Great times, hard times
Available in:Uroš Valant
For Silverhawks the Novi Sad Dukes were always their biggest nemesis. In their six encounters it was always the home team which ran away with the victory. There were blowouts and many heartbreaking close games. The Silverhawks victory in 2006 with a missed Dukes free kick at the end of the game. The Dukes victory in 2009 with a touchdown late in 4th quarter… An interesting rivalry evolved from these games with a mutual respect by both opponents.
This year both teams lost their openers and it was a good opportunity now to redeem themselves. Dukes arrived to Ljubljana with a depleted roster, but they were still poised to battle a close game and claw for every yard. One thing the Silverhawks learned the hard way was to never underestimate the Dukes.
The hosts were finally able to bring a better defensive line to the game and with their American imports they were ready to keep the victory at home.
The attendance was not that good since there was a national clean-up action taking place all over Slovenia, but the most loyal Silverhawks fans managed to show up.
The game started well for the Hawks. In their first possession, running back Jordan Capitanio managed to run 12 yards for a score and Silverhawks never looked back from there.
The Dukes had a lot of problems with their special teams. Long snapper overshoot the punter twice in the first half and both mistakes resulted in safety. Milan Narat also hit a field goal, so it was 14:0 in the second quarter when the Dukes lost another vital offensive player. After a ferocious tackle by Peter Namorš, the Novi Sad running back Marko Mareš remained on the ground with a huge gash on his neck. Luckily, the cut was not very deep but Mareš was seriously shaken and held out of the game with a possible concussion. The task of ball carrier then fell on young shoulders of Mario Šapurić who fought bravely, but was never able to endanger the home endzone.
The Dukes then reverted to their passing game but it was David Turšič who scored on the pass when we intercepted and returned a pass for a touchdown. This sealed the halftime score at 21:0.
The Dukes’ defense was still able to stop the run in the first half by stacking eight defenders in the box, but in the second half, the Silverhawks started breaking through the defensive perimeter. First it was Capitanio who passed to Rok Stamcar on a fake sweep. The he ran for another score, while his second running TD run was nullified due to a holding call.
The last score was achieved by Miloš Vrhovec pass to Jernej Pavlič who kept possession of the ball after a juggling act in the endzone. Miloš Vrhovec was not very accurate on his passes since he was playing with a badly sprained wrist, but had no interceptions.
The Silverhawks defense was able to hold the Dukes’ in check and they were not able to really drive the ball. Their offense sputtered all day long and was completely shut down.
The final score 48-0 tells the whole story of this afternoon, but both teams will meet again on FK Kabel field in May, the field where Silverhawks suffered two of their most humiliating defeats. They will try to achieve their first away victory against Novi Sad, while the Dukes will try to make sure their house remains intact.