Basel Gladiators Unseat Calanda Broncos and Win First Swiss Bowl

This was the seventh final for Basel in the 28 years of the Swiss League and their first title. Nothing could be sweeter for Dwaine Wood and his team.

The Basel Gladiators have established themselves as the new American Football powerhouse in Switzerland, handing five-time defending champion and former Euro Bowl champion Calanda Broncos a 47-35 defeat in the 2014 Swiss Bowl. This was Dwaine Wood’s and Basel’s first championship after many years of hard work. The Gladiators have acted as spoils for Calanda for the past four years and this victory was sweet for the team that has been battling to reach football supremacy in Switzerland.

Basel jumped out to 20-0 lead in the first quarter as Basel quarterback BJ Denker efficiently moved his club down the field on their first two drives. He threw a 38 yard touchdown pass to Rene Fink to open the scoring, then on their next possession took off on his own for a 60 yard score. Then the Gladiators picked up a Broncos fumble at the Calanda 15 and Denker hit Alex Riekeles for the touchdown to give Basel a 20-0 lead. Calanda quarterback Cedric Townsend, who had previously struggled, finally found a rhythm and caught the Gladiators napping hitting Adrian Sündenhauf for a 47-yard touchdown.

Basel responded as Denker engineers a 10 play, 80-yard drive, with Corey Stollmeyer capping it with a four yard run for the touchdown making it 27-7 Basel still in the second quarter. Both teams find the end zone one more time and the half ends 33-14 Basel.

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The Gladiators opened the second half with a ball control offense consuming the clock. A 14-play 82 yard drive resulted in Cory Stollmeyer’s second touchdown and extended the lead to 40-14. Cedric Townsend then guided his team on a 16 play 78-yard drive to close the gap to 40-21, but these two drives consumed the entire third quarter.

Time was running out on Calanda and after an unsuccessful fourth down attempt at their own 42, they handed the ball back to BJ Decker and the Gladiators who capitalized with Rene Fink scoring his second touchdown of the day from one yard out extending Basel’s lead to 47-20.

The Broncos managed to score two more touchdowns but the outcome was never in doubt as Basel very deservedly captured their first Swiss championship.

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Stats can be deceiving as Calanda had more offensive yards than Basel but the glaring statistic was time of possession as the Gladiators had control of the ball for 38 minutes compared to 12 for Calanda.

This was the seventh final for Basel in the 28 years of the Swiss League and their first title. Nothing could be sweeter for Dwaine Wood and his team.


Roger Kelly is an editor and a writer for AFI. A former PR Director the B.C. Lions of the Canadian Football League for 7 years, he now lives in Sweden writing about and scouting American Football throughout the world.