Czech Republic kicks off 25th season

The seven team Czech League of American Football, CLAF, kicks off its 25th season season Sunday, April 1 in fitting fashion with a game between the defending champions Prague Black Panthers and bitter crosstown rivals, the Prague Lions.

The Black Panthers who have won the past five Czech titles, captured the 2017 title beating the Ostrava Steelers 28-0 in the Czech Bowl.

Expect the Black Panthers to be a contender again in 2018. as they have signed Dan Levy as their head coach. Levy is fresh off winning the title in Brazil as head coach of Belo Horizonte Sada Cruzeiro. The 33 year old has an impressive international record as a head coach and takes over a powerhouse of a team. Levy has signed linebacker Will Young from Southeast Missouri State.

The Ostrava Steelers, who reached the final in 2017 for the first time in 20 years have re-signed their key American imports, defensive back  Garrett Griffeth  who also serves as head coach and running back/offensive coordinator Luke Wildung. They have also added Finnish national team quarterback Henri Väänänen and re-signed Danish lineman Jimmi Nannberg.

Another contender to win the Czech Bowl will be the Prague Lions, who almost made it to the final in 2017 but were bumped in the semifinals by the Steelers. Returning to the Lions is defensive lineman James Brooks who also stars for IBM Big Blue in Japan. The Lions have also signed a new quarterback, Zach Bartlow, who played at Eastern Oregon and was invited to  NFL combine before playing in Finland for the Trojans. New head coach for the Lions in 2018 is Quentin Jones.

The Pardubice Stallions also return to the top league and have added quarterback Chris Forcier (UCLA,Furman University). The Stallions finished the 2017 season with a 5-5 record and have also signed linebacker Erik Hulman from University of Wisconsin Eau-Claire College.

Three new teams join the CLAF in 2018, the Brno Alligators, Brno Sigrs and Pilsen Patriots, replacing the Pribram Bobcats and Trnava Bulldogs who have dropped down to the second league in the Czech Republic.

Patriots head coach Larry Lewis has signed European veteran quarterback Layton Brown.

The Brno Alligators enter the 2018 season with a roster consisting strictly of players from the Czech Republic. Finally, the Brno Sigrs have signed wide receiver Michael Lindsey who played for the Stallions in 2017 where he finished with 2,697 total yards and, 21 touchdowns. They have also beefed up their defense with the addition of linebacker Tyrone Clark.

The CLAF regular season winds up on June 24 with the Czech Bowl scheduled for mid July.





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