Two of the China Arena Football League top teams, the Shenzhen Naja and the Shanghai Skywalkers, battled to get their second win on Saturday morning at the Qingdao Sports Center. In one of the highest scoring games of the CAFL season, Shanghai finally broke out of their shell and proved they are a forced to be reckoned with. Shanghai was looking to get off to a quick start, as they’ve gotten off to slow starts in their first two games.
They were able to avoid a slow start when they got the first points of the game on the board. Quarterback Shane Austin connected with Mike Washington for a touchdown to put Shanghai up 7-0. The Naja responded when quarterback Dak Britt found Tristan Purifoy for a touchdown to tie the game at seven apiece. The teams only managed to score one touchdown in the first quarter, as the score was 7-7 at the end of the first.
The Skywalkers took the lead back when Austin hooked up with Shaun Kauleinamoku, who broke multiple tackles and stretched the ball across the goal line for a Shanghai touchdown. The Naja answered Shanghai when Britt scored his fourth rushing touchdown of the season, tying the game at 14.
Shenzhen tried to swing the momentum when they attempted an onside kick, but it failed after the Skywalkers recovered it. On 4th and goal, the Austin-Kauleinamoku combination worked again as “SK” caught his second touchdown of the game to put Shanghai up 21-14.
After Shenzhen failed to convert on 4th down, the Skywalkers took advantage of the turnover on downs. Austin threw his fourth touchdown pass of the first half when he found Washington for another touchdown to give Shanghai the 28-14 lead. Shenzhen made CAFL history on the next play, as LaChristopher Lee returned a kickoff for a touchdown to cut Shanghai’s lead in half. The teams would trade touchdowns, which meant the Skywalkers held the 35-27 edge at halftime.
After Austin connected with Kauleinamoku for another touchdown, Shanghai led Shenzhen 42-33 after the third quarter. Kauleinamoku struck once again with 13 minutes left as his fourth touchdown of the game put Shanghai up 49-33. Dak Britt brought the Naja within one possession after he scored on a rushing touchdown and a two-point conversion to make it 49-41. The Skywalkers were fortunate to keep the ball in two separate instances after kickoffs could’ve given the Naja the ball back.
Dwayne Hollis touched the ball on a line drive, which put Shanghai at the one yard line. Then, the next kickoff hit the crossbar, but it went out of bounds before anyone could touch it. Shanghai put the game away with 11 seconds left when Austin threw to Washington for another touchdown to give Shanghai the 61-48 lead.
That would be the final score, as Shanghai (2-1) won their second straight game, while Shenzhen (1-2) has lost two consecutive games. In Super Series IV, Shenzhen will battle the Guangzhou Power, while the Skywalkers will play the Qingdao Clipper.