Austria: Prague Black Panthers leap past Danube Dragons in overtime, clinch third

The Prague Black Panthers (7-4) won their third consecutive game when they downed the 6-5 Danube Dragons 34-31 in overtime this past weekend in the last game of the Austrian Football League season to clinch third place and home field advantage in the first round of the playoffs.

Quarterback Dylan Potts scored the decisive touchdown in overtime after Danube had tied the score with a minute to go in regulation time.

Running back Herbert Gamboa led the way, punishing the Dragons with the game’s first three touchdowns rushing for 131 yards while Potts only threw for 139 yards and a touchdown but rushed for 74 and the game-winning touchdown. Wide receiver Jan Stiegler caught the lone touchdown pass and Martin Mandik kicked two extra points.

For the Dragons, quarterback Chad Jeffries completed 24 of 32 passes for 246 yards and three touchdowns with Philipp Haun catching six for 80 yards and a touchdown, Felix Reisacher also getting six but for 69 yards and a touchdown and Clemens Hareter three for 23 and one touchdown. Knaus kicked a field goal and all four extra points.

Prague RB Herbert Gamboa Photo: David Hofman

Early on, Danube could not find a way to stop Gamboa as the bruising running back helped Prague march from their own 27 yard line down to the nine from where he bulled his way into the end zone to put the Black Panthers ahead 6-0.

While the Danube offense struggled, Gamboa continued to dominate, accounting for 35 of 47 yards on a six play drive midway through the second quarter and scoring to widen the gap to 13-0.

Jeffries finally got the Dragons offense in gear, moving from his own 20 yard line and eight plays later finding Reisacher for a 13 yard touchdown closing the gap to 13-7 as the second quarter ended.

The Dragon’s quarterback opened the third quarter with a five play, 65 yard drive capping it with an eight yard touchdown toss to Haun and Danube went out in front 14-13.

Potts came right back with a 75 yard drive handing the ball off the Gamboa to finish it. He rambled in from the 15 yard line and then scored on the two-point conversion to regain the lead for Prague. 21-14.

The Black Panthers padded the lead as Potts connected with Stiegler from 10 yards out and Prague now led 28-14.

That’s when Jeffries went to work, mixing up his play calling, taking his team down to the Prague three yard line and then plunging in himself to creep closer 28-21.

Danube Dragons QB Chad Jeffries Photo: David Hofman

The Dragons defense kept playing hard-nosed football, preventing the Black Panthers from getting out of their own end. Jeffries and the Danube offense took over on their own 45 with four minutes left on the clock. They promptly marched down to the Prague seven and Jeffries found Hareter in the end zone to tie the game at 28-28 with a minute to go.

Prague kicker Martin Mandik missed a 53 yard field goal attempt as time expired and the game went into overtime.

This time though, Jeffries could only maneuver his team into field goal range and Knaus hit a 42 yarder to give Danube a 31-28 lead.

The Black Panthers took advantage of their ground game with Gamboa and Potts taking the ball down to the one. Potts scored the winning touchdown and Prague is now hosting a playoff game.

Photos: David Hofman



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