ELF: Barcelona Dragons QB Zach Edwards looks for vengeance in playoff battle against Vienna Vikings

On Sunday, Barcelona Dragons’ quarterback Zach Edwards will suit up against the Vienna Vikings in the European League of Football (ELF) semifinals in a bid to earn a spot Championship game.

Edwards has been on a tear all year and has finished the regular season as the league’s top passer with 3,325 yards, 36 touchdowns and a further 549 yards and four touchdowns on the ground.

The young Minnesota quarterback’s success, and his European football experience in general, has solely centered in Spain after coming to the country back in 2021 to play for the L’Hospitalet Pioneers in Spain’s LNFA Serie B.

Following Edwards graduation from St. Scholastica College (NCAA DIII) in 2020, the 6’4″, 220 pounder was left with little opportunity to continue his football journey in North America with the pandemic ravaging football life globally.

It was shortly after this that the then Pioneers general manager Bart Iaccarino, reached out to Edwards’ head coach to enquire about the possibility of him coming over to Spain to play for the 2021 season.

But little did Edwards know that he was stepping into European football at a time when the sport was about to explode with the emergence of the ELF. It was during this time that Iaccarino was pulled over to the Dragons as general manager and wanted to take his starting quarterback with him.

Edwards’ first year in the league was modest to put it lightly. The Dragons finished the year 3-7 and missed out on the playoffs. Since then however, the Dragons stormed into 2022 as one of the most dangerous teams in the league.

Edwards puts this change down to a few factors:

“We had a lot of guys coming into ELF season one. A lot of us didn’t know what to expect. You had expectations and ideas of what it might be like but no one really knew how demanding it would be and what it took to be a successful football team.

“This year we saw all our domestic guys take it really seriously this offseason. They now knew what it took and that they really needed to put the work in during the offseason to compete. We’re reaping the benefits of that now by competing in the playoffs.”

Two significant additions to the roster this year that have helped Edwards and the Dragons achieve their success are former NFL coach Andrew Weidinger and former Washington State (NCAA DI) wideout Kyle Sweet.

Edwards credits Weidinger as being a players’ coach who has done a great job connecting with the players as well as making his own job easy by making sure the ball is put in Sweet’s hands as often as possible and letting him work his magic.

But despite all the overwhelming success, the Dragons have not been able to play football for all four quarters on a consistent basis. This trend has been most prevalent in the losses to Vienna and Hamburg which were all decided in the fourth quarter. 

Edwards says that if his team can play their football for all four quarters, they can beat any team in the league. Their first three quarters against Vienna showed this as they dominated the game and scoreline. But football is a game of four quarters, not three.

If the Dragons want to be the first non-German team in the championship game, they will need to bring their A-game. Luckily for them, they have the best passer in the league and probably the league’s MVP front runner in Edwards.

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.