Austria: Danube Dragons down Salzburg Ducks to secure first win of the season

The Danube Dragons opened the Austrian Football League season this past weekend by beating the Salzburg Ducks 31-21 in the only game played in the AFL.

Despite a final score which seemed to indicate that one of the league favorites walked out of their first homefield contest with a comfortable victory, the game started off anything but that.

The first quarter saw the Dragons struggle to move the ball, with AFL veteran quarterback Chad Jeffries and newly arrived import receiver Cam Lewis trying to find a rhythm. The Ducks, on the other hand, benefited from great field position and fearless play by quarterback Kris Denton which allowed them to get on the board early in the first half.

Danube QB Chad Jeffries Photo: Alexander Forst

Second-year quarterback Denton went deep on the Dragons secondary time and time again in the absence of First-Team All-American defensive back Brian Peavy (Iowa State, DI), managing to rack up 174 yards and two touchdowns through the air and a further 76 yards with his legs in the first half alone.

The Dragons, trailing 21-7, were able to claw some of the points back towards the end of the second period, as a last-minute touchdown by Lewis brought the score to 21-14 at the half.

This was anything but the start the Dragons had hoped for, after proving to be only a few steps behind Austrian powerhouses Vienna Vikings and Swarco Raiders in the AFL last year. But an unflinching response from the Dragons and a 57-yard kickoff return for a touchdown by Lewis to tie the game to open the second half proved to be all the motivation the squad needed.

Lewis and running back Mattes Dominik Peter took control in the second half. Lewis finished with 117 yards and two touchdowns on just six receptions, while Peter gashed the Ducks defense for 156 yards and a touchdown as Danube scored 17 unanswered points in the final two periods to put the game away.

Despite this opening weekend victory, the Dragons will need to stiffen up on defense moving forward if they hope to claim the Austrian title this year.


Daniel Mackenzie is a Press Association graduate who works in journalism and communications in the third sector. Daniel began playing football for the London Warriors and Team Great Britain and has since played across Europe.