Reign of touchdowns

photo: Goran Milosavljević, f/H.B PHOTO

Scoring fest continues in the second week of CEFL Championship. The main contributors were SWARCO RAIDERS, who had a stellar night that placed them in the finals. The Wild Boars hope to join them there again. CEFL Cup played its first game and the home team survived.

CEFL Championship Western Conference

Western Conference game in Innsbruck was a lopsided affair. In front of a great turnout of 3400 aficionados, the Raiders secured a win and a place in the finals. It was an offensive feast, so much so, that rocket passes and long runs rolled as off the conveyor belt and each drive seemed to end with a touchdown. The visitors, Wroclaw Panthers, were showing merely flashes of their last season’s performance from the same matchup. This time they were outflanked in all three phases of the game.

Sean Shelton opened the scoring session with a pass to Adrian Platzgummer for 11 yards. He was on his way to 6 touchdowns for the night, rushing for another score in the next drive. Panthers’ signal caller, Timothy Morovick, staged an answer with precision passes that ended with his own rushing touchdown. On the first play after kickoff, Shelton connected with speedster Patrick Donahue, who ran the distance for 64 yards. They repeated the same on the next drive for a 16 yard score. After a blocked Panthers’ punt, Shelton ran up the counter again. Panthers’ reacted over wide receiver Tomasz Dziedzic who got a grip on Morovick’s pass for a 32 yard touchdown. Raiders’ Tobias Bonatti ended the furious first half tempo rushing for one last score.

Teams didn’t let up much in the second half either. Morovick located Dziedzic early for a 65 yard touchdown. Bonatti responded with another rushing six points, followed by a third Shelton to Donahue link, this time for 60 yards. Their defensive teammate, Philipp Margreiter, also got in the stats sheet by recovering an overhead snap on the visiting team’s punt. The scoreboard was busy throughout the night and finally stopped at 63-21.

Dominant displays by Raiders in both games secure them a place in CEFL Bowl XIII. Their young players now look like seasoned athletes, well coached and ready for top performances. Their offense scores almost at will and the defense limits opponents to 3 touchdowns per game. Eastern Conference champions will have a tough time wrestling with those numbers.

CEFL Championship Eastern Conference

Eastern Conference game in Kragujevac pitted together evenly matched opponents in front of a home crowd of 1000 fans. It must have felt weirdly familiar to the Wild Boars playing what seemed like a repeat of their game in Istanbul in week 1. This time too, their rivals, Moscow Patriots, were neck and neck for most of the game. Decision came in the second half when the home team tipped the scales in their favor.

The Wild Boars were the first to strike over their power running back, Joshua Quezada. Continuing his dominance from the last outing, he broke the plane of the goal line for a 3 yard touchdown. Muscovites answered in the second period over a quarterback sneak by Igor Chernoluskiy. Wild Boars upped the score in the very next drive when Dalton Oliver lobbed a 53 yard pass to Strahinja Stepović. Patriots’ running back, Denis Strokov caught up to them with a short rush for a touchdown. Resolute to not let the Istanbul game play out again, Oliver connected with Quezada to put his team ahead at half time.

In the sequel, Patriots seemed to have lost steam, their long trip to Kragujevac taking its toll. Wild Boars defense revved up, blunting opponents’ offensive edge, and with it all chances of a comeback. It was Stepović again who dispelled all fears, corralling long spirals from Oliver for 35 and 55 yard touchdowns. Russian team softened the blow when Chernoluskiy sneaked in once more and the final score stood at 34-20.

Before the game, Patriots were an enigma as much to themselves as to the home team. Being Russian national champions, their power was never questioned. Its proof on the international stage though was another issue entirely. Far removed from the rest of Europe, they haven’t had many excursions outside their domestic league. This game was an opener of their playing schedule, as their national season has yet to break the ice. With more practices behind them, the outcome might have been very different.

The Wild Boars have finished their performance in the Eastern Conference on a positive note with the score 1-1 and a point differential of +8. Now their heads turn to Moscow, where the Patriots host Istanbul Koc Rams in two weeks to decide the other CEFL Bowl participant. Turkish team has a win over the Wild Boars, but all outcomes are still within the realm of possibility. With a win in Moscow, the Rams go through to CEFL Bowl XIII. In case Patriots beat them with 22+ points, they will play the finals in their first outing. If they win by a lesser difference, Wild Boars will repeat their appearance in the bowl game.

CEFL Cup

Gdynia Seahawks have played their first game under Sport Klub CEFL umbrella, bolstered by 2000 of their loud cheering fans. In the CEFL Cup they hosted Budapest Cowbells, current Hungarian champions, who are no strangers to the CEFL organization. As if waiting for their turn, teams divided the halves, scoring in unanswered streaks of points. Seahawks’ run simply lasted one more score and their kicking unit was more adept on PATs.

First part of the game belonged to the home team, who strolled down the field with ease, led by their American quarterback, Joseph Bradley. Initial points in the game came after his pass to Paweł Henicz. They connected again for a 17 yard touchdown, and running back Jan Domgała rushed for a couple himself. Four scores and seven ticks left until the intermission and Cowbells managed to break the spell. Czirók Márton directed a pass to Mészáros Márton for their team’s first points. In the second half Czirók rushed for an 11 yarder and lobbed a pass for 35 yards to Szabolcska Balázs. None of the visiting teams PATs were good and the final score was 28-18.

Cowbells have stuck to their guns again and haven’t brought any outside help. One must admire their persistence, though it would be exciting to see what a couple of import players could add to the team. Meanwhile, the Seahawks have passed the exam in every respect and are getting ready for the finals in Belgrade. Their competitors will be known in two weeks, when SBB Vukovi clash with another newcomer to CEFL, Sakarya Tatankalari.