Austria: Chad Jeffries has a day as Danube Dragons rout Graz Giants

After the SsangYong Danube Dragons opted out of the 2020 season in Austria last year due to the pandemic, with the Austrian Football League title being decided in a two-team playoff series, the Dragons were eager to come out and stamp their mark on the league. And the Dragons did just that with a convincing win over the Projekt Spielberg Graz Giants in Vienna Saturday, 35 – 16.

The game was somewhat of a Azusa Pacific (NCAA DII) reunion with starting Dragons quarterback Chad Jeffries (#12) and Giants receiver Darrell Adams Jr. (#9) both on the football team in 2015; but there was no love lost between the two teams.

Jeffries and the Dragons came out in the first half firing on all cylinders. With a heavy dose of Dragons running back Dominik Mattes (#2) and a methodical passing game, Jeffries went 6/6 in the first drive topping it off with a nine-yard touchdown reception from Felix Reisacher (#11).

Next up, Giants. A 55-yard drive by the Giants stalled after a great defensive effort by the Dragons defense, forcing them to settle for a 32-yard field-goal. The remainder of the game seemed to mirror this almost uniformly.

Late in the second quarter Giants quarterback Conor Miller (#18) connected with Philipp Sommer (#4) in the seam for a 31-yard touchdown pass. But the Dragons shot straight back on the following drive with a 21-yard bomb of their own from Jeffries to Philipp Haun (#13) going in at the half Dragons up 21 – 10.

Late in the third Giants had a few penalties swing their way, some strong running and a bit more involvement from ex-NFL receiver Adams Jr. leading to another touchdown from Sommer (#4). But the game had already begun to get away by then. A blocked extra-point left the score at 28 – 16 Dragons coming into the fourth quarter.

The game ended 35 – 16 with Jeffries putting on a show finishing 17 of 25 for 214 yards and five touchdowns.

Jeffries was pleased with his team’s performance:

“I think the game against the Giants showed how hungry we were to play football again. We executed our game plan in all three phases of the game and we are very happy with our performance. Now we can watch the film and learn from our mistakes and have great focus going into the next game against the Vikings.”

The Vikings are always a well coached team and we have a big task in front of us, but I believe we have a really good team and we are gonna be ready to go with two weeks of preparation.
Each has tough games ahead with the Dragons facing off against the defending title holders, the Dacia Vienna Vikings in two weeks while the Giants take on the 2019 Austrian Bowl winners, the Swarco Raiders.

Watch the highlights here:

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.