Swarco Raiders take CEFL semi-final victory over Dacia Vienna Vikings
Swarco Raiders DB Davion Washington finds a place to race 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 offenses in the country, but the elimination game was all about defenses. The two teams combined for 12 points in the three-quarter 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 flurry of late-night takeaways in the CEFL championship match.
While the yards were difficult to find for most of the afternoon, the Raiders started the game with an efficient 10 game player to get things going. Rafael Belici opened the scoring with a 26 yard touchdown on the road to the wheel, but the extra point was not good.
Consecutive Vikings readers were silenced by the bags, but the Raiders had difficulty committing an offense in response. It was not until the middle of the second trimester that Vienna broke the deadlock. Daniel Schwam managed a 35-yard catch while juggling while being interfered with, then added a 29-yard cruiser to pass first and goal, but the rest of the offense couldn’t break through. Strategist Eystin Salum has been overrun by consecutive games and Florian Wegan dropped the third pass to force a 25 yard Dennis tasic field goal.
Three pieces later, the Vikings had the ball in his hands. Raiders strategist Sean Shelton had escaped just to buy time but his slight Simon pilger was easily intercepted by the Vikings’ defensive back Luis Horvath. Raiders linebacker Ruben seeber made three consecutive tackles to lose to keep Vienna outside the final zone but Tasic sent for 43 yards to tie the game at 6-6 at the break.
the Raiders the offensive fights continued in the second half with a Andrew Spencer interception, but the Vikings failed to generate momentum and Tasic was wide on 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 deeply and found it quick Daniel Schwam with a step on his defenseman, racing for a 75-yard touchdown.
Hanging out for the first time, an invigorated Sean Shelton came out pulling it. After failing to connect with Davion Washington on the first two throws of the drive he found it third and the import made 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 perfectly called 16-yard backhand at paydirt.
Chaos ensued immediately on the next ride. Salum looked for a lane on the opening room, only to be jumped by Swarco linebacker Julian Perfler and lose control of football. Great offensive lineman Michael Hinterwith-Haider picked up, but his visions of greatness as a ball carrier were exposed and Alex Ferrari forced the second fumble of the game and recovered the ball for the Raiders. Shelton quickly took 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 organize a comeback, but ball control became their downfall. Recipient Philipp Dubravec was the first to stumble, seeing the ball knocked over from his hands by the Raiders’ defensive back Vincent Müller and recovered by Nicolas Melcher. After the Raiders kicked one last time, it was Salum turn to let victory pass into his hands. On a nine-meter run, Alex Ferrari hit the ball and Julian Perfler fell to the top to give his team the chance to kneel down with a 20-13 victory.
the Vikings struggled unusually on the ground throughout. Star running back 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 by being sacked five times and groping 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, with 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 for 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 Schwäbisch Hall unicorns on June 26, just a week after their meeting with the Vikings in Austrian action once more.