Opening week in CEFL Championship was a touchdown feast with a 153 points scored in two games.
Istanbul Koç Rams – Kragujevac Wild Boars
On Saturday in Istanbul, Koç Rams have hosted Kragujevac Wild Boars in the Eastern Conference and the game was a scoring fest. Teams took turns scoring touchdowns almost at will.
Wild Boars were the first to attack but couldn’t do much. After the punt, their special team recovered the ball deep in Rams territory, and quarterback Dalton Oliver ran it in from 2 yards for the go ahead points.
Rams answered with a pitch and catch from David Whipple to Ja Vontae Hence that turns into a 50 yard gain. Wide receiver Kaan Özer hauls in another pass for an easy touchdown and an equalizer.
When the Wild Boars get the ball back, running back Joshua Quezada runs for 15 yards on a couple plays, and Oliver lobs it deep right into the end zone to Strahinja Stepović.
Turkish team moves hard and slow on the next series, when Whipple scrambles out of the pocket near the right sideline and dumps it off to RB Taha Çokadar who scurries for 40 yards and gets near the opposing red zone. After a few short plays he runs it in for a touchdown to level the scoreboard.
Wild Boars are quick to respond again with Quezada bolting through the whole Rams’ defense for 59 yards and another raise of the tally.
In the following drive by Rams, after a few short runs, Whipple passes to Çokadar and the offense gets to Wild Boars’ 23 yard line. Whipple finds Özer open again in the end zone and the score is tied for the third time.
Before half time tight end Stefan Đurić is a big target on a number of plays, advancing the ball to Rams’ 30 yard line. As time expires, Oliver is chased out of the pocket and throws an interception on the goal line.
After the intermission Rams have the ball first and push forward. Whipple finds open Hence to get his team in the lead for the first time.
On the ensuing kickoff Wild Boars’ special team is sluggish to react and the Rams recover the ball in the opposing red zone. After three running plays by Çokadar, he pierces the goal line too for a two score difference, first by either team.
Wild Boars feel the game slipping away and hand off to Quezada, who runs for 25 yards. A few successful plays later he charges ahead for a 2 yard touchdown.
Rams can’t move the ball on the next series and run on punt play. Wild Boars get the ball back on rival’s side of the field and Quezada stages a show with a catch for 15 yards and a pair of rushes for double digits. Finally, he rushes again for a 12 yard score to put the visitors in the 1 point lead for the last time in the game.
On the kickoff Rams return the ball near midfield and continue to move the chains with short plays. They realize their drive effectively with Whipple’s 25 yard rushing touchdown.
Serbian team tries to counter again but Oliver gets sacked for a loss of 20 yards. They punt but the snap is high and ends up in the end zone where Rams’ defense pounces on the ball for another two touchdown lead.
Valuable seconds tick away as the Wild Boars move the chains. Đurić hooks up with Oliver for the final touchdown and the game ends with the score 47-41.
With this win Rams are closer to CEFL Bowl XIII, but Wild Boars haven’t lost their chances either. Having yet to play both these teams, Moscow Patriots will decide the outcome of the Eastern Conference.
Prague Black Panthers – SWARCO RAIDERS
On Sunday in Prague, Black Panthers have greeted their well-known adversary, SWARCO RAIDERS in the Western Conference of CEFL Championship.
It was obvious from the start that the Austrians came to dominate. Precision passes by Sean Shelton were moving his team in on the opponent. He capped the drive connecting with Daniel Saurer on a 15 yard screen pass.
Raiders kept adding to their early lead and never looked back. In the next drive Shelton continued where he left off with short passes but carried the ball himself in the end for a 7 yard score.
On the ensuing kickoff Black Panthers’ speedster William Young muffed the ball but recovered and went the distance, untouched by the defense, for a 93 yard kickoff return.
Shelton was unphazed by his special team’s gaffe. He expedited the next drive spotting open Adrian Platzgummer for a 57 yard score.
Black Panthers’ attempts are unproductive and their punt ends near the opposing goal line. Shelton takes over and goes for an option pass which gets fumbled into the end zone where Black Panthers’ Tomáš Svoboda recovers it for the touchdown.
Czech offense grinds to a halt and Thomas Pichlmann ups the score booting a field goal. On the next series Shelton connects with Sandro Platzgummer who separates from his defender for a 30 yard strike in the end zone.
First half quick tempo seems to wear down the offenses. The sequel is slower, but the power doesn’t shift. Raiders’ defense strips the ball from the opposing wide receiver, Philipp Margreiter picks it up on the 50 yard line i gets it to Black Panthers’ 5. Shelton sneaks into the end zone for another score.
Raiders’ Pichlmann is good for a couple more field goals and Black Panthers lessen the blow when Young breaks the goal line again for 8yd touchdown. The scoreboard shows 21-44 in the end.
Impressive outing by the last season’s champions shows they will be the team to beat this year again. In two weeks we’ll see if Wroclaw Panthers can match them when they travel to play in Innsbruck.