IFAF Europe Champions League First Round Produces Surprises

The IFAF Europe Champions League featuring some of the best club teams in Europe kicked off this past weekend with three games and a couple of shockers.

Milano Seamen (Italy) 50 – SBB Vukovi Belgrade (Serbia) 34

IFAF Europe - CL2016-Vukovi-Seamen

Tournament finalists for the past two years, SBB Vukovi Belgrade now find themselves in jeopardy of not even qualifying for the final four semifinal. The Milano Seamen from Italy, traveled to Serbia and stunned Belgrade, taking a 30-13 halftime lead and then holding on for the win.

Seamen quarterback Garrett Safron threw five touchdown passes in the win. Vukovi threatened to overcome the halftime deficit, scoring three third-quarter touchdowns to close the gap to 37-34, but Milano came back with two more in the final quarter to seal the win.

Triangle Razorbacks (Denmark) 20 – Prague Lions (Czech Republic) 7

IFAF Europe - CL2016-Razorbacks-LionsThe Triangle Razorbacks capitalized on their home field advantage, scoring two first-half touchdowns on passes from quarterback Mark Delancellotti to Ryan Berry and Jacob Rothausen to take a 14-0 halftime lead over the Prague Lions.

Despite a third-quarter push, the Lions could not score more than one touchdown while the Razorbacks Nicolai Molter added another for the Danish hosts for the win.

Istanbul Koç Rams (Turkey) 47 – St. Petersburg Griffins (Russia) 17

IFAF Europe - CL2016-KocPetersburg

The Turkish league runner-ups jumped out to an early first quarter 13-7 lead and never looked back. Quarterback Palmer Wilsie threw two touchdown passes, one to Strahina Stepovic and the other to Paul Morant and then added two more in the second quarter, another one to Morant, to take a 33-7 lead at halftime.

The Griffins, 2015 Russian champions were shell shocked and could do nothing to turn back the Turkish onslaught. The only bright light for the visitors was wide receiver Daniil Musienko who took a kickoff back 92 yards for the Griffins only score in the first half.

The carnage continued in the second half as the Rams added two more Wilsie passing touchdowns, one to Stepovic, and running back Steven Strother scored on a 72 yard run from scrimmage.

St. Petersburg finally stemmed the tide late in the game scoring a fourth quarter touchdown and a field goal as the Rams eased off.

Roger Kelly is an editor and a writer for AFI. A former PR Director the B.C. Lions of the Canadian Football League for 7 years, he now lives in Sweden writing about and scouting American Football throughout the world.