Second half surge carries Copenhagen Towers past Aab 89ers in Danish season opener

Before the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic forced the sudden cancellation of the 2020 Danish season, the Copenhagen Towers were an undefeated title favorite looking to cruise through the playoffs.

It took some time to knock the rust off on Saturday, but it appears the same will be true this season.

The Towers were deadlocked with the Aab 89ers for much of the first half of the National Ligaen season opener, but a second half surge resulted in 26 unanswered points and a decisive 38-13 victory for the home team.

The fireworks began early in the opening frame. 89ers quarterback Shelton Eppler dropped back to pass deep in his own end, but Eivind Rølles came free on the corner blitz and knocked the ball loose. The Towers recovered and Anton Witmeur punched it in from four yards out to open the scoring.

The two-point conversion fell short and Eppler returned with a vengeance, getting his team out of trouble with two impressive scrambles before finding Magnus Urth on a 38-yard bomb to get in scoring position. The import pivot avoided pressure and capped the drive with a seven-yard touchdown to Jens Eg to tie the game at six after a failed extra point.

Copenhagen Towers DE Marcus Boesen #90 Photo: Mikkel Bo Rasmussen / 1st Down Photo (

A fantastic return from Michel Konate got the ball to the 45-yard line and Copenhagen turned to Witmeur to grind down the field. The back managed 42 yards on six carries on the drive, setting up a play action touchdown pass on the goal line to Jakob Green and another failed two-point attempt.

Both teams fell short  in the of the mark in the second quarter, but Eppler came out of the half on fire, dinking and dunking his way down the field with the help of his favorite target Urth. The receiver ended the drive with an outstretched six-yard catch at the back of the endzone and AaB took a one-point lead with the extra point.

It wouldn’t last long. Konate returned the ensuing kickoff to mid-field and quarterback Randall Schroeder showed off his legs with a 20-yard run. Anton Witmeur took it from there, finishing with a four-yard touchdown run, and Mark Peters hauled in the first successful two-point attempt. A Mads Nielsen sack and unsportsmanlike conduct penalty from coach Austin Jones on the ensuing play forced the 89ers to punt from their own endzone on the next drive. The ball traveled only twelve yards and Witmeur was back in the endzone just two plays later.

Towers RB Anton Witmeur taking handoff. Witmeur had 100 yards rushing and scored 3 TDs in 38-13 win over AaB 89ers. Photo: Mikkel Bo Rasmussen / 1st Down Photo (

The two-point attempt was again short but the 89ers immediately went four and out and Schroeder overcame a string of holding penalties to find Magnus Jensen for a spectacular 13-yard toe-dragging touchdown catch to take a 19-point lead early in the fourth. Backup quarterback Mads Jakobsen added a one-yard touchdown run on the last play of the game and the Towers surged to the 38-13 victory.

Quarterback Randall Schroeder completed just six of 18 passes for 68 yards and two touchdowns in what was a dominant performance on the ground for Copenhagen. Behind a bruising offensive line, Anton Witmeur carried 18 times for 100 yards and three touchdowns and backup Asger Mølbæk added nine rushes for 85 yards.

Defensively, the Towers pass rush got home six times and the team was stout against the run, allowing just two total yards from running back Jakob Trochmann and offensive weapon Thomas Zinck. Magnus Larsen got home late with 2.5 sacks, while Eivind Rølles, Michael Kristiansen, and Mads Nielsen had one each.

For the 89ers, Shelton Eppler ran the passing offense to near perfection for his overmatched team. He finished 25 of 33 for 222 yards and 2 touchdowns, while adding 44 yards on the ground. Receiver Magnus Urth was a standout, hauling in 12 passes for 140 yards and a score. Jeppe Christensen added his team’s only sack.

AaB 89ers QB Shelton Eppler #5 looking for running room Photo: Mikkel Bo Rasmussen / 1st Down Photo (

Despite the turmoil of the last year, the Towers‘ second half proves they remain a force to be reckoned with in Denmark. That will be put to the test next week when they take on their chief rival, the Triangle Razorbacks, on the road. Meanwhile, the 89ers will have two weeks to prepare for the Søllerød Gold Diggers, hoping their quick passing offense will enough to get them back in the win column.

J.C. Abbott is a student at the University of British Columbia and amateur football coach in Vancouver, Canada. A CFL writer for 3DownNation, his love of travel has been the root of his fascination with the global game.