Austria’s Graz Giants Edge Vikings in Vienna

The Projekt Spielberg Graz Giants (8-1) edge out the Vienna Vikings (7-2) in a thrilling finish in front of 2,830 spectators at Vienna’s FAC-Platz stadium.

Sunday’s AFL regular season final was a defensively dominated game where the favored Vikings struck first. They managed to end their first series by with a 30-yard field goal by Bernhard Seikovits, giving them a 3-0 lead. Later in the half Vikings defender Florian Grünsteidl blocked a Graz Giants field goal. Very little happened offensively on both sides until near the end of the first half. It ended as it began, with another field goal from Seikovits giving the Vikings 6-0 lead at halftime.

The second half began with a another defensive highlight. Giants defender Thomas Winter intercepted a pass from Vikings quarterback Alexander Thury. Despite good field position, the guests couldn’t convert it into points. The teams traded interceptions over the next few series. It began when Winter grabbed his second interception on a long pass attempt from Thury. Vikings’ Luis Horvath returned the favor, snatching a wild throw from Graz quarterback Chris Gubisch. Immediately after gaining possession, Thury’s end-zone pass picked off by Graz’s American import Oneil Blake. The was the fourth interception of the scoreless third quarter.

Graz Giants

The game’s first touchdown wasn’t scored until the 3 minute and 49 second mark when Vikings QB Alexander Thury found Joey Gabrick on a beautiful pass into the Graz end-zone. The PAT was good putting the Vienna up 13-0.

Graz comes to life

This was the final wake-up call for the Graz offense and the start of an incredible final run. It began with a touchdown by WR Klaus Geier with 90 seconds left in the game, drawing the Giants within striking distance, 13-7. The Vikings were forced to punt on the next possession. It was the Giants QB Christoph Gubisch who scored the equalizer with 40 seconds left in the game. Giants’ kicker Falke Garbuz converted the extra point putting the Graz up 14-13. This was also the final score when Vienna final drive came to nothing.

With the win in Vienna the Giants secure their spot in the Austrian Football League semis on July 16-17. The Vienna Vikings will have to be a apart of the July 9-10 Wild Card round.

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John McKeon is a former professional and collegiate American Football player and coach now living and working in New York. His goal is to spread news, information, and opinion on the global growth of the sport he loves.