Danube Dragons end unbeaten season with Austrian Football League crown

Danube Dragons RB Silas Nacita #5 scored 5 touchdowns in the Dragons championship win over the Vienna Vikings Photo: Alexander Forst

The Danube Dragons were crowned champions Austrian Soccer League (AFL) after their 51-29 victory over the Vienna vikings.

This victory completes a perfect series of 12-0 by the Dragons this season which ended with austria football’s highest honour, Austrian Bowl victory.

The Dragons started as league favorites this year following the departure of the “A teams” of the two Austrian power plants, the Raiders Tirol and Vienna vikingsto European Football League (ELF).

In addition to Raiders and vikings departure from the AFLsix of the ten teams that now make up the league were in Division 2 last year, paving the way for favorable odds for Danube.

Danube Dragons QB Chad Jeffries threw for 164 yards and 2 touchdowns Photo: Alexander Forst

As in many Europetalent drain in Austria to ELF was significant. But the Dragons had done a great job retaining talent with just one or two key players leaving; especially Philipp Haun, arguably the best player in Austria.

Veteran Danube quarterback Chad Jeffries opened the season against the Salzburg Ducks with some growing pains as new head coach Brett Morgan asked for more Azusa Peaceful (NCAA D.II) alumnus. But the depth of talent and excellent coaching was enough to see the team through a half-time deficit and secure an opening week win.

And it is from now on that the Dragons came out on top and dominated the rest of the league. Jeffries’ numbers started to climb through the roof with help from importer Cam Lewis as well as a miserly defense featuring defensive backs like Brain Peavy, Matthias Rebl and Paul Schachner.

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Over the weeks, the Dragons won impressive victories over Graz Giants, Vienna Vikings and Black Panthers of Pragueall considered the best teams in the league.

With the playoffs fast approaching and only one of their regular season games being decided by less than a touchdown, the Austrian the crown seemed like a sure thing for the Dragons. However, as the season drew to a close, the team was struck by the unexpected loss of Lewis.

Danube WR Clemens Hareter #87 Photo: Alexander Forst

But for every cloud there is a silver lining, and for the Dragons that silver liner came the way of Silas Nacita, arguably one of the most electrifying players in Europe during the last years. Although Nacita does not strictly correspond to the style of play of Dragonshe was too good a prospect to pass up.

Nacita arrived just days before their playoff match against the Telfs Patriots and immediately took over, rushing for three touchdowns and a 31-13 win to win the Dragons an appearance in the Austrian Bowl against the Vienna vikings.

The first time the Dragons faces Viennait was a total attacking spectacle for both sides with the match ending 57-42 in favor of the Dragons. It was a game in which Jeffries threw for 323 yards and four touchdowns on just 13 completions.

The championship match did not disappoint either. After a relatively slow start, the scoreline exploded in the second quarter as both teams embarked on an attacking foray. But towards the end of the second quarter, it was clear that the vikings would have a hard time following Dragons who continued to stack it.

Viennese Vikings QB Nico Hrouda #7 Photo: Alexander Forst

Jeffries had played the bigger role in the regular season while the dirty work was left to Nacita in the playoff win. But the two combined in the Austrian Bowl with Jeffries throwing two touchdowns, both to Nacita, and rushing for one and Nacita recovering three more on the ground.

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This assault was too much for the vikings and left the Dragons crossing the finish line with dominance, something that had manifested throughout the season despite numerous injuries and organizational challenges.

What the future holds now for Dragons is not clear. Their performances seem to indicate that they might be better suited in a league with tougher competition. This would clearly point to the ELF and an appointment with the vikings and Raiders. But in the meantime, the team will certainly look back on a perfect season and its first Austrian championship for more than 10 years.

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