Swiss playoffs set for this weekend

The Swiss Federation of American Football – SAFV – National League semifinals kick off this weekend.

The defending champion and 9-1 Calanda Broncos who finished first during the regular season will take on the fourth place 4-6 Basel Gladiators in one semifinal. The other features the second place Geneva Seahawks who finished with an 8-2 record against the 6-4 Bern Grizzlies who ended the season in third place in the SAFV National League standings.

Calanda Broncos 1st (9-1) – Basel Gladiators 4th (4-6)

The Broncos and Gladiators have met twice in 2019 with Calanda winning both games, 41-35 and 43-14. After opening the season 1-1, Calanda has won eight straight including those two wins over the Gladiators. They have averaged 35 points a game while giving up 153 in the 10 game regular season. Quarterback Conner Manning has been outstanding all season and he has a number of weapons. The Broncos pushed European champions,  Austria’s Swarco Raiders, to the limit in the Central European Football League title game, finally succumbing 46-42 after leading in the fourth quarter. The Gladiators enter the game on a three game losing streak. Quarterback Bo Coleman, who was injured earlier in the season, is back though and is fully healthy though.

Basel head coach Dwaine Wood has taken his team to the semifinals every year but one since  entering the top league in 2010, winning the title once, in 2014. For Calanda, this is the 11th straight trip to the semifinals. They have won the title eight times in that time span, three times since head coach Geoff Buffum took over in 2015.

Geneva Seahawks 2nd (8-2) – Bern Grizzlies 3rd (6-4)

This is the second straight year that these two teams have faced each other in the semifinals. In 2018, the Seahawks got past Bern 21-14 in a hard fought contest, to reach the Swiss title game.  In the two games between the two this season, Geneva took the first one 34-10 while the Grizzlies were the winners in the second game, beating the Seahawks 28-7. Seahawks quarterback Kyle Graves has thrown for 1,576 yards and 22 TDs this year against only four interceptions. He has played extremely well. Meanwhile, Bern head coach Wayne Jacobs is confident in his team, despite suffering two losses to Calanda to finish the regular season.  Although underdogs he says he is proud of their progress this season. Quarterback TJ Gordon has performed well and along with running back Moritz Stein has kept the Grizzlies in games.

Geneva head coach Larry Legault is a veteran of playoff football. He took Geneva to the final in 2018 but while coaching the Thonon Black Panthers in France, his teams reached the championship game six times, winning it twice. The Grizzles are making their 11th straight trip to the semifinals. They reached the final twice, 2015 and 2016, winning the Swiss title in 2016



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