CEFL: CEFL Bowl VIII

Photo: Milos Rafailovic 
The season kicked off in March and after more than three months of play, there's only one question left to be answered: who will win the CEFL Bowl VIII?

On one side, we have the home and best team of the regular season, the SBB Vukovi Belgrade, a team for which apparently no other had an answer this season. On the other, their long time rivals from Serbia, the PBB Kragujevac Wild Boars, a team that maybe showed the most heart this year, not giving up despite many obstacles on their way to the championship game.

After winning four championships and holding a 52-6 all time record in the CEFL, it's difficult to say, but this could've been the Vukovi's best regular season ever. Not only did they stay undefeated, but they finished the season as the league's highest scoring offense and toughest defense to score against. This all lead to a staggering winning margin of almost 30 points per game.

The most points they conceded this year was 23, but this was also in the game where they scored 60. In all, the Vukovi didn't allow a single first half point in half of their games, and when they did, they were already holding a large lead. Their success on offense is based on roughly the same formula as last year. Lance Kriesien will not finish as the league's leading passer this year, but he is still one of the favorites to repeat as Offensive Player of the Year. The new face is Anthony Washington, the league's leading receiver, whose biggest contribution was maybe on special teams: he has three kickoff (two against Wild Boars) and one punt return touchdown. But the biggest improvement was likely on defense where they've been shutting down opponents like never before, led by league leading sacker and two-time defensive MVP Miloš Lišanin.

The Wild Boars had a fantastic start to the year, crushing the Wolves in Budapest. But it turned out that this was the faith the Wolves suffered in many games this year and the Wild Boars went through a rude awakening in their next game. Their quarterback at the time, Stan Bedwell, passed for a CEFL record 452 yards in Budapest. In his next game in Belgrade, he finished the first half with negative 4, also a CEFL record, before getting injured. The Vukovi turned hurting the Boars' quarterbacks into a habit, since their second import, Santino Simone, also went home after breaking his collar bone.

If the Wild Boars have something to look forward to, it's that they were the only team that managed to hang on, at least a little bit, in the first half of their last game. They did concede 60 points for the game, but it maybe could've been different, had it not been for Washington and his two kickoff return touchdowns.

After so many problems, one would think that there was no way the Wild Boars could make it to the final, but they managed to beat out their direct competitors, the Silverhawks. They were lead both times by a local quarterback, Stefan Stefanović, who despite not being as convincing as American quarterbacks that have dominated the league in recent years, has deliver when it mattered. His team won both of his starts, but the test now will be much greater: end the Vukovi's perfect season on their home turf in the biggest game of the year. Like the Silverhawks accomplished last year.

But the silverhawks are not there -- the Wild Boars took their place and will give their all to repeat the Slovenians' success from last year. The game kicks off 4.30PM CET in Belgrade, and will also be aired live on the regional Sportklub Prime.

Goran Kosutic
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