The region’s only American Football team, the Algarve Pirates, began their 2014 campaign with a hard fought win over the Lisbon Devils on Saturday evening in Mexilhoeira Grande, near Portimão. Both teams wanted to get their season off to a good start and the Defensive play was strong and hard fought and at half time the game was still tied at 0-0, testament to the strength of both teams’ Defensive play. There were chances to score for both teams, but some excellent tackling and unnecessary penalties meant neither side troubled the scorers for the first 30 minutes of play.
In the second half the Pirates Defense maintained their pressure and gave the Offense good field position from which Quarterback Jorge Mendes threw an excellent 35 yard pass which was gathered by receiver Daniel Almeida, who then evaded two tackles to run the remaining 25 yards for the only Touchdown of the game. The extra point was added and the Pirates led 7-0, which was the final score, despite a field goal attempt for the Pirates, which narrowly missed the left upright and a strong fight back in the 4th quarter by the Devils which required the Pirates’ Defense to repel the visitors once more.
Offensive Coordinator Pedro Viana, who is acting Head Coach, as Pirates’ Head Coach Don Dixon is currently in America, hailed the result as a perfect start to the Pirates’ season. “Of course it would be good to score more points, but the important things to take from the game were that the Defense held strong for the entire game and when an opportunity came to score, we were able to make the play to do it.”
The Pirates would also like to thank the supporters that came along to watch the game. Pedro Viana said on behalf of the team, “Thank you to all those who came and gave their support. It helps the team so much and in the 4th quarter when bodies were getting tired and Defense was needed, the chanting and support from the crowd really lifted our energy levels. Thank you to all who came to support the Pirates – you made a great difference to the team.”
The Pirates now travel to Spain for their first away game of the season against the Santiago Black Ravens on the 26th January, with their next home game in Mexilhoeira Grande against the Porto Mutts on the 9th February at noon.
With the Black Ravens losing heavily in their opening game and the Pirates confidence high after a hard fought win, this could be an historic start to the second season for the region’s representatives in the Portuguese League. Coach Viana is cautiously optimistic, “we have a very good spirit, good players, good staff and a good start, but there is still la lot to do to get ready for the next game. We start again on Tuesday when we look at what we did well and what we need to improve – and then we take this on the road.”
For more information about the Algarve Pirates you can visit their new website www.algarve-pirates.com, find them on Facebook or go along to a practice on Tuesday and Thursday evenings in Mexilhoeira Grande.
New players are always welcome and the Pirates would also be delighted to hear from any potential sponsors as to how they can help promote your business as they travel the country this season.
PIRATES ON THREE … 1-2-3 …