Giants run to the CEFL Cup finals

Photo: Ivan Miladinovic

Belgrade SBB Vukovi have played host to Bolzano Giants in the semifinals of CEFL Cup. The contest was close in the first half, but home team’s mistakes in the second cost them. Giants’ running back William Petrone dominated the affair with four touchdowns.

SBB Vukovi opened the game with Joseph Ferguson rushing for a couple of first downs. This set up the pass from Levi Plante to Nikola Simović for a touchdown, 6-0.

Giants take over and William Petrone rushes for big yards. David Gahafer quickly tosses the ball to Marco Bonacci on a slant route, but the defense forces a fumble and Ivan Nedeljković recovers.

SBB Vukovi are on the offense again and Ferguson carries the rock to midfield. Plante moves the chains and his team is on the edge of the red zone but they can’t convert on 4th down.

In the next offensive series Gahafer connects with Vladimir Pogo twice and the ball is on the 10 yard line. A pass to Joshua Cox caps off the drive and the visitors take the lead, 6-7.

Second quarter sees SBB Vukovi’s RB Ferguson sprinting down the right sideline to the 12 yard line. Plante hits Miloš Kolibar in the end zone and then rolls out to the left pylon for the 2 point coversion, 14-7.

Giants return the ensuing kickoff to half field. Gahafer locates Pogo on a deep post and Petrone pierces 10 yards through the middle to level up, 14-14.

When SBB Vukovi get the ball back, Plante flips a screen pass to Ferguson who takes it all the way for a 60 yard touchdown. Two point conversion is unsuccessful and the score is 20-14.

Visiting team’s next drive is a chance for Petrone to shine again with a 15 yard run through the middle and a couple more first downs. Nicolo Gallina escapes his defender and grabs a 5 yard pass for a touchdown. Gahafer finds Dominik Bundshuh in the corner for the conversion, 20-22.

Second half starts with a long-distance kickoff return by Gallina, who breaks three tackles and gains 75 yards. Giants’ offense has a short field to work with and Petrone punches through the defense for another score, 20-28.

Home team gains big yardage when Ferguson rushes for another 25. Then Alex Ferrari strips the ball from Plante’s hands and recovers. Italian team’s offensive unit takes the field but they have to punt after a three & out.

Belgraders try once more but their short runs go nowhere, so they gamble on fourth down with Ferguson and lose.

Petrone steps up big for his team, rumbling through the middle. His team is stopped at the 10 yard line and opts for the field goal but the overhead snap forces them to turn over the ball.

In the beginning of the fourth quarter SBB Vukovi try to covert the fourth down agian, this time on their own side of the field. Ferguson gets a screen pass but is promptly brought down. Everything goes south for the home team from that point.

Giants start their attack on the rival’s 34 yard line. Passes to Cox and Bonacci extend the drive and Petrone ploughs through. He finally crosses the goal line with a 3 yards push for 20-35.

Plante moves SBB Vukovi’s offense over the ground but an errant snap forces the team to give up 30 yards. With nothing to lose at this point, they go for another 4th down from their own half field. Plante scrambles but the defense catches up.

Giants get the ball on the opposing 24 yard line and Gahafer’s sprint is a few inches shy of the end zone. Petrone takes it in and the score is 20-42.

SBB Vukovi have the last word when Ferguson moves downfield and Plante connects with Tiodor Grujović for a 27 yard touchdown and the final score of 27-42.

With this win Giants are the first team to advance to the final game of CEFL Cup. In the second semifinal game, which is played next weekend, Istanbul ITÜ Hornets will welcome Moscow Spartans for a chance to join the Giants.