Prague Black Panthers Repeat as Czech Bowl Champions

When you win the previous Czech Bowl edition by 40 points (see our gonzo-style coverage from last year) and you add a former member of the Oakland Raiders (NFL), Kyle Newhall-Caballero, as your starting quarterback, suffice to say that you are the clear-cut favorites to repeat as CAAF champions the year after which they did decisively beating the Pribram Bobcats 52-13.

The Prague Black Panthers left no doubt in this 22nd edition of the Czech Bowl, going straight for the Bobcats jugular, knocking them out cold and leaving them stunned on their way back to the locker room at the half (31-0). In a repeat of last year’s Czech Bowl matchup, the players from the Czech capital again showed why they are without any equivalent in the country.

IMG_2043After a slow first possession, which saw the defending champion settle for a field-goal, the American quarterback Newhall-Caballero, voted as the Austrian Football League (AFL) MVP 2015, delivered four touchdowns in the next 17 minutes of football to four different receivers (Martin ŠindlerPavel HruzíkJakub Woleský and Jan Dundáček).

On offense, the Black Panthers were exploiting their speed and size to the fullest, running some devastating out-routes or slants for which the Bobcats linebackers and defensive-backs had no answer.

Defensively, the Black Panthers defensive linemen and linebacker corps were preventing the Bobcats quarterback, American-born Columbus Givens, to exploit his passing or running skills by putting heavy pressure on his pocket and filling the possible gaps he would need to just take off. His first pass-attempt also ended up in an interception which certainly did not help his confidence…

With the game nearly over at the half, the Panthers might have come back from the locker room already thinking of the trophy they were certain to hold 24 mns later. The Bobcats took advantage of it and, on a 3rd-and-2 from their own 26-yd line, Givens found Daniel Vitis who run it to the house for a 74yd touchdown, finally putting the Bobcats on the board (31-7).

However, the Black Panthers had now put Jan Dundáček under center and the Czech international athlete showed why he was voted Offensive Player of the Year in the AFL in that second half. Gaining yards through the air or on the ground, he ate the clock in that 3rd quarter. Taking over the ball with 11 minutes to go, he chewed up a 5 minute drive which ended in a 2-yard touchdown pass to Woleský (his 2nd of the night). The lone Bobcat goal now was to try and avoid a bigger rout…something which was hindered right away with Givens’ second interception thrown of the night (and intercepted by the same player, Czech International #52 Jan Svoboda, voted MVP of the game later on), leading to another Black Panthers touchdown, on an 8-yard run by Jan Sykora (45-7).

IMG_2168With the Bobcats entering the 4th quarter in an “all or nothing” stance, by taking every 4th down opportunity, the Black Panthers took over the ball on downs closer than usual with 11 minutes to go in the game.

One minute and 23 seconds later, Jan Dundáček was throwing his second touchdown of the day to Tomáš Pátek to make things even worse for Pribram (52-7). The eventual ensuing touchdown by the Bobcats (Givens to Vitis again, but on an 18-yd pass that time) came up with only 2 mns to go in the game but was celebrated with joy on the sidelines and in the stands by the Pribram players and supporters, rejoiced at the thought of ending on a positive note.

American football being what it is in Czech Republic, both teams were celebrated by both groups of supporters for their dedication to the game all-year long and their effort during this somehow lopsided final. With their roster, their plays and their Austrian League experience (where they lost in the semi-final this year), the Prague Black Panthers seem more than ever destined to reign over Czech American football for years to come. Besides financial problems, which forced them to release their American coach midway through the season last year, it is really hard to see another team catching up with them anytime soon.

Avatar
Benoît likes every sport, from the obvious (Soccer, Football, Basketball) to the most obscure (Curling, etc). In his spare time, he writes, in French, for Reverse Magazine and its NBA-centric basketball website, basketsession.com, as well as their women’s basketball website, ladyhoop.com, being a regular on USK Praha’s Euroleague games. You can also find my assembled words on the NFL-centric French website, TouchdownActu, where I foolishly accepted to write a weekly MVP column.
Skip to toolbar