CEFL: Silverhawks Stay In The Hunt

Photo: Jure Banfi 
Duels between Docler Wolves and Ljubljana Silverhawks have always been fought hard. Both teams have been playing each other since Wolves' entrance in 2007. 

At the beginning it was all Wolves and zero Silverhawks who were a perennial bottom dwellers in the first years of CEFL. But after 2008 Silverhawks finally started to level the odds and in 2010 they've managed to beat the Wolves for the first time. Since then the Fortuna has smiled to one and another. After 2011 sweep, Wolves captured the first Lendava Bowl while last year the later champions of 2012 season took the trophy away from the Hungarian champs.

So all was set for the third repetition of now a traditional game played in a bilingual town of Lendava (Lendva) where a Hungarian minority has been living for centuries. Since Lendava is at equal distance from both capitals and both teams have equal number of fans, Wolves and Silverhawks can look at this game like sort of half-home game.

The kickoff started at 16:00 and after a quick three and out for Silverhawks, the Docler Wolves took the first blood. Silverhawks completely blew the defensive assignment – defensive line was pinching, secondary was in cover zero and linebackers were lost in the crowd. It was an easy job for Péter Lenner who ran completely unopposed for more than 60 yards and put the first points on the board. The veteran András Storcz scored the extra PAT and put the Wolves in the lead for 7-0.

But Silverhawks did not panic. They knew from the first game where the soft spots of Hungarian defense were and the Hawks' passer Keith Lockwood was unmerciful in exploiting every weakness he noticed in the opponent's lineup. He quickly found Matic Tomše for an equalizer and after that it has been all Silverhawks. Next it was Gregor Črepinšek running into the endzone. The Wolves desperately tried to close the gap but they fumbled and Silverhawks quickly punished their mistake. Bojan Justin brought the ball home, followed by Jernej Pavlič who sealed the first half with 28 unanswered points for the home team.

Photo: Jure Banfi 
The silver barrage continued also in the second half. Lockwood didn't need to exert himself. Justin and Pavlič managed to find their ways downhill after a couple of quick passes and Docler Wolves suddenly found themselves in the 42-7 hole. They tried hard to fight back with Storcz doing miracles everytime he touched the ball. Lenner was running hard and after Silverhawks started to fill in some replacements on the defensive side of the ball, he was finally able to score again. Storcz who also served as a punter and a kicker drilled a PAT for 42-14.

Silverhawks then relegated to the running game, but were successful also in this element. Trey Bittle jr. scored two beautiful touchdowns and that was a dagger for the Wolves team.

The Silverhawks defense played the first decent game of the season, massing an interception, 3 fumbles and 6 sacks. With this victory, the Silverhawks managed to remain in the contest for the second place and a ticket to the CEFL Bowl. The decisive game will be a home game against the strong squad from Kragujevac who will try and defend the two touchdown lead from the first game between them.

Wolves on the other hand remain without a victory in the CEFL this season. This might now tell a lot, but Wolves have a lot of young players who steel themselves through youth selections and will one day once again be dominant in the field. But as many things in life, football is not something you can fix over night – it takes patience and a lot of work to move things from a standstill. But when things start rolling, it’s hard to stop them. Just ask Silverhawks about that.

Goran Kosutic
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