Swarco Raiders DB Davion Washington takes pride of place against Dacia Vienna Vikings Photo: Swarco Raiders Tirol
the CEFL Saturday’s semi-final may have featured two Austrian teams on Austrian sol, but it seems that offensive production was reserved exclusively for Austrian Football League.
the Swarco Raiders and Dacia Vienna Vikings represent the two most productive offensives in the country, but the elimination game was all about defenses. Both teams totaled 12 points in three quarters before a late offensive breakthrough, each finishing more than 100 yards below their season average.
Despite suffocation Vienna secondary that wreaked havoc on a normally dominant passing attack, it was the Raiders who emerged with a 20-13 win, riding a bevy of late-night takeaways in the CEFL championship match.
While yards were hard to find for most of the afternoon, the Raiders started the game with an efficient 10-part player to get things going. Rafael Belici opened the scoring with a 26 yard touchdown on the wheel track, but the extra point was not good.
Consecutive Vikings readers were silenced by bags, but the Raiders struggled to muster any offense in response. It wasn’t until the middle of the second quarter that Vienna out of the deadlock. Daniel Schwam caught a 35-yard juggernaut while being embarrassed, then added a 29-yard cross to score the first and the goal, but the rest of the offense couldn’t break through. Strategist Eystin Salum has been spun off on back-to-back games and Florian Wegan dropped the third pass to force a 25 yards Dennis tasic goal on the ground.
Three pieces later, the Vikings had the ball in their hands. Raiders strategist Sean Shelton had escaped just to buy time but his light throw to Simon pilger was easily intercepted by the defensive back of the Vikings Luis Horvath. Raiders linebacker Ruben seeber made three consecutive tackles for the loss to keep Vienna out of the end zone but Tasique had 43 yards to tie the game at 6-6 at the break.
the Raiders the offensive struggles continued in the second half with a Andrew Spencer the interception, but the Vikings failed to generate momentum and Tasique was wide to the right on a 40-yard attempt, before both teams stumbled in a scoreless third quarter. The opening round of the fourth ultimately offered the first breakthrough on either side. Eystin Salum looked in depth and found quickly Daniel Schwam with a step on his defenseman, race for a 75-yard touchdown.
Trolling for the first time, an invigorated Sean Shelton came out pulling. After failing to connect with Davion Washington on the first two throws of the drive, he found it on the third down and Import had a spectacular 41-yard double-cover catch to move the chains. Three pieces later, Washington completed the ride itself with a little help from the Raiders bag of stuff, taking a reverse perfectly called 16 yards to pay for the dirt.
Chaos immediately ensued on the next drive. Salum searched for a race track on the opening game, only to be skipped by Swarco linebacker Julien Perfler and lose control of football. Big offensive lineman Michael Hinterwith-Haider picked him up, but his visions of greatness as a running back were on display and Alex ferrari forced the second fumble from play and recovered the ball for the Raiders. Shelton quickly seized the opportunity and Washington landed his second touchdown with a savvy push and a nice back shoulder extension to regain the lead.
the Vikings had a long time to make a comeback, but ball control became their downfall. Recipient Philippe Dubravec was the first to stumble, seeing the ball knocked over from his hands by the Raiders’ defensive back Vincent muller and retrieved by Nicolas Melcher. After the Raiders kicked one last time, it was by Salum turn to let victory slip into his hands. On a nine-meter run, Alex ferrari hit the ball for free and Julien Perfler fell on top to give his team the chance to kneel down for a 20-13 victory.
the Vikings struggled unusually on the pitch throughout. Return star Florian Wegan carried 10 times for 45 yards, including 38 on a long run in the first quarter. Andrew Spencer added five carries for 17 yards and Eystin Salum only scored 12 goals while being sacked five times and fumbling twice. He completed nine of 22 passes for 210 yards and a touchdown, while Daniel Schwam led the way with three catches for 139 yards and the score.
Raiders strategist Sean Shelton has a day off by his standards, completing 14 of 33 passes for 167 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions, while leading his team with 40 rushing yards. Davion Washington was the hero, scoring three catches for 60 yards, one carry for 16 yards, two touchdowns and three tackles in defense. Young Marco schneider was largely held in check, adding four catches for 53 yards.
The victory for the Raiders avenge a loss of overtime at the Vikings earlier in the Austrian season and eliminates their main rival CEFL competition with their first defeat since July 2019. The team of Tyrol will now face the winner of the second semi-final between the Calanda Broncos and Schwabisch Unicorn Hall on June 26, just a week after meeting the Vikings in Austrian action once again.