American football: Kitna provides fire for Dragons
Barcelona 38 Rhein Fire 24
Monday 23 June 1997
Kitna shredded the Rhein Fire defense through the air and scored nearly at will, particularly in the first half. The Rhein Fire quarterback T J Rubley - allocated from the Denver Broncos - scored twice on runs but was pressured constantly on the pass by the Dragons' defense.
The Rhein Fire won seven and lost three in the regular season to lead the WLAF, while Barcelona won five and lost five and qualified by winning the first half of the season with four wins out of five.
Kitna, likely to be the No 3 this season with the Seattle Seahawks, hit 12 of 16 passes in the first half for 213 yards with two touchdowns and one interception.
The Rhein Fire went ahead on the first possession of the game with a 31-yard field goal with four minutes gone by former German soccer international Manfred Burgsmuller. The Dragons replied on their first possession with a 13-yard run on a draw play by Wilburn to make it 7-3 with 8min 26sec left in the first quarter.
Barcelona made it 14-3 with 3:55 still left in the first quarter when Carlos Brooks picked off Rubley's pass and returned it 16 yards for a score. It was Brooks' seventh interception of the season to lead the World League.
Rubley got the Rhein Fire back into the game with a three-yard run just a minute into the second quarter to narrow the lead to 14-10. But the Dragons struck again just minutes later - three minutes into the second quarter - when Mexican Marcos Martos caught a 66-yard touchdown pass from Kitna to increase the lead to 21-10. It was Martos's fourth touchdown catch of the season.
With six minutes left in the first half, Kitna connected with Alfonzo Browning on a 39-yard pass for another touchdown, but Rubley got his second rushing touchdown with 1:47 left in the first half on a one-yard run to make it 28-17.
Wilburn scored his second touchdown in the final minutes of the third quarter on a four-yard run off a draw play. The Rhein Fire's Sean Foster caught a 22-yard touchdown pass early in the fourth quarter to cut the lead again to 35-24, but Jesus Angoy, a former Barcelona FC goalkeeper, made it 38-24 for the Dragons with a 35-yard field goal five minutes into the final quarter.
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