Switzerland: Winterthur Warriors notch last second win over Calanda Broncos

The Winterthur Warriors turned the Swiss American Football League on its head Sunday, scoring a touchdown with less than 30 seconds to play to beat the previously undefeated Calanda Broncos 22-20 before a delighted home crowd in Winterthur.

The Warriors trailed Calanda 7-0 early in the fourth quarter before the fireworks started. Winterthur quarterback Holt Claiborne engineered three fourth quarter touchdowns, the last one with 30 seconds on the clock and the defense did the rest to help secure the Warriors first win over Calanda in eight years.

The victory puts Winterthur firmly in second place with three games remaining. However, the Warriors final game of the regular season is against Calanda again.

Claiborne threw two touchdown passes and ran one in himself and was named player of the game for his performance. Wide receivers Timo  Schneckenburger and Moritz Boller caught a touchdown pass each. Safety EJ Woods made the final interception with under 20 seconds to go to seal the win.

Calanda opened the scoring on the very first possession of the game with quarterback Clark Evans running the ball in himself and looked like the first place team they were.

Winterthur RB Jery Medici Photo:© sergio brunetti

Winterthur head coach Evan Harrington definitely had a few choice words for his troops at halftime with the team trailing 7-0 and unable to mount any offense. The momentum began to change in the third quarter, as the Warriors offense began to click.

Early in the fourth quarter, Claiborne found a seam and scrambled into the end zone to even the score at 7-7. The Broncos answered as Evans ran for his second touchdown of the day to regain the lead 14-7.

Winterthur’s defense corralling Calanda RB Nate Fellberius Photo: © sergio brunetti

The Warriors came right back with Claiborne connecting with Schneckenburger and scoring the two-point conversion. Winterthur took their first lead, 15-14.

Again, Calanda responded with Evans hitting Leon Fehr with a touchdown pass with just under a minute remaining to give the Broncos a 20-15 lead.

Which set the stage for Claiborne’s heroics.

First the Warriors quarterback broke free for a 60 yard gain. And then with 30 seconds on the clock, he found Moritz Boller all alone in the end zone. 22-20 Winterthur.

Woods picked off Calanda’s last desperate hail mary pass and the Warriors started celebrating.

This win was huge redemption for the Warriors. They had lost embarrassingly a month ago to the Bern Grizzlies 48-0, and Harrington had to find a way to get his team back on track.

It looks like he did.

Photo credits: Sergio Brunetti


Roger Kelly is an editor and a writer for AFI. A former PR Director the B.C. Lions of the Canadian Football League for 7 years, he now lives in Sweden writing about and scouting American Football throughout the world.