Fireworks on display

photo: Wroclaw Panthers

Another week of fireworks in CEFL, as the regular season draws to a close. The game day has started by two games with scores in the 80s and ended with one in the 60s. Participants of both CEFL Bowl XIII and CEFL Cup finals are now known. CEFL will be on a hiatus until June, when two finals will be played.

CEFL Championship Eastern Conference

Season ending game in Moscow was one-sided from the start. Visiting team, Istanbul Koc Rams have established their domination early and never let go. As the minutes passed, Patriots’ hopes of the finals have dwindled and with them, Wild Boars’ too. Both were looking forward to a home team’s win, as the differential of 22+ points led the Patriots to CEFL Bowl XIII and a win by a lesser difference would see the Wild Boars there. Despite that, the Rams shredded their expectations from the outset.

In the three quarters he’s played, Rams’ quarterback David Whipple was virtually unstoppable to Patriots’ defense. He ended the day scoring 6 touchdowns, 4 to three different receivers and 2 over the ground. His targets were Ja Vontae Hence twice, Kaan Özer and Ozan Özcan for a 70 yard long connection. Taha Çokadar and Muhammet Kuru added a rushing score each and Can Demirsoy snagged an interception and returned it for a touchdown.

All three touchdowns by the home team were scored by their signal caller, Igor Chernoluskiy. The first was a rushing one, Patriots’ single score in the first half. The other two were practically mirror images, with him lobbing 40 yard touchdowns to Edmund Woods in the last quarter. The game ended with a jubilant Rams team celebrating the final score 21-61.

After suffering two losses, Moscow Patriots have ended their first CEFL appearance in the third place of the Eastern Conference. Kragujevac Wild Boars have placed second with the score 1-1, losing to the Rams in Istanbul and winning at home against the Patriots. The Rams have shot to the top with two wins and will join SWARCO RAIDERS in the CEFL Bowl XIII, to be played on 9 June.

CEFL Championhip Western Conference

Game in Wroclaw was not to decide the finalist, as the Raiders have placed in CEFL Bowl XIII earlier, leaving the other two teams to battle for the second place. Leaving that aside, it was perhaps the most exciting affair of the day. The Panthers have welcomed Prague Black Panthers on the Olympic Stadium for an evening game spectacle in front of a great turnout. It was a carousel of points in the first half, but the visiting team lost power in the second.

Black Panthers have opened the scoring session with a shovel pass by Jan Dundáček to running back William Young. Their next drive ends with a short punt and the Panthers take the short field. Timothy Morovick lobs a long pass to Tomasz Dziedzic who’s taken down inches in front of the goal line but Konrad Starczewski punches in. Dundáček ups the count by rushing himself and Morovick answers with a 30 yard touchdown pass to Dziedzic again to level the score with 8 seconds left in the first half.

Black Panthers end the first drive of the sequel with their backs against the end zone and punt short again. The home team takes over at rival’s half and that’s good enough for Dawid Pańczyszyn’s 35 yard field goal. When they get the ball again Morovick rushes for a couple of touchdowns after the Panthers recover their onside kick. Last period brings a touchdown by each team. Black Panthers score over Dundáček’s option pass to Young. Morovick ends the game with his third rushing touchdown of the second half to stop the scoreboard at 39-22.

The newcomers to CEFL, Prague Black Panthers have placed third in the Western Conference with two losses. Wroclaw Panthers are in the middle with a loss from Innsbruck and a win in this one. The Raiders have topped the conference standings by dominating both rivals and placing in the CEFL Bowl XIII.

CEFL Cup

Second semifinal in CEFL Cup was played in Belgrade, where SBB Vukovi hosted current Turkish vice-champion, Sakarya Tatankalari. Teams’ punters stayed on their benches as the meeting was a scoring bonanza. Offenses had their day with both teams chalking up touchdowns in each quarter. The Turkish have broken up their scoring to one per period, and Belgraders were much more productive.

SBB Vukovi’s quarterback, Khari Vercher had a field day the day with 6 scores. His most frequent target was Nikola Simović, who bagged 4 touchdown catches, one of them by a backup signal caller. Tatankalari ‘s snap caller, Bilguun Altakhuyag totaled 3 touchdowns, saving his best performance for the last act.

First points were on the board early by virtue of Vercher and Simović. Visiting team answered right back with Altakhuyag’s pass to Deandre Hall. A 75 yard touchdown pass from Vercher to Simović made sure the visiting team never catches up again. Vercher scored to Zoran Todorović next and Mihailo Josović added a rushing touchdown. Altakhuyag carried the rock himself over the goal line to lower the difference at half time.

Scoreboard was restless in the second half too as Vercher and Simović connected again after an interception by Nemanja Vučković. Vercher added two scores over the ground and visiting team’s running back, Hayati Eşme responded with one of his own. In the last period, Dimitrije Bojić relieved Vercher, employing Simović for yet another touchdown. They capped the drive that followed an interception by Joshua Hartigan in his team’s end zone. With less than a minute left on the clock, Altakhuyag showed impressive arm strength launching a 57 yard rocket to Hall. Following with one last touchdown pass to Alican Buğday, he ended the scoring at 56-28.

With this win, SBB Vukovi have placed in the CEFL Cup finals, to be hosted by them in Belgrade. Their opponents will be Gdynia Seahawks who earned their spot by beating Budapest Cowbells. Due to team’s uncertain scheduling, the game day will be finalized in the following days.