Towers are NEFL champions…!

By Jens Rørbye

Eight-time Swedish champions. Perennial powerhouse. Consistent top-10 team in Europe. Three-time nemesis. The accolades are many, yet the Carlstad Crusaders fell 44-43 to the Towers in the NEFL Championship.

The Towers played a stellar first half and took a 30-16 lead into the break. The third quarter proved more difficult as the Crusaders maintained almost complete control of the ball offensively. They ran several very long drives, which meant that the Towers offense ran only 4-5 offensive plays all quarter.

Fotograf Palle N. Christensen, Towers Media

Two scores in quick succession meant that the teams were tied at 30 at the beginning of the fourth quarter. This set the stage for a finish that was as intense as it was thrilling. Dayton Winn brought the Towers ahead again, but the Crusaders tied the game once more and then took the lead for the first time all game. When the Crusaders missed the PAT after their last touchdown the Towers knew that the momentum was back in our favor. Marching down the field Dayton Winn ran in what appeared to be the winning touchdown, however, a holding call brought back the Towers offense.

Fotograf Palle N. Christensen, Towers Media

With 29 seconds left on the clock QB Randy Schroeder found U19 WR Jakob Green in the right side of the end zone despite good coverage. Green made the tough over-the-shoulder catch to tie the game again.

With a successful PAT, the game was back in the hands of the defense. Crusaders QB Philip Juhlin threw a few incomplete passes against a prevent defense followed by a desperation heave deep downfield as time ran out. When the pass fell incomplete among of a hoard of Towers defenders, the game was over.

Fotograf Palle N. Christensen, Towers Media

As much as the game was an offensive masterpiece, with an outstanding performance by the entire unit, the defense played a good and very disciplined game. Defensive coordinator Victor Andersen said: “Despite allowing 43 points our defense felt that it had played a very good game against an exceptionally good opponent.”

On many occasions, the defensive brought the Crusaders to a halt deep on their own half of the field, giving the offense good field position.

Fotograf Palle N. Christensen, Towers Media

Field position was generally an issue for the Crusaders. On kick-offs Jakob Green repeatedly forced touchbacks, while Aske Troen’s punts kept the ball out of the hands of the Crusaders’ import DB, who is dangerous in the return game.

Bringing the NEFL championship to Copenhagen is the culmination of a five-year journey that began, when the Towers won the Danish championship in 2013. When assessing the 2018 season in December 2017, our coaches determined that, to be truly successful in Europe, we would need to score points more consistently. Having RB Dayton Winn return for a second season was the first step of that plan. Signing QB Randy Schroeder was the second.

Fotograf Palle N. Christensen, Towers Media

Seeing the plan play out was among the things that defensive coordinator Victor Andersen was particularly proud of after the game: “Realizing that we have signed two imports who fit the plan that we laid out in December was a fantastic feeling.”

Team president Jakob Munksgaard was equally excited: “This win proves that we are among the best teams in Europe. The team and coaches have focused on this game all spring and performed when they had to. It was an extraordinary performance by everyone!”

Fotograf Palle N. Christensen, Towers Media

Scoring recap:

Dayton Winn: 117 yards and 2 rushing TDs. 27 yards and 1 receiving TD
Aske Troen: 46 yards and 1 receiving TD and a 32-yard FG
Lasse Tor: 31 yards and 1 receiving TD
Jakob Green: 116 yards 1 receiving TD
Randy Schroeder: 286 yards and 4 passing TDs

Fotograf Palle N. Christensen, Towers Media

Fotograf Palle N. Christensen, Towers Media

Copenhagen Towers in 2018

Towers at the Carlstad Crusaders of Sweden in 2014 [Photo: Jeppe Toustrup]

2017 was a successful season for the Copenhagen Towers. The team won the Mermaid bowl and snatched the gold from the Søllerød Gold Diggers.

By Søren Bendixen.

With a convincing season, the Copenhagen Towers could once again lift the trophy and claim the national title. – A season completed with the fulfillment of relinquishing a team objective: reclaim the Mermaid Bowl.

But not all of Towers endeavors were successful. The Towers were yet again defeated in their European hunt for a title in the Champions League. With a loss to both Karlstad Crusaders and London Warriors, the dream of international achievements ended before it even started.

That was 2017 – and with a new season comes new aspirations. But is the European conquest even in reach for the young team? – What does it take to raise the bar?

We talked to head coach Peter Herbild about the ambitions for the coming season of 2018; a conversation that involved raised expectations and investment towards Champions League; recruitment of imports; and the continued improvement of the Towers organization: An Ambition for Europe

The Towers have an enormous hunger for European success” states Peter Herbild. A lot of these players have won the mermaid bowl (The national championship) 2-3 times; now there is an immense desire to achieve international success”. Something which still awaits the Copenhagen team. The last four years the Towers have only won a single international game. But the tides might change. The club has developed an impressive economy which allows the Towers to invest in 2-3 imports for European success,” says the young but experienced Head Coach and adds: I consider the Towers to have a window of 1-3 years for reaching an international triumph – but it begins this year”.

When asked about the difference maker compared to the last couple of seasons, Herbild responds: We got to score points!”. Since 2014 the Towers have only scored 3.5 points per. international game – “and that’s why we have offered league MVP, Dayton Winn, to rejoin us for the next season,”. Dayton Winn made a huge difference for the Towers in 2017. With Winn in the backfield, the Towers possess a compelling threat against every European opponent. But is it enough? Defensively the Towers maintains confidence in their roster. The defense has played solid facing the international opponents. The focus internationally lies in strengthening the vigor of the offense. The Towers are therefore looking for a proficient American quarterback who can lead the potent young offense. To compete at an international level will require at least two top talents, – and one should be a quarterback” Peter Herbild reveals.

Together with a talented roster, the Copenhagen Towers have through the years gathered a capable and skilled coaching staff. Our coaches are young but tremendously talented and experienced,” Herbild says. The last couple of seasons the coaching staff have grown with a lot of qualified newcomers from outside the club. Every aspect of the organization – from junior to senior – has prospered from the influx. It has allowed the Towers organization to realize the most fertile and productive setting for generating talented and ambitious football players. A development the Towers now can pick the juicy fruits from. We have a talented group of young rookies from our own junior department coming up. We are very proud and look forward to integrating them into our senior team” Herbild states. The European ambitions are evidently a product of this organizational evolution and progress. It feels comparable to our team journey for the first mermaid bowl in recent time (in 2013). It requires physique, technique, and mental advancement to accomplish – but we have the dedication and ambition”.

Even with all the talk about Europe, the enthusiasm towards the national league remains the same. We want to win the mermaid bowl every year” The Towers HC claims with confidence. The national league is always a challenge. The focus has not been distorted; it has been adjusted. The Towers will dispose their focus in the spring on realizing their ambitions for Europe – which might cost a game in the first part of the season. But after the summer break, the Towers are once again dedicated at contesting their national title.

The expectations are high. So is the potential. With a strong addition of new players to the club and an additional 2-3 import player, the ambitions should be so. The joy of Mermaid bowls are sweet, but a European fairytale might be in line for the Copenhagen Towers.