The Calanda Broncos will open their season Saturday, August 15 when they play host to the St. Gallen Bears as the Swiss “post COVID-19 lockdown friendly” season kicks off.
This will be the first game of three to be played this weekend after the the Swiss American Football Federation, SAFV, teams voted for a fall playing schedule for the eight teams who chose to participate.
The teams are divided into two regional groups, East and West, basically to cut down on travel costs. Each team will play a total of six games with the season ending on September 20.
The Broncos and Bears play in the East group along with the Winterthur Warriors and Argovia Pirates. One of the critical “gentlemen’s rules” for the season to be able to be played was that all the games would be played without import players. The only non-Swiss players allowed will be European players already on the roster and non-Swiss residents who have lived in the country for five continuous years.
Which is where Broncos head coach Geoff Buffum makes this game all the more interesting. Due to a shortage of quarterbacks, the former Azusa Pacific University and Swarco Raiders signal caller will be the starting quarterback for his team against St. Gallen. He falls into the category allowed as he is deemed a “local”, married to a woman from Chur, where Calanda is based, and has lived continuously in the country for more than five years with a residence permit. So he is eligible.
The 44 year old Buffum, who has worked hard for the past four and a half months to get back into a semblance of playing shape, will be playing conservative football today, staying in the pocket. Make no mistake, he will be relying on his team:
“I rarely left the pocket as a young man, so I don’t see myself going anywhere as an old one. I’m going be surrounded by an incredible amount of talent, so it’s not going to require anything special on my part to move the football.”
The St. Gallen Bears normally play in Switzerland’s B division while the Broncos are the defending Swiss champs.
Watch the game live here. St. Gallen Bears @ Calanda Broncos, Aug. 15, 18:00 CET (12 noon ET)