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Belgrade wins to open the season

The Belgrade Wolves won their first game on the opening day of SELAF play. In front of 2,000 spectators, they beat the Ljubljana Silverhawks, thanks to their solid play on both offense and defense, but also a good team spirit which kept them in the game even when the away team made a serious threat at their lead.

David Turšič, the Silverhawks quarterback who also plays safety and returns kicks, almost returned the opening kickoff for a touchdown, but was stopped inside the home team`s 10-yard line. Still, his team failed to score when, after three unsuccessful running plays, Damjan Prešeren missed a field goal from 25 yards. The Wolves answered with a touchdown on their first drive. The drive was, like most of the evening, powered by strong plays from their running backs and was capped by an excellent pass from QB Andrej Tasić to Ivan Nedeljković down the middle of the field.

After another stalled Silverhawks drive, the Wolves kept gaining yards with their running game, mostly with RB Lazar Nikolić. The drive ended with a touchdown run by Andrej Tasić from the one yard line. In the second quarter the Silverhawks were, for the first time, able to produce something on offense, but they were unable to score so the half ended with a 14-0 lead for the home team.

The Silverhawks finally made a play on defense when Turšič intercepted a pass in his team`s end zone, and got the ball on the Wolves` 15-yard line. What followed was a series of mistakes from both teams, but mostly from the Wolves. The Silverhawks at first failed to score, but eventually did after they recovered a fumble and then scored on a fourth down run by Turšič. Things were quickly becoming worse for the Wolves when Tasić fumbled the ball and it was recovered by Denis Pečar on the 9-yard line. Immediately upon starting the fourth quarter Turšič scored again, this time on a sneak and the game was tied.

Unfortunately for Turšič and his team that`s as far as they got – the Wolves stopped fumbling on their half and they later scored when RB Marko Vujačić got to the end zone, in another drive that was mostly dominated by Lazar Nikolić`s strong running.

The end of the game lacked suspense – Andrej Tasić redeemed himself for the third quarter mistake that led to Silverhawks` second score when he escaped several Ljubljana players and scored on a dazzling 20-yard run. With a missed extra point the score was 27-14. Another failed fourth down attempt from the Ljubljana side was punished on the Wolves` very first play. Tasić found a wide open tight end Aleksandar Anđelković, who took the ball to the end zone for a 28-yard touchdown and the final score, 34-14.

Wolves` coach Igor Hoffmann was pleased to get a win: “There was a lot of tension with the players, so I expected a hard game. The Silverhawks are a serious, tough team and their experience, unlike ours, shows. I don`t know what happened in the second half, but on the other hand we can`t be expected to run over the opposing teams.”

For many the player of the game, Andrej Tasić, thinks his team can do even better. “I`m not entirely satisfied. We had some problems, there was a lot of tension. I expect us to get better once we get into a rhythm of playing regularly,” said Tasić. His teammate, defensive player Svetlan Spasić, said the defense was excellent. “The first half was really good, especially on defense. In the second half they scored twice, but it`s hard to play when you`re inside your own 10-yard line all the time, and always on the field. In the end we realized we can still beat them, and it means a lot to us.”

David Turšič, the Silverhawks` best player and captain, was not disappointed. “It was a tough game. We had a lot of new players, a lot of guys playing their first game. I can say that I`m satisfied with the effort we gave,” said Turšič. “We`re waiting for them in Ljubljana.”


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