Photo: (c) GMouchet
Western Conference of the Sportklub CEFL Championship was closed on Saturday in Thonon les Bains, where the Black Panthers hosted Milan Seamen. A cold and rainy day was the cause of many miscues by both rivals, but the home team was more adroit under those conditions. The conference was previously won by Swarco Raiders Tirol, who beat both of today’s contestants.
Milan Seamen start off with short passes by their QB, Luke Zahradka. Running back Danilo Bonaparte adds a big chunk of yardage over the ground and his partner in grind, Pietro Stillitano, rushes in for first points, 0-7.
Teams exchange punts in two series each, hobbled by heavy rain. Finally, home team evens the score when Lucas Veluire takes the ball to the house for 39 yards, 7-7.
QB Riccardo Crosta, who stands in for Zahradka, has trouble moving the chains. Seamen punt and the home team takes over on their 20 yard line.
Defensive linemen swamp Black Panthers’ QB Clark Evans and force a fumble. Visiting team’s DL Igor Timotijevi
recovers the ball and they are at it again.
French team’s defense responds in kind when DB Valentin Roesch intercepts Crosta and takes it all the way in for 79 yards, 14-7.
In the second half, Evans comes out swinging, hitting his targets left and right. He connects with Jefferson Alexandre for 18 yards to raise the bar to 21-7.
Crosta answers by running the ball for Seamen, but one of his passes is picked off again, this time by Antony Rodrigues.
Black Panthers advance over Evans and Kasper Wedberg’s runs and try for a 35 yard field goal, but the holder muffs the wet ball.
On their next drive the visitors are reduced to punting, the ball is blocked, and the Black Panthers get it back on the opposing 15 yard line.
Evans puts it to bed with a screen pass to Wedberg who takes is across the goal line, 28-7.
Bonaparte receives the ensuing kickoff and laterals to Antony Sherrils but the ball winds up on the ground and the Black Panthers DB Hugo Frezard recovers it 10 yards away from the goal. Evans punches in for 35-7.
Seamen are on their 21 yard line when Rodrigues blocks a pass by Crosta, who grabs the ball back. Rodrigues strips it from him and Stanley Zeregbe scoops it up and takes it to the end zone for the final score 42-7.
MVP of the game is Black Panthers’ RB Kasper Wedberg, who gets awarded the Xenith helmet for his performance.