The Vukovi’s field in Belgrade remains a house of horrors for the Budapest Wolves, as they lost there for the third time in three games during the last two year. The Wolves’ season is over, and the Vukovi move on to play in their third straight final, which undoubtedly makes them the most successful CEFL team to date.
Despite the turnovers and stalled drives, the Vukovi outplayed -- barely, but enough -- their opponent in all three parts of the game: offense, defense, and special teams, and the impressive opening drive by the Wolves turned out to be a mirage. They failed to reach the end zone again, and when they needed a score, the Vukovi’s defense shut their offense down intercepting three passes -- once by Igor Nedeljković and twice by Ivan Ristić.
The Vukovi’s defense kept the lead intact, but it was the offense and the special teams that turned the score around, after the Wolves got the lead on a 46 yard pass from Attila Lendvai to Csanad Kiraly. The first few drives were indicating a different outcome -- the Vukovi missed a field goal and fumbled the ball deep in the opponent’s half, but mid-second quarter, they caught a lucky break.
New receiver Igor Vukoje was left all alone and forgotten in the middle of the field, and nobody was able to catch up to him on his way to the end zone. With the game tied at halftime, the Vukovi took the lead for good on the first play of the second quarter. Vukoje proved to be a smart pickup for the team with his second score of the game, returning the opening kickoff of the second half for a touchdown.
A gritty, sloppy played game, prevented both teams to score more, mostly on the part of the Vukovi. Fumbled handoffs, another missed field goal, and a punt return touchdown that went back because of a penalty didn’t help them close out the game. Though it was only the start of the fourth quarter, it could be said the game was over when Petković passed to another newcomer receiver, Bratislav Bošnjak.
The touchdown came after Lendvai was intercepted the first time, but soon the second one came. Backup Bencsics made some plays and moved the Wolves inside the ten yard line, but even he was picked off. When that third pick came, it was officially game over for the Wolves.
That this time they didn’t lose a game they almost had won is probably of little importance to the Wolves, whose season ended with a defeat in Belgrade for the second time in a row.
The Vukovi have a chance to forget the disappointing loss in the Serbian league final, and repeat as CEFL champs -- now, they only have to wait to see who they’ll play. What’s certain is, their chances are no worse than last year.