Thirteenth season of CEFL will come to its apex this weekend with the upcoming finals. The big game is played on Saturday at 19:00 CET, on the Tivoli stadium in Innsbruck. Last season’s champions SWARCO RAIDERS welcome Turkish titleholders Istanbul Koç Rams in CEFL Bowl XIII. A day later CEFL Cup will get its only unbeaten team when Belgrade SBB Vukovi host Gdynia Seahawks.
CEFL Bowl XIII
This season saw two newcomers to CEFL Championship, one each in both conferences. Dominating Czech champions, Prague Black Panthers have joined current owners of CEFL trophy SWARCO RAIDERS and Polish finest, Wroclaw Panthers in the Western Conference. At the same time Russia’s best, Moscow Patriots have landed in the Eastern Conference with two other national champions, last season’s CEFL Bowl finalist, Kragujevac Wild Boars and Istanbul Koç Rams, who are vying for the trophy on Saturday.
The Raiders have prevailed against both opponents in the Western Conference, first conquering Black Panthers in Prague, then overwhelming Wroclaw Panthers at home. Their quarterback Sean Shelton was instrumental in this feat, continuing where he left off last season. This time, he has amassed 629 passing yards, 7 touchdowns and no interceptions, adding 72 yards and 4 scores over the ground. His favorite targets were Patrick Donahue with 224 yards and 3 touchdowns, and Adrian Platzgummer with 100 yards and 2 touchdowns. Running back Tobias Bonatti has contributed with 83 yards and 2 rushing scores.
Rams’ road to the CEFL Bowl XIII was a bit different, although they too have a 2-0 record. First they’ve outlasted the Wild Boars in the opener at home with a 6 point difference, and then crushed the Patriots in Moscow. Quarterback David Whipple has led the team with 481 passing yards, 7 touchdowns and no interceptions, rushing for another 71 yards and 3 scores. Speedy receiver Ja Vontae Hence was good for 194 yards and 3 touchdowns, Ozan Özcan caught 96 yards and one score, while Kaan Özer added another 75 yards and 3 touhdowns. Running back Taha Çokadar also posted 90 yards and 3 touchdowns.
An impressive assortment of 25 teams have played for the booty in the main competition so far, with 6 teams winning a title each and SBB Vukovi collecting as many by themselves. Last season, SWARCO RAIDERS have outplayed Kragujevac Wild Boars for the title they currently hold. This time they’ll try out the best Turkey has to offer and you can see every moment of it live on Raiders TV.
Saturday, 9 June at 19:00 CET
SWARCO RAIDERS – Istanbul Koç Rams
Click here for the live webcast on Raiders TV
CEFL Cup finals
Meanwhile, CEFL Cup has transformed into a regular knockout competition with high-profile members. CEFL mainstay Belgrade SBB Vukovi and Hungarian champions Budapest Cowbells are familiar names. They were joined by Polish powerhouse Gdynia Seahawks and Turkish vice-champion Sakarya Tatankalari who had their CEFL inauguration this past season. Due to large distances between them, cup system was a welcome innovation.
The Seahawks have hosted the Cowbells first, taking turns in scoring unanswered ponts. The Poles were better by a touchdown which was enough for them to advance to the finals. It’s interesting to mention that three players have recorded all of the team’s touchdowns. Quarterback Joseph Bradley has located Paweł Henicz for two touchdowns, while Jan Domagała rushed for two scores.
In the second semifinal well-known to CEFL fans, SBB Vukovi have welcomed Tatankalari, current national vice-champion. The Turks have managed to score a touchdown in each quarter, but they were overrun by SBB Vukovi’s furious tempo. Belgraders’ signal caller Khari Vercher posted 4 passing and 2 rushing toucdowns, while receiver Nikola Simović had a game of a life time with 4 scores.
The germ of CEFL Cup was planted 5 years ago, but the competition sprouted last year, after the league was restructured. The change has followed 2016 season when 12 teams played in three conferences of the main league. Last season, CEFL Cup had 7 contestants and was mostly a developmental competition for regional teams.
CEFL Cup finals will be broadcast live on Sport Klub TV in countries where it is available. For fans in other countries, there will be a live webcast as well.
Sunday, 10 June at 17:00 CET
Belgrade SBB Vukovi – Gdynia Seahawks
Click here for the live webcast