Super Series IV was the most upset-filled slate of week of football this season has seen yet. This week saw the China Bowl matchup set, thanks to a couple surprising Qingdao and Guangzhou wins.
Beijing Lions 70, Dalian Dragon Kings 25:
The most surprising part of this game was that Dalian actually lead during the game. At the end of the first quarter, the Dragon Kings (0-4) led 13-7. From there, like everyone expected, it was all Beijing (4-0).
When trailing 19-14, Beijing went on to score 55 straight points, and ultimately never looked back getting the huge 45 point win and capturing the much deserved No. 1 seed in the China Bowl on Nov. 6 in Shanghai.
The Lions were led by the dynamic duo of Luke Collis and Collin Taylor who hooked up for two touchdowns and 56 yards. Taylor said on the This Week in AFL podcast he planned on Beijing scoring a lot of touchdowns, and he was absolutely right. The Lions put up 70, setting a new CAFL record. They also set a record for largest margin of victory, with the 45 point drubbing.
Dalian’s struggles continue as the offense can not keep up with anyone else in the league. The Dragon Kings have only scored 77 points across their four games, averaging 19 points per game. In an arena football league 19 points is unacceptable, and it looks likely that Dalian will finish the season without a win.
Qingdao Clipper 51, Shanghai Skywalkers 49:
This was the most anticipated game of the week heading in and it delivered, becoming one of the most tightly contested this season, challenging for the “game of the season” title.
This entire game was back and forth until Shanghai (2-2) took a 35-20 lead to start the second half, but Clipper (3-1) quarterback Bryan Randall scrambled into the endzone from thirteen yards out.
Three plays later, the turnover bug caught Shane Austin again as Rayshaun Kizer picked him off. Randall ran the ball into the endzone again and all of the sudden that two possession lead evaporated.
The two teams traded scores until Shanghai held a 49-48 lead. Shanghai’s drive stalled late in the game and Qingdao got the ball back with a chance to score and win the game. The Clipper got inside the 10 yard line but a couple incompletions later it was fourth and goal.
Instead of sending out the offense to try and power the ball in, head coach Rod Miller sent out the kicking team to attempt to make the first ever field goal in CAFL history. From 21 yards Qingdao kicker Chao Ran Li put it through the uprights, as time expired to win the game for the Clipper.
Since the Power beat the Naja on Sunday, the Clipper will face off against the Beijing Lions in the first ever China Bowl on Nov. 6. Shanghai has to be the disappointment of the season. They looked to be the strongest team in the league, but will miss the championship.
Guangzhou Power 47, Shenzhen Naja 39:
In perhaps the most shocking game of the week, the Power (2-2) got the eight point win over the Naja (1-3) in the Super Series finale on Sunday, in front of the Guangzhou faithful.
The game was pretty closely contested until the Power jumped out to a 26-7 advantage. The two sides traded scores until the score read 40-21 at the end of the third quarter. To kickstart the fourth Dak Britt found Xinhe Xu for a 12 yard score to pull within 13. The Naja then got a stop on defense thanks to the second Terrance Smith interception of the game, which led to more Naja points, only trailing by a possession.
The ensuing onside kick was recovered by the Naja and a play later Shenzhen scored on a 42 yard pass from Britt to Sze Ting Liu to bring the score to 40-39 Power, with little time left. Shenzhen had to go for the onside one last time, this time however, the Power recovered, and scored one last insurance touchdown to put the icing on the cake, for the 47-39 victory.
The Power played spoilers this week, had Shenzhen won, it would have created a scenario where three teams could have been the No. 2 seed. But because they won the entire playoffs are now set in stone. The Beijing Lions will face the Qingdao Clipper in the China Bowl.
The Shanghai Skywalkers will face off against the Guangzhou Power in the battle of the third and fourth seeds. Lastly, the Shenzhen Naja face off against the Dalian Dragon Kings in the fifth vs. sixth seed matchup.
These games are all two weeks away, on Nov. 6, so with one more week of regular season play left it will be interesting to see how careful the top two seeds are with their starters.