Austrian RB Lukas Haslwanter #24 heading for the end zone. Photo: AFBÖ Weitere Fotos
By Aidan Wohl, AFI Staff Writer
The Austrian National Team gave Hungary a rude introduction to Europe’s top tier of international football, defeating the visiting Hungarians 41-0 this past weekend to advance to the semifinal round of the IFAF European Championship Group A tournament.
Austria took charge right off the bat as Noah Toure returned the opening kickoff 100 yards to give the host team a 7-0 lead with the game only seconds old.
Still, the Hungarians held the powerful Austrian offense in check throughout the rest of the first half, including making a goal line stand late in the second quarter. In fact, the only other scoring in the first half was a 45 yard field goal by Michael Schachermayr giving Austria a 10-0 lead at the half.
The second half was a different story however.
Austria came out firing on all cylinders. While Hungary could not move the ball consistently, the Austrians moved the ball at will. First Hrouda marched his team down into field goal range and running back Florian Wegan, subbing in at kicker, booted a 27 yard field goal. Then on the next Austrian possession, Wegan finished off a seven play, 41 yard drive with an eight yard touchdown to increase the lead to 20-0.
Under head coach Max Sommer, Austria didn’t hold back defensively either, intercepting three passes (two by Ruben Seeber and one by Jan Mayerhofer) and Austria capitalized. Wide receiver Michael Schachermayr scored on a 50 yard pass from Hrouda to make it 27-0 late in the third quarter. Then on the next Austrian drive, running back Lukas Haslwanter found a seam and raced 33 yards to boost the lead to 34-0. Finally, with veteran Alexander Thury in at quarterback, Austria scored again with six minutes left as Markus Schaberl hauled in a 51 yard strike to make it 41-0.
Nineteen-year-old Austrian quarterback Nico Hrouda was happy with his first career start on Sunday and delivered in a big way throwing for 236 yards and one touchdown.
“My start as quarterback was definitely an experience. At half-time we talked about what we could do better and implemented that in the second half.”
Austria racked up 432 yards of offense compared to 156 for the Hungarians.
It was a tough day for the three Hungarian quarterbacks, László Jordan, Máté Hegedüs and Márton Czirók who threw for a combined 119 yards with starter Jordan completing 8 of 13 for 87 yards.
Austrian defensive back Ruben Seeber, who had a key interception was satisfied with the convincing win but was still looking ahead:
“The big goal hasn’t been reached yet, but of course we’re happy that we were able to bring the game to a successful conclusion.”
Coach Sommer noted that he is excited for what he expects out of his team next year and sees his team competing at the highest level.
“We’re going to give it our all in 2023 and we’re going to continue with our program. The highest level we can reach is our best version.”