Calanda Broncos claim their 10th Swiss Bowl with win over Bern Grizzlies

The Calanda Broncos downed the Bern Grizzlies 21-12 Saturday in Basel, Switzerland to win their 10th Swiss Bowl title in 12 years, making them one of the most successful teams in European football.

After a tight first half that saw a number of costly turnovers by the Grizzlies, Calanda pulled away in the second to win the championship, their fourth in a row.

The Grizzlies and quarterback Clark Evans began each of their two first possessions strong, gobbling up yards through the air. But they were both cut short, the first on a lost fumble after an end-around and the second on an overthrown post-route which the Broncos safety was able to snag in the air.

These missed opportunities proved costly for Bern. After offering up very little in the first quarter, the Broncos offense was able to get things going. As the second quarter came in, quarterback Conner Manning made a series of throws to get them down to the Grizzlies 30-yard line before finishing the drive off with a bomb down the right sideline off a flea-flicker.

Calanda QB Connor Manning looking downfield Photo: Sergio Brunetti

But Clark Evans has been here before himself, winning against the Broncos earlier in the season. Evans remained poised and worked his way down the field, showing off what an impressive arm he has as well as running the ball in himself from the 10-yard line. A missed extra-point kept the score at 7 – 6.

The back and forth continued from then until late in the second when the Broncos managed to score again after some tough yards were earned on the ground. They made the two-point conversion with 22 seconds left on the clock to make it 15 – 6 going in at the half.

Calanda received the kickoff in the second half and carried on where they left off. Manning continued to work the short game as the Grizzlies secondary played off. Manning was clearly waiting for the Grizzlies secondary to begin to creep down before he would take the top off, and it wouldn’t be long before that moment came. On first and 10 from their own 30, Manning again heaved the ball down the field on what seemed like a busted coverage to put the Broncos up 21 – 6.

Photo: Sergio Brunetti

Excellent defensive football defined the remainder of the game with neither team able to consistently move the ball. The next Grizzlies‘ score came on defense as they blocked a field-goal attempt with five minutes to go in the game and returned it 80 yards for a touchdown (after some questionable kicking of the ball). This was the spark that the Grizzlies needed, but a failed two-point conversion kept it at a nine-point deficit for Bern after the earlier missed field goal.

The Grizzlies defense then did their job, forcing Calanda to punt. But the booming punt that traveled 75 yards with the roll forced Bern to start from their own 15-yard line with just over three minutes left in the game. The Broncos defense again held strong, forcing a turnover on downs. Although the Grizzlies managed to get the ball back with a little over a minute to go, they were unable to take advantage and Calanda kneeled out the game

The win places Calanda in rarified territory with a record – 10 titles in 12 years – that will not likely be surpassed in Swiss football. This is not only a testament to the players but also to the organization that has managed to consistently bring in Swiss talent year after year and put them in positions to win.

 

Daniel Mackenzie is a Press Association graduate who has worked in B2B journalism and comms in the third sector; with experience in both education and human rights. He has played football for the London Warriors for the last 15 years as well as the