Austria: Danube Dragons defeat Vienna Vikings to clinch 2nd and home field advantage

On the final day of the Austrian Football League’s regular season, the Danube Dragons edged the Vienna Vikings 14-10 in a gritty, physical contest that leapfrogged the Dragons into second place past Vienna in the standings to earn homefield advantage in the playoffs.

Needless to say, Danube head coach Fred Armstrong was happy:

“What a great day – the stands were packed with fans and we beat our rivals and we hope to see each other again in the finals,”

Led by the power running of young Austrian running back Kevin Stanisi who had 12 carries for 123 yards and one touchdown and scored Danube’s other touchdown on a 12 yard reception, the Dragons maintained ball control throughout the game gaining a total of 177 yard rushing. Stanisi, a product of the Danube youth program had returned from high school in the United States in time for the final few games of the regular season and was a key to the Danube power offense. Quarterback Alex Thury threw for 99 yards and one touchdown.

Armstrong was impressed with the poise of his running back:

“Kevin comes from the Dragons youth program and has been fortunate enough to experience football at the HS level in West Virginia. He ran the ball against the Vikings with a lot on the line, showing us all he is a baller in BIG games also. Proud of him and can’t wait to see what he does next”

In the previous nine games of the regular season, Vienna had surrendered an average of only 36 yards per game.

Danube QB Alex Thury #14 Photo: Alexander Forst 

For the Vikings, running back Devonte Jordan rushed for 79 yards on 20 carries and Vienna’s lone touchdown while Kevin Wojta had six carries for 97 yards.

However, it was Vienna that opened the scoring as Jordan took a handoff from quarterback Michael Szabo and weaved his way into the end zone from eight yards out to give the visitors a 7-0 in the first quarter.

Danube responded early in the second quarter as Thury connected with Stanisi on a 12 yard touchdown pass to tie the game up at 7-7. Then, with less than a minute left in the first half, Stanisi struck again. The teenager took the handoff from Thury, found a seam to his left and raced almost untouched 61 yards to the end zone to extend the lead to 14-7.

Vienna RB Devonte Jordan rushed for 79 yards and 1 TD. Photo: Alexander Forst

The second half developed into a true defensive battle. Neither team surrendered much. Finally, early in the fourth quarter, Vienna reached the Dragons 22 yard line but had to settle for a 39 yard field goal from kicker Kevin Voznyak.

The Dragons will now face the third place Graz Giants in the semifinals while Vienna will take on the unbeaten first place Prague Black Panthers in the other semifinal matchup.

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