Dubai Barracudas hammer Abu Dhabi Wildcats in one-sided EAFL clash
While one star running back was missing in action, another broke out on the scene in a dominant, one-sided affair.
The rematch of the season opener once again featured an Abu Dhabi Wildcats team at less than full strength with the absence of playmaker Vivaldi Tulysse for a second time, but the Dubai Barracudas’ Luke Norrey stole the show in the 40-0 victory.
The running back introduced himself with a monster performance which included a highlight 60-yard touchdown dash en route to eclipsing the century mark yesterday at The Sevens.
Norrey’s 34-yard run on the Barracudas’ first drive also set up his team’s opening score and they never looked back.
After playing wide receiver in his first season in the EAFL last year – also his first playing American football – Norrey made the switch to the backfield and put his big-play potential on display in just his third game, though he was quick to credit the players blocking for him.
“I was just following my offensive line. They were opening up big holes for me,” Norrey said. Barracudas coach Kyle Jordan said of his new weapon. “That’s a position that can take some time to learn so he’s getting used to it. He’s starting to be a little patient, finding his holes and following his blockers. His vision is getting better as well.”
Norrey may have shined the brightest, but he was one of several Barracudas players who did well. Quarterback Zavier Cobb accounted for three touchdowns, first finding Suliman Gaouda on a 5-yard slant for the game’s initial score.
He then added a 10-yard rushing touchdown on a fake jet sweep before connecting on a 25-yard pass to Daniel Viranyi in the final period to pour salt on the Wildcats’ wounds.
The striking ability of the offence, coupled with the shutout pitched by the defence, made Jordan as pleased as he’s ever been following a regular season victory.
“I told the team I felt like we played consistently good football for four quarters and that’s the first time we’ve done that as an organisation now in my fourth season,” Jordan said. Abu Dhabi were behind the eight ball from the start with three fumbles – two lost – on botched handoffs or tosses in their first four drives.
The offence, which was designed with Tulysse in mind with read options, never got going. Wildcats coach Tony Robinson said: “It was kind of one those things where you hope for the best but prepare for the worst and this of course was the worst.”
JAY ASSER - SPORT360