Calanda Broncos welcomed 2018 CEFL Bowl participant and Turkish champion Istanbul Koç Rams to a wet and rainy Ringstrasse stadium on Saturday.
The Rams received the opening kickoff, but a fumble on the game’s opening play gave the Broncos great field position. Broncos QB Conner Manning found WR Lukas Lütscher for a 16-yard touchdown pass and a 7-0 lead.
The Rams took their next drive and moved the ball into Broncos territory, but David Whipple’s next pass was intercepted by Flavio Gisler and the Broncos had forced two turnovers in the game’s first 5 minutes.
This time, the Broncos had further to drive, but they moved the ball quickly down the field and RB Tino Muggwyler scampered in from 13 yards out to push the Broncos lead to 14-0.
The Rams then turned to their American running back, Josh Quezada, who grinded out tough yards and got the Rams into field goal range. A 31 yard field goal put the Rams on the board at 14-3.
After the Broncos’ drive stalled, their defense forced the third turnover of the first quarter. This time Dea Baumann intercepted a tipped pass, giving the Broncos great field position again. A trick play got the Broncos inside the 10-yard line, and Steffen Haenelt rumbled in from the 1 yard line for 21-3.
The Rams committed a fourth turnover when they fumbled the ensuing kickoff inside their own 20 yard line. The Broncos quickly converted it into another touchdown, as Erik Rageth became the third Broncos running back to find the end zone. The first quarter ended with the Broncos holding a commanding 28-3 lead.
The game slowed down a bit in the second quarter, and neither team was able to put points on the board until the 4-minute mark. Then RB Erik Rageth took a handoff, but then tossed a pass to a wide open Lukas Lütscher, 35-3.
Whipple showed off his arm strength with a pair of long passes on the next drive, the second of which was hauled in by Kris Wedderburn for a 35 yard touchdown and the halftime score was 35-9.
The Broncos received the second half kickoff and took the ball down the field in short order, with Manning firing another touchdown pass, this time to Adrian Suenderhauf from 23 yards out, 42-9.
The Rams answered with strong drive of their own, but inside the 10 yard line Dea Baumann forced another fumble and the Broncos were back on the attack. The Rams were able to force a Broncos punt and launched another drive, this time cashing in on another Whipple to Wedderburn pass. A successful 2-pt conversion closed the gap to 42-17.
In the fourth quarter, the Broncos put the finishing touches on the win, with Lütscher hauling in a 14 yard touchdown pass from Manning for 49-17.
Finally, Alex Raich intercepted Whipple’s pass and returned it 33 yards to paydirt for the final score 55-17.
MVP of the game and the winner of the Xenith helmet was Broncos free safety, Dea Baumann, who forced two fumbles that his team recovered and intercepted a pass to go with numerous tackles.
With the win, the Broncos set-up a “win-and-in” scenario on 25 May at home versus Kragujevac Wild Boars, who are currently 1-1 in this tournament. Should the Wild Boars win the game, it would set up a 3-way tie between them, the Broncos, and Wroclaw Panthers.