Two evenly-matched teams have met on Sunday to decide the last second-round participant of the CEFL Championship. Calanda Broncos have played host to Thonon Black Panthers in a game where both teams have scored 5 touchdowns each. After a lot of excitement, it turned out that the decider was a field goal that came in the second period.
The Black Panthers have orchestrated a long drive to open the game. After a muffed ball had dropped to the ground, José Tabora picked it up and engaged Félix Durand for an 8 yard touchdown, 0-7.
Launching a quick offense, John Uribe tied the score passing to Adrian Sünderhauf, who got behind the secondary on a skinny post route for a 32-yarder, 7-7.
The visitors continued where they left off and rapidly got near the goal line. Then, on a quarterback sneak, a fumble ensued and the ball was again in Swiss team’s hands. After a 98 yard drive, they took the lead by Marco Mahrer running for the goal line score of 14-7.
Trying to answer, the Black Panthers were stopped in the opposing red zone one more time. Still, they were close enough for Kevin Dessaux to boot a 34 yard field goal and lower the difference to 14-10.
Following a big kick return by Broncos’ Maxwell Gray, the ball was in the visiting team’s territory. Uribe went through the air when Adel Bafdile picked him off and returned the ball to opponent’s 23 yard line. On a fake sweep, Nicolas Khandar weaved through the defense for an 18 yard touchdown, 14-17.
Their defense gelled as well and the home team had to punt. French team’s offense took advantage by Tabora launching a pass to Pierre-Yves Dayres on a 43 yard post route for a touchdown to up the score to 14-24.
With 43 seconds left in the first half, the home team was unflappable. Uribe located Sünderhauf, who had a clear line to the goal line after his defender stretched to get to the ball first and fell short. The whole drive took only 21 seconds and the half time score was 21-24.
The Broncos had the ball after the break. Passing offense brought them ever closer to the goal line where Uribe tossed it to Gray for a 4 yard touchdown and another team lead, 28-24.
Not to be upstaged, Tabora lobbed a rainbow pass to Dayres to extend the drive. Then he took to the ground and ran for a 2 yard touchdown himself for 28-31.
On the ensuing offensive series, Uribe passed into the end zone, when his intended receiver dropped the ball as he got hit and defensive back Paul Pellet intercepted it.
His team’s attacking unit mounted a long drive and finally, Tabora propelled a spiral to his tight end, Jack Pilkerton who corralled the ball with a one arm grab for an 11 yard touchdown, 28-38.
Hurrying to catch up, the Broncos opted for a little trickery. Uribe linked up with Sünderhauf on a flea flicker for a huge gain. Then he went to Gray again for a 15 yard touchdown and the final score, 35-38.
On-side kick with a tick after the two minute mark was recovered by the French team. By that time the hosts had spent all their time outs and the game ended in kneel-downs.
The Black Panthers continue their CEFL Championship expedition with a game in Florence. They’ll be welcomed by newcomers to CEFL, Italian champions Otel Guelfi, and the game is set for 13 May.