Raiders repeat

photo: Markus Stieg, sportpics.media

CEFL Bowl XIII

In front of their 4000 fans on the Tivoli stadium in Innsbruck, SWARCO RAIDERS have duplicated their last season’s success. After capturing the trophy in 2017 beating Kragujevac Wild Boars, they get to keep it for another year. This time, Istanbul Koc Rams have held on for most of the game, finally breaking in the fourth quarter with the weather change.

Three touchdowns seems to be the limit that the Raiders defense has set for themselves this season. They surrendered 21 points in each of the two conference games, and did one better this time. The recognition for the whole defensive unit came in the form of an MVP trophy for the leader of the defense, linebacker Fabian Seeber.

Scoring was opened early by Sandro Platzgummer, a well-known name to CEFL fans. Speedy running back has rushed for a 6 yard touchdown for the first points on the board. Taking the ball over, Rams found themselves in trouble with their backs against their end zone, on a 3rd and 13 play. Then, their jack of all trades, Ja Vontae Hence breaks from a seemingly sure tackle and sprints for an equalizer of 98 yards. Raiders answer right back through the air, when their field general Sean Shelton connects with Fabian Abfalter for an amazing three times. Rams’ own quarterback, David Whipple rushes for 15 yards to lower the difference. Before half time, they get deep in the Raiders’ backfield again, but time expires as they take their shots.

They get their chance back on the other side of the intermission and that time they’re successful. Whipple locates Kaan Özer in the Raiders’ end zone for 14 yards and the Rams are a touchdown away from an even score. That’s the best they did though, as Platzgummer continued where he left off in the first quarter, rushing for another score. As the fourth quarter started, heavy rain quickly turned the field into a pool. Offenses took turns slipping and sliding, until Sandro showed off his speed again. First he broke off untouched and went the distance for a 66 yard score. Next, on another punt by the Rams he reproduced his 2017 production on special teams. Breaking tackles, he returned the ball for a 46 yard touchdown, his fourth of the day, sealing Rams’ fate with the final 49-20.

After the game, Raiders’ head coach Shuan Fatah was overjoyed: “We’re back to back champions in one of the premier European championships for clubs (CEFL) and we love it. It was a great challenge, a great, tough game. Koc Rams came to play and we were very nervous in the first half and then the rain came and kind of helped us a little bit. Hats off to Koc Rams, it was an awesome display of their football and we were really, really challenged. I enjoyed how my guys went through it and prevailed, and came out as champs and that’s what it’s all about… (The game) was an advertisement for CEFL which is a tough league to win in and prevail.”

Earlier today Danish champions, Copenhagen Towers won the title in the Northern European Football League (NEFL) edging Swedish Carlstad Crusaders 44-43. Both actors of the Superfinal game between the champions of CEFL and NEFL are thus known. The Superfinal is set for 30 June and the venue will be announced shortly.

CEFL Cup finals

On BASK stadium in Belgrade, SBB Vukovi have played host to Gdynia Seahawks in CEFL Cup finals. Serbian team was unstoppable, crowning excellent offensive performance with 8 touchdowns from as many drives. This trophy is the first for SBB Vukovi after three barren seasons in the competitions they played.

The home team has racked up a two touchdown difference in the first half and never relinquished it. Seahawks’ attack was very effective but their defense didn’t find the solution for a frenetic SBB Vukovi offensive beat. MVP trophy went to Belgraders’ signal caller, Khari Vercher, acknowledging his excellent achievement of 7 scored touchdowns.

There were no hints of a high scoring game in the first quarter. Both teams started by carefully palpating each other’s defenses, with Vercher rushing for the opening touchdown. Visitors have equalized from 20 yards out over their running back Jan Domagała. It was the second period that brought what proved to be SBB Vukovi’s impervious point difference by two of Vercher’s passes hauled in for touchdowns by Nikola Simović and one by Ivan Nedeljković.

After the break, Seahawks decided to risk it, as their attempts to stop SBB Vukovi’s barrage were unproductive. From then on, onside kicks followed their every score, but they were unsuccessful of recovering any of them. What their tactics managed to do is increase the number of points, as both teams took turns in scoring fast touchdowns.

Nedeljković has continued where he left of in the first half, corralling a rocket pass for a 64 yard score. Polish team’s quarterback, Joseph Bradley has answered with a pass to Piotr Rudnicki. The new arrival in SBB Vukovi’s ranks, Cory Butler upped the score rushing for his first points for the team. Bradley moved his team closer twice locating his receives, Paveł Fabich and Paveł Henicz in the rival’s end zone. Vercher answered both times, connecting with Simović for two long distance touchdowns. Finally rushing into SBB Vukovi’s end zone, Bradley stopped the scoring session at 55-41.