Superfinal game goes to CEFL champions

photo: SWARCO RAIDERS

With today’s inaugural Superfinal game Europe might have gotten its future crown jewel of American football. The duel between the champions of NEFL and CEFL was played in front of the full Gentofte Sportspark stadium late into the Copenhagen summer night. Although not lacking excitement, the surprise for which the home crowd has hoped, was missing.

The heavily favored Austrians, SWARCO RAIDERS have confirmed their status, winning the conquest. Southern team has repeated what they’ve done throughout the season in CEFL. Their defense has limited Northern European Football League’s undefeated, Copenhagen Towers to three touchdowns, while the offense had little trouble scoring repeatedly.

On their first drive Raiders offense was backed up against their goal line after a long Towers’ punt. Pressured by the rival’s defense they barely got the first down followed by a long distance catch by Fabian Abfalter from quarterback Sean Shelton, who punched in for first points (0-7).

Towers fumble and recover the ball but can’t advance it and the Raiders get it back. Abfalter hauls in another long pass and Patrick Donahue runs for first down. Towers almost intercept another pass and the Raiders are faced with a fourth down in the opposing red zone. Shelton converts over the ground and scores on another scamper (0-14).

Towers can’t move the chains on their next possession either and punt deep, backing the Raiders up to their end zone again. This time the home team is powerless against Austrian’s speed option attacks. Adrian Platzgummer is stopped at midfield after a rocket pass by Shelton and Abfalter corrals another one to put his team on the Towers’ 10 yard line. This time the Raiders are backed off by their penalty and Thomas Pichlmann is good for a field goal (0-17).

When they get the ball, the Danes are helped by the Raiders’ pass interference penalty and cross into opposing territory for the first time. Towers’ quarterback, Randy Schroeder lobs a long pass and caps off the drive with a touchdown pass to Philip Thue (7-17).

With less than 2min left on the clock until the intermission, Towers go for an onside kick but Raiders recover. Both quarterbacks trade interceptions and the Raiders have the ball again when Sandro Platzgummer takes off for 36 yards. Shelton overthrows him in the end zone and Pichlmann misses a field goal. With 40 seconds to go, Jakob Green grabs a long pass by Schroeder before a holding penalty backs them off and the time expires.

Raiders start the second half in Towers’ territory when Shelton connects with Sandro to draw close to the red zone before locating Donahue for another score (7-24). Schroeder takes over guiding his team down the field with precision passes to Thue, Troen and Lasse Tor. The drive ends when Donahue intercepts him and marches downfield for a pick six (7-31).

Towers’ Dayton Winn returns the kickoff to midfield and Raiders’ move them forward with a 15 yard penalty. Troen catches a pass inches from Raiders’ goal line but they fumble the following hand off and Raiders recover the ball on their own 5 yard line. After their rare 3 and out they have to punt and Towers take over on the short field. Winn rushes, breaking a couple of tackles for long yardage and Troen snags the ball for another first down. The ball is on Raiders 15 yard line when Towers backup quarterback, Kasper Skyum locates a wide open Jesper Hansen near the right pylon for an easy touchdown (13-31). On a 2 point conversion, Donahue makes another interception and runs the distance, but the block in the back penalty by his teammates negates his production.

Towers opt for an onside kick again and the Raiders recover. Teams exchange a few punts and the Raiders have the ball near the 50 yard line, Shelton rushes for 14 yards and Sandro scores on a screen pass (13-38).

Towers are determined to get the drive going but a turnover on downs ensues in their red zone. Shelton takes advantage with another touchdown pass to Donahue to up the score (13-45). Troen is unstoppable on the next Tower’s possession with a couple of clutch catches for long yardage, finally snatching one out of the air in the end zone for the final score 20-45.

With two and a half minutes left, Raiders’ Alexander Nitzlnader fumbles and Towers recover on visitors’ 44 yard line. Donahue puts an end to home team’s efforts with another interception saving his team end zone one last time.

Two MVP trophies were awarded after the game for players of each team. Sandro Platzgummer has deserved one for the Raiders and Philip Thue will cherish his own in front of the Towers.