Serbia’s Champions take down Slovenian Ljubljana Silverhawks capping 2014 Season!Belgrade SBB Vukovi from Serbia have captured their second championship trophy of 2014 by winning CEFL Bowl IX, beating the Slovenian squad, the Ljubljana Silverhawks 27-17. The game was played in Ivančna Gorica, Slovenia, where SBB Vukovi trailed for much of the game, coming from behind in the fourth quarter to gain the title. This was SBB Vukovi’s ninth appearance in the CEFL Bowl and sixth win, making them by far the most successful team in CEFL (Central European Football League) history.
The Silverhawks jumped out to a fast start when running back Mihailo Josović broke free for a 60 yard run on the very first play from scrimmage. Ljubljana couldn’t capitalize though and had to settle for a field goal by Aleš Zakšek to take the lead 3-0. After an unsuccessful SBB Vukovi attack, the Silverahwks advanced the ball down to the red zone with receptions by Matic Tomše and Eugen Sumič, helped in part by a string of SBB Vukovi penalties. Silverhawks quarterback Kenric McNeal then called his own number, taking the ball in to extend the lead to 10-0. SBB Vukovi responded with catches by Pavle Plamenac and Mario Lugonja. Then Vukovi quarterback Shaun Rutherford scampered in to cut the lead to 10-7 for the Silverhawks in the closing seconds of the first quarter.
Vukovi’s defense opened the second quarter by taking more penalties, letting the Silverhawks advance the ball into Vukovi territory. Ljubljana struck again, as McNeal found reliable target Tomše who took the ball in to increase the lead to 17-7. . On the next series, Vukovi’s offense moved the ball into the Siverhawks’ red zone with the catches by Plamenac and Marko Marić, and the running of Rutherford and Josović. But they took another penalty, this one for 15 yards, moving them out of field goal range and the first half ended 17-7.
SBB Vukovi entered the third period rejuvenated and with Rutherford and Josović’s carrying the ball, Rutherford finally hit Plamenac for a touchdown to reduce the Silverhawks lead to 17-14. On the ensuing kickoff Tomše’s return took Ljubljana into Vuikovi territory to give his offense a chance to score again. However, Vukovi defensive lineman Marko Milovanović hit McNeal hard, forcing a fumble which Sava Petrović recovered. But this time again, Vukovi is stymied and they punt the ball back to Ljubljana, who promptly threw a pick to give the ball back to Vukovi.
At the start of the fourth quarter, Vukovi’s ground attack started punishing Ljubljana’s defensive line taking Vukovi into Silverhawks territory again but the offense stalled once more. The Silverhawks offense then knocked on SBB Vukovi’s door with another long McNeal pass to Tomše but ended up turning the ball over again as Vukovi defensive back Marko Bates picked the ball off and took it to the Silverhawks’ 18 yard line. Josović ran the ball in from there and Vukovi took the lead for the first time. The Silverhawks special teams blocked the extra point though and the score was 20-17 for Vukovi.
Right then, Vukovi’s defense stiffened, not allowing Ljubljana to make another first down. After the ensuing punt, Shaun Rutherford took the game over, singe-handedly carrying the ball down the field, capping the drive with a touchdown. The Silverhawks could not respond and Vukovi ended up running out the clock and celebrating another championship.
Shaun Rutherford was named game MVP by the football reporters on hand. The other title for Vukovi was the Serbian championship which they won earlier this month.
Credit: Oli Novak & www.european-league.com