Calanda Broncos advance to CEFL semifinals after thrilling win over Budapest Wolves

After a 48-yard score followed up by a two-point conversion, the Budapest Wolves from Hungary were just seven points away from completing a two-possession comeback in the eleventh hour of the Central European Football League quarterfinal matchup against Switzerland’s Calanda Broncos. However, their onside kick went out of bounds and the Calanda Broncos retained possession to hold on for a 35-28 win.

This quarterfinals battle was held in Switzerland’s oldest city, Chur, and it was the CEFL opening game for both squads. Calanda walked into the quarterfinals with a bye while Budapest’s first game of the season was canceled.

The game was bookended by action-packed first and fourth quarters. Calanda quarterback William Andries, brought in from overseas to lead the Broncos’ offense, wasted no time getting to work. He put Calanda on the scoreboard first with a 25-yard tote to Max Gray, who also shines as one of the team’s premier defensive backs.

Despite Gray’s prowess on both sides of the ball, Matthias Tanno led the defensive effort for the Broncos in the first quarter. As the Broncos ceded ground to Budapest, Tanno came up with a clutch interception which he returned for 85 yards and the score, putting the Broncos up 14-0.

The Wolves would not remain scoreless through the first quarter, though. After getting deep into the redzone, Gombos Dávid punched in a two-yard touchdown. The Wolves went into the second period of play trailing 7-14.

After getting repeatedly scorched, both defenses shored up their efforts for the next two quarters. The score was 14-7 at the end of the first quarter; it remained that way going into the fourth quarter.

Oftentimes, however, after being worn out for three straight periods, it becomes much more difficult to prevent offenses from finding the endzone. That’s what seemed to happen in this contest, as the fourth quarter was marked by score after score.

Andries kicked off the final period of play with his second passing touchdown of the day, a 15-yarder to Gregorio Calonego. Despite being down by 14 points with time dwindling down, the Wolves responded. Quarterback Tóth Levente brought it to within one score with his first touchdown pass of the day.

The Broncos offensive onslaught, however, was just beginning. Every part of their team managed to contribute to the win, as the game now turned over to Brecht Deboosere, who punished the Wolves on the ground. He stretched the lead once again with a 10-yard rush. After Gombos Dávid responded with his second score of the day, Deboosere put the game out of reach yet again.

Still, Levente gave them one final glimmer of hope with the second-longest score of the game while on the move, but the Wolves failed to recover the onside kick, allowing Calanda to advance.