Team Czech Republic edges Team Holland in Prague

 Defenses rule the day in international friendly

Team Czech Republic edged Team Holland 12-6 in a thrilling exhibition contest  in front of an enthusiastic home crowd in Prague. On a day when the offenses sputtered, both defenses made a statement. For the Dutch team (IFAF Europe Group C participant), the result was encouraging given how far the Czech Republic (Group B) has advanced in American football in Europe. 

Team Czech vs Holland

Dutch running back Chris Smith stymied by Czech defenders

Neither team could mount much offense in the first quarter or in the game for that matter, as the defenses ruled the day. Team Czech managed to drive down to the Dutch four yard line midway through the period, but stalled there, giving up the ball on downs. Then, Holland surrendered a safety as running back Chris Smith was trapped in the end zone, giving up the two points.

Czech QB vs Holland

Jan Dundacek looking upfield to throw

Although Holland managed to make five first downs to Team Czech’s one in the first quarter, they could not find a way to make it across mid field. Quarterback Robert Bouthoorn was having consistency problems, while his receivers were dropping catchable balls. The first quarter ended 2-0 Czech.

Team Holland RB vs Czech

Chris Smith was a workhorse for Holland.

The second quarter followed the same pattern until Holland’s Ananias Semedo returned a punt into Czech territory. Bouthoorn found a rhythm, guiding Team Holland down to the Czech 24 yard line behind the running of Sidney Kunst and Chris Smith. Kunst was solid on this drive picking up a total of 20 yards before a Bouthoorn pass was intercepted at the Czech 10 yard line.

The Czech Republic wasted no time as quarterback Jan Dundacek found Jakub Wolesky for 43 yard gain down to Team Holland’s 34 yard line. The drive sputtered out there though and the half ended 2-0.

Team Czech seemed to feed off of that drive as they opened the third quarter in impressive fashion. Dundacek began using his legs, picking up a total of 37 yards in helping move the offense down to the Dutch 36 yard line. Then kicker Marek Hrubon’s 53 yard field goal attempt was deflected, but Czech lineman Pavel Hruzik picked it up and took it down to the Dutch nine yard line. Dundacek then found wide receiver Jan Rezanka in the end zone for an 11 yard touchdown pass extending the lead to 9-0.

Team Holland - Nowhere to go

Team Holland looking to score

Early in the fourth, Czech running back Petr Placek fumbled at midfield and Holland’s Job van der Klei scooped up the bowl and took it all the way to the end zone making the score now 9-6.

Team Czech responded with a clock-eating, 50 yard drive culminating in a 17 yard field goal to extend the score to 12-6. Team Holland got the ball back, but with almost no time left on the clock. H0lland could not respond and Team Czech Republic, playing in their first national team game at home since 2010, came away with the 12-6 victory.

Team Holland Head Coach Winston Ronde was very pleased with the performance of his team. “I am proud of the way we battled throughout the game. Despite having so many rookies, we became a mature and disciplined team.

The Dutch Lions took a week off and then started preparing to play Team Catalonia on October 18 in Girona, Spain.

Watch a replay of the game here.

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.