AUSTRIA CROWNED EUROPEAN JUNIOR CHAMPIONS

IFAF on 09/08/2011

Austria wins gold.

Austria wins gold.

There is a new Under-19 Champion of Europe after Austria defeated France 24-12 on in Seville, Spain, to claim the Gold Medal at the 2011 European Junior Championship.  

The biannual event features the top American football players aged 19 and under from six countries - Austria, Denmark, France, Germany, Spain and Sweden - battling for the right to call themselves European Champions in Seville, Spain from August 28 to September 3.

Austria came out firing against the 2006 champion in the Gold Medal game, taking an early 10-0 lead in the first quarter. On Austria's first drive of the game, quarterback Christoph Gubisch orchestrated his team down the field with the help of game MVP Andreas Hofbauer's unstoppable running game. Kicker Clemens Erlsbacher converted a 32-yard field goal to give Austria a 3-0 lead.

The defense held France without a first down to give the ball right back to Austria as Hofbauer immediately went back to work, marching his team down the field capping the drive with a one-yard touchdown run. Hofbauer finished the game with a 144 total rushing yards and three touchdowns.

The second quarter belonged to France, scoring two back-to-back touchdowns and they went into halftime with a 14-10 lead. The first touchdown came early in the quarter as quarterback Franck Bozec found an opening and raced down the sideline for a 59-yard touchdown run.

After a quick three and out by Austria, France went to their running game as three different running backs picked up big gains - Nicolas Khandar with a 26-yard run, Karl-William Diboule for 14 yards and Andreas Betza brought the French to the one-yard line on a 23-yard run, setting up Bozec for a one-yard touchdown run.

After a scoreless third quarter, Austria's offense found some rhythm as quarterback Gubisch connected with Laurinho Walch for a huge 35-yard gain and the drive was capped with a one-yard touchdown run by Hofbuaer, his second of the game, as Austria reclaimed the lead 17-14.

The Austrian defense held France without a first down to earn great field position starting on France's own 41-yard line with 4:46 left in the game. Going back to their effective running back, Hofbauer got three consecutive handoffs and after a 16- and 19-yard run, recorded his third touchdown with a five-yard dash to solidify the win and Austria was crowned European Junior Champion for the first time.

Sweden successfully avenged their 2008 Gold Medal game loss to Germany by claiming the bronze medal with a 21-14 victory.

The Swedes scored the first 21 points of the game and went into halftime with a 21-7 lead over the reigning champions. The scoring started immediately as Oscar Nevermann showcased his speed returning the opening kickoff 81-yards for a touchdown.

Germany looked to respond as they put together a promising drive reaching Sweden's 14-yard line, but the drive came to a halt as Felix Olsson forced a fumble. Sweden could not capitalize, but their suffocating defense continued on the ensuing possession, pinning Germany to their own nine-yard line and Germany elected to take an intentional safety to end the first quarter.

At the start of the second half, running back Carl Nielsen founda gap for a 22-yard touchdown run to give Sweden a 15-0 lead. Sweden's defense continued to give Germany problems as quarterback Engelmann was sacked by Kulenstjerna causing a fumble and Markus Malmquist recovered, returning the ball 12 yards for a touchdown.

Germany cut the deficit to 21-7 right before halftime as quarterback Engelmann connected with Eric Nzeocha with a 51-yard touchdown pass.

The third quarter remained scoreless, but at the start of the final quarter Engelmann showcased his extremely strong and accurate arm again finding receiver Nzeocha for another long touchdown this time an beyond impressive 59-yard score to make it a one touchdown game at 21-14.

But Sweden's defense would not allow Germany to score again to secured the win and the Bronze medal. 

In the first game of the day, Denmark defeated Spain 41-3 to finish fifth at the 2011 European Junior Championship.

Spain held a slim 3-0 lead with a 19-yard field goal by Alvaro Guitian in the first quarter, but then Denmark took over, scoring 41 unanswered points.

In the second quarter, Mikkael Anderson recorded Denmark's first points of the game with a 23-yard touchdown run and then Denmark's defense got involved as Mads Bonde intercepted, returning the ball 32 yards for another touchdown.

Right before halftime, quarterback Lasse Randa-Boldt found Mikkael Anderson for a 39-yard pass and his second touchdown of the game as Denmark held a 20-3 lead after two quarters.

After the break, Denmark added two more touchdowns to their lead as quarterback Randa-Boldt threw his second score of the game this time connecting with wide receiver Simon Mathiesen on a seven-yard pass. On their next drive of the game, Denmark quickly moved down the field ending with a 14-yard touchdown run by Lars Larsen to give his team a commanding 34-3 lead.

Spain was unable to find any offensive rhythm as the suffocating Danish defense caused problems throughout the game. Denmark added one more touchdown with a 34-yard run by Johannes Hylby who finished with a game high 90 rushing yards.

Complete Game Schedule:

Group Play:

August 28, 2011

Group A            10:30                Germany 7 Austria 14

Group B            18:00                Sweden 28 Spain 10

August 30, 2011

Group A            10:30                Austria 21 Denmark 16

Group B            18:00                Spain 6 France 55        

September 1, 2011

Group A            10:30                Denmark 7 Germany 12

Group B            18:00                France 21 Sweden 14

September 3, 2011

Fifth place game:  9:30    Spain 3 Denmark 41                 

Bronze Medal:    12:30    Germany 14 Sweden 21

Gold Medal:       18:30                Austria 24 France 14

For more information about the 2011 EFAF European Junior Championship visit the official website at http://www.ejc2011sevilla.org or follow on www.Facebook.com/IFAF.org and on Twitter @IFAFinsider.