Austria: Dacia Vienna Vikings cruise to solid win over Prague Black Panthers in season opener

The Dacia Vienna Vikings took the lead early and never looked back as they cruised to a 28-7 season opening win over the visiting Prague Black Panthers Sunday in Vienna.

Vienna jumped out to a 21-0 halftime lead and controlled the game effectively, keeping the Black Panthers off the scoreboard until midway through the fourth quarter.

New Vikings quarterback Austin Herink looked comfortable in his debut in Europe, completing 15 of 23 passes for 227 yards and three touchdowns. Herink only arrived in the Austrian capital a couple of weeks before the game, but showed no signs of jitters. Wide receiver Bernhard Seikovits led all receivers with five catches for 92 yards and two touchdowns while Philipp Dubravec hauled in four passes for 47 yards and a touchdown and Yannick Mayr caught three passes for 49 yards. Running back Marko Gagic scored the lone rushing touchdown for Vienna while rushing for a total of 30 yards. Christopher Kappel kicked all four extra points.

Prague quarterback Dylan Potts did not have a great passing day throwing for a mere 22 yards of 4 of 11 passes. On the ground however, he had an impact with 73 yards rushing. In fact, Prague outgained the Vikings 239 yards to 76 with Herbert Gamboa adding 64 yards and Matthew Vinal 58 and a touchdown.

Vienna struck on their very first drive as Herink connected with Seikovits for a 31 yard touchdown to cap a 10 play 63 yard drive.

With the Panthers unable to get out of their own end, Herink finished off another  Vikings drive, this one for 62 yards, finding Dubravec from 30 yards out and the Vikings took a 14-0 lead with seven minutes left in the first half. Then, with less than two minutes left, Gagic barreled his way into the end zone from the six yard line and Vienna moved out to a 21-0 lead.

#49 LB Alexander Watholowitsch photo Andreas Bischof

Prague finally crossed midfield to open the third quarter, with Potts driving his team down to the Vikings 24 yard line. But Vienna linebacker  Ugo Uwakwe pounced on a fumble by Panther’s Christoph Engleder. The Black Panthers could not gain any momentum after that and it wasn’t until early in the fourth quarter that the Panthers could get moving, as, with Matthew Vinal behind center, Prague mounted a 12 play, 65 yard drive which culminated with Vinal’s five yard touchdown plunge to narrow the lead to 21-7.

However, Herink was not done as he tossed at 39 yard touchdown strike to Seikovits with five minutes left effectively ending all hope of a Prague rally.

Vikings head coach Chris Calaycay was satisfied with the win:

“It’s always good to start the season with a win, and of course there’s a lot of room for improvement in our game. We’ll get started right away as we now need to focus on playing the Swaarco Raiders in six days.”

Dan Levy, head coach Prague Black Panthers:

 “We knew it was going to be a tough game and you can not afford a mistake against a European top team like the Vikings, but I’ve seen some things we can build on.”

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