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Monarchs take WLAF crown

The London Monarchs carried their coach off the field Sunday after they won the first championship of the World League of American Football. Then their coach got carried away.

"Champions of the world, baby. That's what it's all about," coach Larry Kennan said after the 21-0 victory over Barcelona.

The New York Giants might contest that statement. So, probably, would the 27 other NFL teams.

But nobody could blame Kennan for his enthuiasm after the Monarchs, who dominated the WLAF regular season, dominated its first title game.

The heroes were Stan Gelbaugh, who completed 18 of 25 passes for 191 yards and threw two touchdowns, and Dan Crossman, who was named MVP after three interceptions, one of which he returned for a touchdown.

"I haven't been an MVP in a game since high school," said Crossman.

By winning the World Bowl trophy on their home field at Wembley Stadium before a crowd of 61,108, the Monarchs also avenged their only regular-season defeat. They took a 21-0 lead at halftime, then stifled a series of second-half threats by Barcelona behind a defense that forced six turnovers.

Gelbaugh, the league's offensive player of the year, threw a 59-yard touchdown pass to John Horton on the final play of the first quarter. Two minutes and 42 seconds later, Crossman picked off a Scott Erney pass in the flat and returned it 20 yards for the second score.

"I don't think Erney saw me," Crossman said.

"I thought we had a completion, but Crossman got up inside and was there to make the play," said Erney, who strained his right knee and gave way in the second half to Tony Rice.

The third touchdown came with 47 seconds left in the half on a 14-yard pass from Gelbaugh to running back John Garrett after a 55-yard drive set up by another Crossman interception.

That was more than enough in a game where the Dragons were statistically dominant.

"We beat them on the stat sheet, first downs, you name it, everywhere but the scoreboard," said Barcelona wide receiver Gene Taylor.

"When you get the ball inside the 20 five different times and don't score, you aren't going to win many games," said Barcelona running back Jim Bell. "That was the story today."