The Dacia Vienna Vikings take their longest road trip of the season so far when they travel to Barcelona, Spain to face the defending Spanish champions, the Badalona Dracs in European Club Team Competition play Saturday, April 7.
The Vikings are coming off an ugly 36-14 loss to the Graz Giants on Easter Monday in the Austrian Football League, which forced the team to take a long, hard look at their weaknesses, to adjust and to re-focus within a very short week of preparation.
Head coach Chris Calaycay:
“Monday night we watched tape, on Tuesday all our thoughts were already directed on the Badalona Dracs. We won’t change anything about our philosophy, but we have to pay attention to the little things and details: Minimizing errors and avoiding turnovers and penalties are key. We can’t play like we did in Graz and expect a win. Practices and meetings are on our daily schedule now. Friday night we will have our final evening meeting in the team hotel in Badalona.”
Vienna is 2-2 in the Austrian Football League but the unexpected loss last week will make them more dangerous for Badalona. The last international game the Vikings played was against Finland’s Helsinki Roosters at home in Vienna last year. The Roosters came from behind to beat Vienna 41-37 in that contest.
Vikings quarterback Austin Herink has put up respectable numbers so far having thrown for 959 yards and 12 TDs in four games. Bernhard Seikovits is his leading target with 366 yards receiving and five touchdowns. Running back islaam Amadu has rushed for 251 yards and three touchdowns.
The Spanish League of American Football has already reached the playoff round and the Badalona Dracs are unbeaten so far.. After nine wins (the latest one was a 49-0 victory over the Zaragoza Hurricanes in the quarter finals), the Dracs are already qualified for the semifinal game that is set the second weekend in May. The Spanish Bowl will be held on May 25th– and the Dracs are heavy favorites to repeat as Spanish champions.
Badalona QB Hunter Correll leads an offense that is averaging 52 points a game while the defense has been giving up just eight. His top receiver, Guillem García leads the league in scoring. Another key to the Dracs offense is WR Taylor Ekström. Linebacker Terrell Woods leads a solid defense which also includes Jorge Hernández, Jorge Ruiz and Felipe Archila.
Dracs Head Coach Oscar Calatayud is excited about the match-up against the Vikings:
“We hope it will be a competitive battle and a game to remember! We see this matchup as a great opportunity to face one of the Top 5 teams in Europe. In 2010, we already had the chance to play the Vikings in their home stadium in Vienna, and it was a wonderful experience for our team. But we improved a lot over the past nine years. Now it is time for us to see where we stand compared to other European top teams. We know that the Vikings will come here with a team of very talented and physical players. We can’t afford to make mistakes, especially not at the beginning of the game. We saw what happened to the Razorbacks in the first quarter against the Vikings: they had flaws in their game and the damage was done.”