The Swarco Raiders, Europe #4, look to capture their second straight Central European Football League championship when they face Turkish champions, the Koc Rams, Europe #17, at Tivoli Stadium in Innsbruck, June 9 in CEFL Bowl XIII.
The Raiders have prevailed against both opponents in the Western Conference, first conquering the Prague Black Panthers 44-21 in Prague, then overwhelming Poland’s Wroclaw Panthers at home. Swarco quarterback Sean Shelton was instrumental, continuing where he left off last season. This year, he has amassed 629 passing yards, seven touchdowns and no interceptions, adding 72 yards and four scores on the ground. His favorite targets have been Patrick Donahue with 224 yards and three touchdowns, and Adrian Platzgummer with 100 yards and two touchdowns. Running back Tobias Bonatti has contributed with 83 yards and 2 rushing scores.
The Rams’ road to the CEFL Bowl XIII was a bit different, although they too have a 2-0 record. First they outlasted Serbian champions, the Kragujevac Wild Boars in the opener at home beating them 47-41, and then crushed the Moscow Patriots in Moscow, 61-21. Quarterback David Whipple has led the team with 481 passing yards, 7 touchdowns and no interceptions, rushing for another 71 yards and three scores. Speedy receiver Ja Vontae Hence was good for 194 yards and three touchdowns, Ozan Özcan caught 96 yards and one score, while Kaan Özer added another 75 yards and three touchdowns. Running back Taha Çokadar also posted 90 yards and three touchdowns.
A total of 25 teams have played in the thirteen seasons of the CEFL with Serbia’s SBB Vukovi Belgrade having won the title five times. No other team has won it more than once, but Austrian teams have won it for the past two years. The Raiders beat the Kragujevac Wild Boars in 2017 for the title while the Projekt Spielberg Graz Giants beat Vukovi in 2016.