EFL: Gold Diggers clinch playoff berth with comeback-win against Wolverines

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On Saturday, April 27 2013, the Gold Diggers travelled to Helsinki to play against the Wolverines in a vital group stage game for both teams. Gold Diggers won 40-28 after trailing 10-21 at the half and will advance to the EFL quarterfinals as the first Danish team ever.

The matchup featured two teams playing football in separate ways: Gold Diggers mainly using the passing game to gain yardage, while the Wolverines relied on their run-first offense with americans RB Stephen Stokes and QB Cedric Johnson.

It was an exciting game with loads of points and big plays, but the Gold Diggers came away with the win due to a solid team effort, especially in the second half. Dynamic Wide Receiver duo #80 Jonas Bo Hansen and #21 Søren Bakbøl finished with 16 receptions for 179 yards and 9 receptions for 115 yards respectively. That allowed the offense to mix things up in the redzone with many receivers stepping up with touchdown receptions, and scores on the ground as well.

Gold Diggers #9 QB Zach Shaw throws on the run © touchdown.fi

Gold Diggers #9 QB Zach Shaw throws on the run © touchdown.fi

Gold Diggers QB Zach Shaw had a good day with 31 completions in 61 attempts for 415 yards and 2 TD’s, while throwing 2 interceptions. He was able to find 8 different receivers during the game, making life hard for the Wolverines secondary.

Wolverines #12 QB Cedric Johnson completed 8 passes in 22 attempts for 188 yards, 1 TD and 3 interceptions. He added whopping 126 rush yards in just 12 carries, scoring for 2 TD’s, averaging 10.5 yards per carry.

LOS © touchdown.fi

LOS © touchdown.fi

Gold Diggers trailing in first half

Both teams had trouble putting points on the board in the 1st quarter. After a Gold Diggers turnover on downs, #13 Safety Morten Hejndorf intercepted Wolverines QB Cedric Johnson in the endzone. After some punts, Gold Diggers QB Zach Shaw threw his first interception.

Wolverines #12 QB Cedric Johnson in a swarm of Gold Diggers © touchdown.fi

Wolverines #12 QB Cedric Johnson in a swarm of Gold Diggers © touchdown.fi

In the 2nd quarter, the Wolverines got their offense going, scoring on all three of their possesions. First, QB Johnson rushed for a TD and on the following Gold Diggers drive a field goal attempt resulted in a miss. Afterwards, Wolverines RB Stokes got to the endzone to make a 0-14 lead. 

Gold Diggers got back with a field goal by #5 Kicker Peter Fromberg, but Wolverines scored their third TD right after with WR Sagne. Then Gold Diggers QB Zach Shaw orchestrated a long drive, and on a crucial 4th and goal, #5 Kicker Peter Fromberg rushed to the endzone for a touchdown on a fake field goal attempt. 10-21 at halftime.

Dominant second half for the Gold Diggers

Gold Diggers #21 WR Søren Bakbøl takes a big hit from a Wolverine © touchdown.fi

Gold Diggers #21 WR Søren Bakbøl takes a big hit from a Wolverine © touchdown.fi

It was a different Gold Diggers team that came out to the second half. QB Zach Shaw was intercepted on the first possesion, but then the Gold Diggers defense forced a fumble. The offense got the ball back and capitalized on the turnover when #11 WR Mads Bonde caught a 3 yard pass in the endzone. After a Wolverines punt, it was WR Simon Mathiesen’s turn to catch a short TD pass from QB Zach Shaw, taking the first Gold Diggers lead, 23-21 to complete the comeback.

The Gold Diggers had the momentum going into the 4th quarter. Although the Wolverines took the lead 23-28 with another TD run by QB Cedric Johnson, the Gold Diggers answered back with 17 unanswered points. Following a 44 yard reception by #80 WR Jonas Bo Hansen, #1 RB Alexander Simonsen ran in for a 1 yard touchdown.

Gold Diggers #1 RB Alexander Simonsen with a carry © touchdown.fi

Gold Diggers #1 RB Alexander Simonsen with a carry © touchdown.fi

After a Wolverines Punt, the Gold Diggers capitalized on a row of defensive penalties, setting up RB Alexander Simonsen for his second touchdown of the day from 10 yards out.  Kicker Peter Fromberg added a field goal before time expired, resulting in a Gold Diggers victory: 40-28.

Due to the tie-break rules of the EFL, the Gold Diggers will advance from the group stage no matter what the result of the Roosters-Wolverines game will be. If the Wolverines beat the Roosters by more than 19 points, the Diggers will finish #1 in the group and play the Innsbruck Raiders. The most realistic scenario is however that the team will travel to Vienna to face the Vikings, the #2 team in Europe, Austrian champions and Eurobowl runner-up in 2012. Helsinki Roosters and Helsinki Wolverines will play on May 4th.

Søllerød Gold Diggers is the first Danish team ever to reach the quarterfinals in the EFL. 

Thanks to touchdown.fi for the pictures

Søllerød Gold Diggers - EFL Quarterfinal bound © touchdown.fi

Søllerød Gold Diggers - EFL Quarterfinal bound © touchdown.fi