game with a connection between García (No. 12) and Mike McCrary (No. 3) making it a 21 point lead over the Mexicas, but finally the Red Warriors offense found some spark and answered with a Touchdown on their own when QB Gerardo Ramos (No. 15) hit a wide open WR Ditter Smith (No. 17) in a deep shot to close the gap in the scoreboard. However, the Mayas were not done burning deep the secondary and García (No. 12) found a lone Viamontes in the end zone to extend the lead 28-6.
A costly fumble from Mexicas’ QB Ramos (No. 15) in the final seconds of the first half, set the table for yet another Touchdown between García (No. 12) and Viamontes giving the Mayas a healthy lead over the Mexicas who found themselves in deep trouble ending the second quarter losing 34-6. However, the things to come were predicted by no one in the building as it became a totally different story for both teams. First, the Mexicas started to roll on offense leaning on the legs of QB Ramos (No. 15) who managed to extend plays with superb elusiveness and found the end zone for the second Touchdown for the Red Warriors.
With José Luis Canales (No. 19) under center for the Mayas, the offense diminished its potency and began to fall back, allowing the Mexicas’ defense to close the lanes and prevented them for scoring at all in the second half. On the other hand, the Mexicas offense found something that was missing in the first period and looked entirely different. A beautiful toss from Ramos (No. 15) to Guillermo Villalobos (No. 84) took the Mexicas closer in the scoreboard and they were down two possessions with plenty of time in the fourth quarter. At this moment, the comeback seemed too difficult to complete, but the Mexicas were filled with poise and heart, some energy that I felt coming from the fans too.
QB Gerardo Ramos (No. 15) kept making big plays with his legs, setting the scenery for another Touchdown in the ground, but this time courtesy of Fernando Álvarez (No. 22), putting the scoreboard 34-28, still in favor of the Mayas. Then on, the Mexicas’ defense stepped up and stopped the Mayas’ offense with two minutes on the clock, plenty of time to score a Touchdown to tie the game. A gorgeous throw from Ramos to the right corner of the end zone landed in the waiting hands of Ditter Smith (No. 17) who came away with the catch and the tying score. The Mexicas have had problems all season long with the field goals, but this time Carlos Soria (No. 18) managed to kick the ball through the center of the goal posts, giving the Mexicas a one-point lead with over a minute to play.
Then on, the Mayas got to the 25-yard line, and with one second remaining on the clock they tried a 45 yard field goal, but the constantly reliable Mauricio Morales (No. 5) kicked the ball wide right ending the hopes for a Mayas victory. That is how the Mexicas completed the largest comeback in LFA’s history in one of the best games that I have seen in the three seasons of this young league. With this frantic win, the Mexicas earned a playoff berth leaving the Condors officially out of contention, and now we have two consecutive games left between Mexicas and Mayas, the most important obviously coming in the playoffs. So this is not over, these teams are going to clash for the right to earn a ticket to the Tazon Mexico III. The expectations are set really high now. Wait for it.