Dubai Stallions' attack takes aim at stout Al Ain Desert Foxes defence
After just one game, the Dubai Stallions offence already appears well ahead of schedule.
Though the results didn’t bear it out in the Emirates American Football League’s (EAFL)opening weekend, the Stallions impressed with their ability to move the ball, especially through the air.
If not for a goal-line stand by the Al Ain Desert Foxes, the Stallions would have scored on Johnny Sharp’s impenetrable defence and perhaps pulled out a win.
The Stallions get another crack at the defending champions when the teams meet at Zayed Sports City in Abu Dhabi tomorrow (Friday) in a battle of top units on each side of the ball.
For the Stallions, quarterback Matt Duncan turned heads with his ability to sling the ball in the opener and despite suffering a dislocated finger towards the end of the contest, he’ll again be under centre tomorrow.
“Across the board, of all the three teams, we probably by a wide margin had the most passing yardage,” said Stallions coach Patrick Campos. “Matt throws the ball real well, but we also have Taylor [Avritt] who also runs at quarterback as well as a duel-threat guy.
“People didn’t expect us to throw the ball like that because in our league especially it takes until the middle of the season before you get that rhythm down.”
Avritt was the regular quarterback last season under coach Brett Turek and while Duncan may take more snaps going forward, Campos plans on utilising both players and mixing in different offensive packages at various points in the game.
The Stallions offence will also receive a boost with wide receiver Christian Ridley making his debut for the Dubai side.
After showcasing in his lone appearance with the EAFL Falcons in Ukraine over the offseason, Ridley will provide the Stallions with a playmaker on the outside.
“He will be [on Johnny Sharp’s radar],” Campos said of Ridley, who played at St. Francis Xavier University in Nova Scotia, Canada. “He’ll be even more after this week, I’m sure.”
Sharp, meanwhile, was complimentary when giving his first impressions of the Stallions from last week, saying: “They have a really nice team and I think they’re going to surprise some people.”
But the Desert Foxes coach doesn’t expect any surprises against his stout defence, who he remains confident in to shut down all opponents this season.
“Like I said last week, I’d be really disappointed if someone scored on us,” Sharp stated. “We’re just really big, we’re really strong and fast at all the right positions.”
In the day’s other game, the Abu Dhabi Wildcats will be on the field for the first time as they host the Dubai Barracudas.
Tony Robinson’s men had to forfeit last week after not having enough players to field a team, while the Barracudas got Zavier Cobb’s coaching tenure off to a strong start with a win for the week.
Jay Asser - Sport 360