Sunday, June 25, 2023
HomePreviewNext up - quarterfinals

Next up – quarterfinals

Sportklub CEFL Championship revs on this Saturday with four games of Round 2 on the schedule. Seeded teams, which are joining the fray just now, will host the first round winners. Two games are played in Italy, and one each in France and Germany. Winners from this round will meet in the semifinals and the matchups are yet to be decided. On top of that, a second CEFL Cup finalist will be promoted at a game in Hungary on Saturday as well.

CEFL Championship, Round 2
Saturday, 13 May, 14:00 CET
E-R Parma Panthers — Belgrade SBB Vukovi
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Opening the daily program is a game in Parma, where E-R Panthers will greet Belgrade SBB Vukovi. This will be the first test for the home team after playing in the CEFL Bowl XVI last season. Meanwhile, SBB Vukovi have gotten here by beating Budapest Wolves three weeks ago.

These two teams’ paths have almost crossed last season. Back then, SBB Vukovi have hosted Vienna Danube Dragons for the right to visit Parma. The Viennese team has triumphed in Belgrade, only to be dispatched by E-R Panthers in the second round. Then the Italians also had to prevail on the road at Calanda Broncos for the right to appear in the big game.

Both teams have a loss each in their national leagues. E-R Panthers’ have come as a surprise in the first week of the IFL season. This has sounded the alarm bells and they were on a roll since then, all but placing in the Italian semifinals. SBB Vukovi will have another shot at the national top spot before the playoffs after a rematch against the rivaling Kragujevac Wild Boars, which beat them by a touchdown in their first bout.

Next to their homegrown quarterback, Tommaso Monardi, the home team has a choice of an import signal caller, Anthony Paoletti. They will be aided in the backfield by the workhorse running back Ryan Minniti and in the passing game by wide receiver Dario Zatti.

The Serbian team is led by Joshua Cartwright, who tallied five scores against the Wolves, three passing and two rushing. On the receiving end of two of those touchdowns was an import wide receiver Nolan Corpening, while Aleksandar Mlađen added two over the ground.


CEFL Championship, Round 2
Saturday, 13 May, 15:00 CET
Flash de La Courneuve — LG OLED Las Rozas Black Demons
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The first home game for the Flash de La Courneuve in the CEFL Championship is the product of their strong outing last season. Reigning French champion will host new Spanish league winners, LG OLED Las Rozas Black Demons, who have prevailed against Madrid Osos Rivas recently.

The Flash started last season’s CEFL Championship besting the Spanish champion at that time, Badalona Dracs, on the road. They stayed country-bound next and triumphed against their domestic foe, the Black Panthers, to finally lose at the Unicorns in the semifinals. On the other end, the Black Demons ended their 2022 participation in Thonon in the first round.

French national championship is going great so far for the Flash. They have 8 wins and no losses though they have tied a game they played against the Black Panthers. Their Saturday’s opponents have finished the job two weeks ago, making history by raising the Spanish national trophy for the first time.

Domestic quarterbacks, Badis Grami and Léo Cremades will lead the home team’s offense. They have plenty of targets to choose from and a stable of halfbacks to pick up the slack. Helping with the pass rush are two import defensive linemen, Brandon Penerton and Zachery Curry.

Visiting team’s Canadian quarterback, Theo Landers has already been tried by fire this season. In the Spanish finals, doubling as the first round of the CEFL Championship, he connected twice with Jorge Garcia Vargas for touchdowns and posted a 2 pointer on a conversion.


CEFL Championship, Round 2
Saturday, 13 May, 16:00 CET
Otel Guelfi Florence — Thonon Black Panthers
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On Saturday, the birthplace of the Renaissance, Florence, will deliver the next semifinalist of the CEFL Championship. A newbee to CEFL, and the Italian champion, Otel Guelfi is welcoming an established presence, French vice-champion Thonon Black Panthers.

The team from Tuscany has shocked the football world last season by beating Milan Seamen in the finals, winning with it the seeded spot in the CEFL Championship. French visitors have first won against the Black Demons last season, to be sent off by the Flash in the second round. This season they’ve met with Calanda Broncos in the first round and outlasted them by three points.

Otel Guelfi are sitting atop the Italian national league currently, with a 6-1 score and only one game to play in the regular season. Their single L has come by the hands of E-R Parma Panthers. Their opponents are also at the summit of their conference in the French championship. They haven’t tasted defeat this season with only a tie versus the Flash tarnishing their perfect record.

Carrying three import players on their roster, the home team will need to choose two between dual-threat quarterback Jared Gerbino, and defensive backs Dejion Lynch and Jacob O’Connell. Team’s leading offensive options are running back Cosimo Casati and receiver Dayan Almeida.

The visiting team posted almost 400 yards of offense in the first outing in Calanda. Their field captain, American José Tabora scored 4 touchdowns that time, 1 over the ground. Running back Nicolas Khandar and import tight end Jack Pilkerton are some of his most dependable assistants.


CEFL Championship, Round 2
Saturday, 13 May, 16:00 CET
Schwäbisch Hall Unicorns — Stockholm Mean Machines
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In the last event of the day, returning champions, Schwäbisch Hall Unicorns, will play host to the winners of the Scandinavian derby from the first round, Stockholm Mean Machines. Incredibly, both teams have captured their national leagues by staying unbeaten during last season.

The Unicorns are looking for a three-peat after winning the past two CEFL Bowls. In 2021 they have bested Tirol Swarco Raiders in a cliffhanger. Last season, they first dispatched the then Swedish champion, Örebro Black Knights, then had a harder time against the Flash in the semis, and finally downed E-R Parma Panthers. CEFL newcomers, the Mean Machines have had a great start surviving the test versus the Finnish champion, Kuopio Steelers.

This will be the first trial of the season for the Unicorns, their national season starting next week. While they’ve been preparing, the Mean Machines have already ratcheted up a 2-0 score in the Swedish league. After knocking off the Steelers too, they’re hoping that their three successful showings have geared up the team enough to surprise the CEFL champion.

With the GFL yet to begin, the home team is venturing into the unknown with two domestic quarterbacks, Ian Gehrke and Jonas Lohmann. They will look to an American wide receiver, Caleb Schweigart. His compatriot, cornerback Monteze Latimore will lead the secondary.

Mean Machines’ offensive chief, American Mark Pappas threw for two touchdowns in the first round as well as a deuce on a conversion. He will keep import wide receiver Matthew Retzlaff in his sight, while Carlos Holmqvist and Lukas Männistö Sjöström will push from the backfield.


CEFL Cup, Semifinal 2
Saturday, 13 May, 15:00 CET
Budapest Wolves — Bucharest Rebels
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The second semifinal of the CEFL Cup is also scheduled for Saturday. Budapest Wolves will receive Bucharest Rebels for a chance to punch the ticket to the finals. Kragujevac Wild Boars are already awaiting them there and the big date is set for 3 June.

In 2022 the Wolves have bowed down in the second round of the CEFL Championship to Calanda Broncos. This season they’ve taken part in the same competition again, relocating to the CEFL Cup after losing to SBB Vukovi. Belgraders have also ousted Bucharest Rebels from the CEFL Cup in 2019, which was their initial season in the tournament.

As last season’s runners-up of the Hungarian league, the home team is firing on all cylinders this year. They’ve recorded 3 victories from as many national league matchups, scoring close to 50 points per game and allowing only 6 overall. Rumanian team is the champion of the domestic league, which is taking place in the fall. This spring they’re playing in the Serbian championship, totaling two wins there so far.

The Wolves are confident in their domestic quarterback, Bencsics Márk. He tossed four passing scores in Belgrade and his most trusted receivers were Varga Péter and Czirók Márton, hauling in two each. Running back Gombos Dávid added a touchdown and a conversion over the ground.

The leader of the Rebels’ offense is quarterback Christopher Howard. He will focus on wide receivers Christopher Herring and Tomas Kolbeinsson, while running back Sigurd Guarino will plow the field. A selection of Serbian internationals will add their output in the defense as well.


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