Team Austria scores on trick play to edge Sweden for U19 European Championship gold medal

With the IFAF U19 European Championship gold medal game on the line in the fourth quarter and Team Austria, the defending champions, trailing Sweden 10-7, Austrian head coach Roman Floredo dipped into his bag of tricks and pulled out a touchdown play that gave his team a 13-10 lead they would never relinquish, earning Austria their fifth straight U19 European Championship title.

It was an age-old play that was executed to perfection.

With nine and a half minutes left and Sweden ahead 10-7, Team Austria had a first down on their own 33-yard line. Quarterback Elias Zaricin stepped back and tossed the ball to receiver Fabian Eder in the left flat who then turned and heaved the ball downfield to a streaking Nils Keimel who was already in behind the Swedish secondary. Keimel hauled in the pass raced untouched the rest of the way for the winning touchdown.

That’s not how the game started though. Team Austria didn’t look like they would need a special play. They came out looking like the dominant team they were in the 2019 final in which they blanked the Swedes, marching down to the 20-yard line. Although a fumble spoiled an excellent scoring chance the Austrian defense held strong and forced a fourth down punt from inside the Swedish 10-yard line, giving the offense the ball at Sweden’s 25-yard line. Running back Raphael Komeyli-Birjandi scored on the next play and Austria took a 7-0 lead.

Austrian RB Raphael Komeyli-Birjandi scoring Photo: DB-Photography

At that point, Austria looked like the defending champions they were.

However, Sweden then stepped up their game and from then on, the first half of the game turned into a defensive standoff with neither team making any headway. Austria went into the break still up 7-0.

Team Sweden came out in the third quarter looking sharp as quarterback Max Lambert began finding his receivers, and then running back Oliver Lundberg stepped up. The Swedes marched down to the Austrian two-yard line and then Lambert barged his way in to tie the game at 7-7.

Again, the Austrian offense stalled, this time at the Swedish 24-yard line. Lambert took over and marched his team 63 yards in nine plays down to the Austrian 13-yard line from where Rasmus Frick kicked a 30-yard field goal to give the visitors a 10-7 lead late in the third quarter.

The way the Swedish defense was playing, it looked as if that three-point lead might last. The Swedes bottled Austria up again in their own end, but then with just under three minutes gone in the fourth, Austria’s double pass play worked to perfection.

Although there was still plenty of time left, Sweden could not mount a consistent offense the rest of the way. Both defenses again held fast until late when Austria reached the Swedish one-yard line as time ran out.

Watch for the winning touchdown at the 1:57:46 mark

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