Monday, June 11, 2012

Thun at Geneva . . . GAME DAY!!!

You better get a cup of coffee, this is going to be a long post.

Sunday, the weather in Geneva was cool and slightly overcast. It was a beautiful day for American football. After all, it was . . .

According to Mathias Krebs,

The 2-5 Tigers boarded the bus for the two hour bus ride on the usual spacious recliner bus for the game against the 2-6 Geneva Seahawks. The big news was that one of our starting WRs would not be at the game because the Swiss Army camp where he was stationed doing his summer reserve duty was quarantined due to an outbreak of the Norro virus on the base.

This ranks right up there with our starting left tackle's missing practice a few weeks ago when he injured his neck head banging too violently at a heavy metal concert.

You can't make this stuff up.

The Seahawks play their games in another one of these huge Swiss sports complexes that house dozens of soccer fields, a rugby/American football field, badminton courts, beach volleyball courts, tennis courts and even a . . .

Baseball Field 

I miss baseball games on TV and the occasional trip to the stadium for a Dodger dog.

Or six.

A Pastoral Warm-up Scene

Pre-game Coaches Pow-Wow 

Rudy was Ready!!!


Kickoff Huddle

Let the game begin!

 Geneva Extra Point - Wide Left

The Seahawks took the opening kickoff and impressively drove right down the field to score a TD on a 23 yard pass. Things did not look good for the Tigers.

Nicolas Küng in the open field

After Roland Andrist returned the ensuing kickoff to our 40 yard line, the Tigers' offense responded with an impressive first drive as well marching right down the field.

TB Roland Andrist scores from 5 yards out

The PAT was wide left, leaving the score tied at six all.

"Whee, I'm flying!" 

Explain that route
to me again, please 

OLB Michael Brunner

After that opening Seahawk drive, our defensive staff made some great adjustments. The Seahawks made no first downs in their final five first half possessions!

FB Dominik Müller rumbling 

Dominik had his best game of the season against the Seahawks. His blocking was crisp and he ran the ball very effectively.

TB Roland Andrist being
led by FB Dominik Müller

Roland is embarking on a 56 yard scamper here. Unfortunately, we fumbled the ball away on the next play due to a bad quarterback-center exchange.

As the first half came to a close, it was still 6-6 but the tide was starting to run in Thun's favor.

Emanuel Hunziker
Emergency Man

Due to injuries and the Norro virus quarantine, we were down to only one wide receiver suited for the game and we run a two WR offense.

Emanuel is our #2 tailback but stepped in and, after a crash course during our pre-game warm-ups, played most of the game at WR.

Here he is back at TB giving Roland a break.

Don't ask what we had to do formation wise to pull off this feat.

The Trenches

 Here he comes yet again!


I think that our opening drive of the third quarter was probably the most satisfying one of the season to date. It was run dominated and featured very physical runs by both Roland and Rudy. The offensive line dominated throughout the contest.

Football ala "Braveheart" at its finest, I loved it!

Maybe we should wear blue face paint -- or purple.

QB Rolf Zybach scores on
the Sneak from a yard out 

I love this sign when we are on offense! 

Niklaus Rhyner added the PAT as the Tigers took the lead for the first time by a tally of 13-6.

Still, you could feel that Geneva still had hope in their fighting spirit.

We needed a big play.

The defense was still swarming

And then it happened . . .

DE Mischa Künzi intercepted a pass!

I mentioned earlier that the defensive staff was making good adjustments, this was one of them. Geneva had completed a few swing passes to their backs vs. our OLB blitzes. We asked our DEs to pick up the back in these situations. Mischa did his job and intercepted the ball, returning it 35 yards deep into Seahawk territory.

It was a dagger straight into Geneva's heart. The game was emotionally over for the Seahawks from then on, thanks to Mischa's Big Play!

QB Rolf Zybach, loose in the secondary

Any of you Seahawks
want a piece of Dominik?

Tipped Geneva pass 

The Thun defense was still
suffocating the Seahawk offense 

After the Seahawks' opening TD drive of the game, they would go a total of seven straight possessions without earning a first down against the Tigers' defense.

They finally got one late in the fourth quarter and would eventually opt to go for a fake punt on that drive that came up just short of their desired effect.

Lots of green grass for this
Roland Andrist punt return

Roland scores his second TD of the day,
this time on a 15 yard counter play

Rhyner kicked his second PAT to make it 20-6 Tigers midway through the fourth quarter.

The Tigers were in cruise control at this point.

Nicolas Küng is loose again

Dominik Müller scores a TD
on a savage 2 yard run

Football never ceases to amaze me. Niklaus Rhyner is usually a very strong kicker. His kicks may not always be accurate but they are always booming.

Until now.

His PAT attempt came off the side of his toe unblocked. Yes, he is a Swiss toe basher in the exact middle of soccer playing Europe. How rare is that?

But I digress. The PAT attempt went in a elliptical orbit to the left down to the one yard line where a Seahawk scooped it up and raced 99 yards for two Seahawk points.

It was very late in the game and Thun led 26-8 now.

Nicolas Küng still showing his love of flight 

OLB Johannes Brunner
intercepts a Geneva pass

This sealed the Seahawk's fate and was the final play of the game as it turned out.

Thun 26 - Geneva 8

The traditional post-game hand slapping 

Good talking to the team after a win

Mischa Künzi earned the
Hammer-of-the-Game for his Big Play

The 2012 Thun Tigers

Ueli Sutter asked Laurie to take a team picture after our victory and here it is.

A big thanks to Laurie for taking literally hundreds of pictures at the game!

And now for the big EuroBall picture . . .

NLB Week #12 Results:
Thun 26 - Geneva 8
Basel 50 - Fribourg 0 Forfeit
Luzern 20 - LUCAF 13

NLB Standings:
Basel Meanmachine 8-0
LUCAF Owls 7-1
Luzern Lions 5-4
Thun Tigers 3-5
Geneva Seahawks 2-7
Fribourg Cardinals 0-8

Week #13 Games
Sunday, June 17, 2012
Fribourg (0-8) at Thun (3-5)
Luzern (5-4) at Geneva (2-7)
Basel (8-0) at LUCAF (7-1)

Their were two big pieces of news this weekend in Swiss American football.

First, Luzern's big 20-13 upset of the previously undefeated LUCAF Owls put a bit of a palor over the anticipated back-to-back games between undefeated Basel and previously undefeated LUCAF. It must be remembered that the first time that these two squads met back Week #2 the Owls swamped the Lions 50-0 and it was not a forfeit!

Needless to say, the Lions are finishing the season in a very strong fashion.

Still, Basel's and LUCAF's records indicate that regardless of the outcome of their next two games, they will still meet three weeks from now in the Swiss NLB Championship game.

The second item is troubling to the Tigers. It is the news of the second forfeit in the last three games by the Fribourg Cardinals. We are scheduled to play the Cardinals in our final two games and definitely want to play games and not getting any 50-0 forfeit wins.

In the meantime, in Sweden, the Hässleholm Hurricanes played the second place Göteborg Marvels to a 14-14 tie. This was the 'Canes second straight tie game, bringing their record to "deuces wild-like" 2-2-2, good for fourth place in the seven team Division I Södra. Next up for the Green and Black is a road game to nearby Kristianstad to take on the high flying Predators. Kristianstad has dominated the division to date with a perfect 6-0 record while outscoring their opponents 363-19! In Game #1 of the season in Hässleholm, the Predators prevailed 49-6.

In Sicily, the Catania Elephants got a chance to relax and heal  any bumps and bruises as they enjoyed a BYE by virtue of earning the Italian Football League's #1 seed for the 2012 playoffs.

Since the IFL expanded to 12 teams this year, the playoffs were also enlarged from the usual four teams to six. This necessitated an NFL-like Wild Card weekend, thus Catania's BYE.

The 9-2 Elephants will host a Semi-Final game on Sunday, June 24th against the #5 seeded Bolzano Giants who are now 9-3 after their mild upset of the #4 seeded, 8-4 Milan Rhinos 21-7 over the Wild Card weekend. These two teams played back on April 22nd, with Catania outscoring Bolzano 41-33 in a typical IFL defensive struggle. It should be interesting to say the least.

The IFL's other Semi-Final game has the 9-2 and #2 seeded Parma Panthers hosting the 10-2 and #3 seeded Bologna Warriors on Sunday, June 24th. Bologna won their Wild Card game against the #6 seeded, 7-5 Ancona Dolphins by another typical IFL score of 41-34.

The Italian Football League's Super Bowl game will take place on July 7th at an unspecified site.

Is their actually an Italian word for defense?

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