CEFL: Danube Dragons dominate Firenze Guelfi to advance to semifinals

The Danube Dragons invited the Guelifi Firenze into the Dragon’s lair this past weekend and walked away with a convincing 45-20 Central European Football League win taking full advantage of the turnovers gifted by the Italian squad.

The Dragons started the game by airing the ball out with as quarterback Alexander Thury found a wide open Bernhard Ruscher sprinting downfield for a 71 yard touchdown giving the Austrians a 7-0 lead right out of the gate.

Two possessions later, Danube struck again but this time it was the defense as Dragons defensive back Paul Schachner scooped up a fumble by Guelifi quarterback Ryan Deluca and returned it 70 yards for a touchdown to boost the score to 14-0, still in the first quarter.

However, the Guelfi made no mistakes on their next drive as Deluca hit Cosimo Casati with a screen pass and he took it from the flats to the house for the Italians first score of the day.

Danube responded by unleashing their secret weapon, a stud of European Football, running back Madre London, who broke for a big 20 yard gain to bring the ball down to the Firenze 24 yard line. Although the drive ended deep in Fienze territory London made his presence known.

Photo: Alexander Forst

The quarter ended with Danube up 14-7.

With the Guelfi offense struggling, Danube again marched the ball into the Firenze red zone but stalled. Macrel Stefanek booted a 34 yard field goal to extend the lead to 17-7.

Firenze retaliated two possession later as Deluca moved his team down to the Danube one yard line and handed off to Stefano Bartoccioni who made no mistake and with five minutes left in the first half the lead was reduced to 17-14.

Danube did not go quietly into halftime with Thury finding Samuel Imarhiagbe a magical three times to get his team near the red zone. Linebacker Hakeem Kinard doing double duty took a direct snap and weaved his way into the end zone in to cap the drive and boost the score to 24-14 heading into the break.

Both teams opened the second half by turning the ball over on downs. Then Casati fumbled a toss from Deluca and the Dragons recovered on the Italians‘ 30 yard line with just under five minutes left in the third quarter.

The home team took advantage of the short field when Thury lateralled to Lukas Gold who broke two tackles heading to the end zone and increased the lead to 31-14.

Firenze Guelfi RB Cosimo Casati #32 Photo: Alexander Forst

More disaster for the Italian side late in the quarter as Deluca fumbled and after another fumble the Dragons ended up with the ball on their own 40 yard line. Behind the running of London, Danube reached the 28 yard line and then on a fourth and nine, Thury hit London over the middle and he made no mistake, spinning away from tacklers and waltzing into the end zone to up the score to 38-14 with 10 minutes to go in the game.

Back-to-back interceptions drained some time off the clock as Deluca was intercepted by Nils Murwald  and then Luckas Schramm, the new quarterback for Danube, was picked off by Dejion Lynch at the Firenze 40 yard line. On the very next play, Deluca stepped back and tossed the ball over the middle to a racing Casati who took it all the way to reduce the lead to 38-20.

The ensuing onside kick failed though and Danube took over. Schramm marched the Dragons down to the Firenze 30 yard line and then on a fourth down connected with Lukas Gold who walked into the end zone for the game’s final touchdown.

With the win, Danube advances to the CEFL semifinals on June 1 when they will meet the French defending champions, the Thonon Black Panthers.

Chris has been a part of American Football for almost a decade playing for Lincoln and Gloucestershire University teams, he also has history covering British University American Football for the past 3 years and also acts as commentator for some of