A lot is at stake for the Dubai Stallions when they take on the Abu Dhabi Wildcats in what is essentially a top-of-the-table clash in the Emirates American Football League (EAFL) at Jebel Ali Centre of Excellence this Saturday.
With last Saturday's rainy win against the Dubai Barracudas, the Dubai Stallions have moved to within striking distance of first place in the EAFL standings and Game 11 promises to be the most important game of the year for both teams.
A win for Abu Dhabi Wildcats will secure them the first place and a semi-final game against the Desert Foxes (4th). A loss would mean a tie for first place, giving the top spot to the Stallions - the team with the better point for/against record.
The Stallions (2nd) will host the Wildcats (1st) in what could also end up being a preview of the Desert Bowl. In an odd twist at Game 5, the Stallions forfeited the game meaning that these two outstanding teams have not faced each other in regular season play.
Stallions Head Coach Andre Sommersell told XPRESS: “We did not have anough players for that game. It was early on in the season and we didn’t want the players to get hurt. So, for the best inyerest of the team, we decided to forfeit that game.
“We have to prove ourselves now that we are meeting them again. The Wildcats must have thought we were weak to pull out. I know they have won all their games so far, so the onus is on us to prove ourselves. My team is not scared of anyone.”
Wildcats Head coach Charles Gillespie quite understandably oozed confidence ahead of the crucial match. “We are looking forward to it for sure, although for us it is just another football game. We are the best side in the league and the onus is on them to win the match. We are ready to put our best foot forward,” he said.
The match will see a battle of the quarterbacks Chris Wentzel (Stallions) and Vivaldi Tulysse (Wildcats). Both are strong and athletic with good arms and are not afraid to run for the first down. The Wildcats’ multi-thread offense is top in the EAFL, while the Stallions defense has only given up 6 points all season.