Barracudas Keen to avenge Desert Bowl Defeat
The Barracudas get another shot to avenge their Desert Bowl defeat at the hands of the Stallions when the Dubai rivalry renews in the Emirates American Football League this weekend.
Though they’ve been the clear frontrunners this season by outscoring opponents to the lopsided tune of 91-6, the Barracudas have still yet to conquer their cross-city foes who ended their title hopes in last year’s Desert Bowl.
The first meeting between the two sides ended in a 6-6 tie in December, but featured teams at less than full-strength with key players missing, including quarterback Zavier Cobb for the Barracudas, who will be back under centre at Zayed Sports City on Friday.
The league leaders have since gone on to resoundingly beat the Abu Dhabi Wildcats 40-0 and the Al Ain Desert Foxes 30-0. Barracudas coach Kyle Jordan feels they’ve come a long way since the December matchup with the Stallions.
“I don’t think we can look at that,” Jordan said of the first encounter. “I think this weekend’s game will be more indicative of what both teams will look like heading into the postseason.
“I feel like we’re definitely playing a lot better football than we have in a while, in a long time, maybe ever as a team.
“A lot of that has to do with our confidence and players starting to understand what they’re supposed to be doing. Everyone is feeding off the momentum we have.”
For the Stallions, they’re coming off a 16-6 victory over bottom-placed Al Ain which had its fair share of concerns, namely holding on the ball.
Dubai turned the ball over five times – three interceptions and two fumbles – and became the first victims of a Desert Foxes score this season when they allowed an 85-yard touchdown pass in the fourth quarter.
Stallions coach Anthony Daniels knows his squad won’t get away with those mistakes against a much better team, as was the case in the December contest when the Barracudas scored their only points after forcing a fumble.
“If we give the Barracudas the ball, especially in short-yardage situations, they’ll be able to take care of it. So we have to take care of the ball,” Daniels said.
“My team is defence oriented, so I have to make sure I’m not putting my defence in bad situations throughout the game.
“It’s hard for any team to have a sustained drive on my defence.
“So if I can keep them in bad field position, or at least past midfield, I feel pretty good about our chances.”
The Stallions are expected to keep going with William Robinson at quarterback with starter Rani Zahr out indefinitely to a knee injury.
JAY ASSER - SPORT360