CEFL: Defensive Domination

Ugljevarevic Photography

CEFL Cup was played over the week in two neighboring countries. On Saturday, Zagreb Patriots hosted Kranj Alp Devils, while a day later in Belgrade, Blue Dragons greeted Sirmium Legionaries.

Game in Zagreb started with the domination of the defenses. Alp Devils were the first to manage knocking on the Patriots' door but where denied entrance by a powerful goal line stand. There four tries from the 1 yard line ended with a turnover on downs. Still, the Patriots couldn’t find their rhythm and where forced to punt. That led to a change of field position in favor of the Slovenian team which marked the end of the first quarter.

Next, the Alp Devils put a solid drive together and finished it with an 18 yard pass for the first score of game. Their field goal followed 3 plays later after the Patriots turned over the ball on fourth down. Finally, the Patriots found some plays to drive over the field for their first touchdown, to lower the difference at the intermission to 6-10.

Offenses were a no show at the start of the second half as well. Then, as the game went on, the Alp Devils broke free of their opponent’s defensive clutches to score another touchdown. Emboldened by this, their defense put even more pressure on the rival, shutting them down completely until the expiration time. Alp Devils offense dispersed the suspense with another touchdown. Patriots attack was reduced to air attempts that failed to find their targets. The definitive field goal by the Slovenian team ended the game with a score 6-26.

Teams were much closely matched up in Belgrade on Sunday, one commonality being a demonstration by the defenses. At the start of the game, a more effective offense was Blue Dragons’ whose quarterback Mladen Zlatic connected with his target Milan Nikolic in the first period. In the next offensive series though, he was intercepted by Denic Suvic and Legionaries tied the score. Those were the only points on the scoreboard that showed 6-6 at the half.

Bad weather, rain and slippery field contributed in the second half and ground the offenses to a halt. Still, the Blue Dragons were more tenacious and Zlatic heaved another pass for a touchdown, this time to Corey Williams. After that, the elements caused the offenses to lose steam and the ball. The game was abound with fumbles and turnovers and no points were seen until the end. When all was said and done, it was a character-building performance, the victor, Blue Dragons, showing more grit in key drives to end the game in their favor 13-6.