France wins war with Austrian’s
The French offense had stalled throughout the first half, and nothing seemed to have changed in the third quarter when Paul Durand dived to make a catch at Austria’s five-yard mark, but was beaten to the ball by Peter Tutsch, whose interception snuffed out another French drive.
It took the special teams of France to step up and shift the momentum. After Austrian quarterback Christoph Gross was frustrated in the pocket, Paul Bresaz-Latille returned the resulting punt all the way back to the five-yard mark and this time quarterback Max Sprauel was able to find Anthony Dable open in the corner of the end zone for a four-yard touchdown and 7-3 lead.
“We started the second half really well and our defense kept us in the game and then the interception was huge for us,” said France head coach Larry Legault of his team’s revival. “There was a stretch of about six minutes when everything worked for us.”
After Austria punted, France silenced the home crowd as MVP Jeremy Rabot raced beyond the secondary and Sprauel dropped a perfect and spectacular 71-yard pass over the middle for the receiver to catch in stride and race away from Markus Krause to score and open an unlikely 14-3 lead.
Austria imploded and a kickoff return was fumbled by Armondo Ponce de Leon forced by Steve Delaval and incredibly Cesar Hebel recovered at the Austria 25-yard mark. France eventually had to settle for an 18-yard Bruno Nekili field goal but psychologically the damage was done and the 14-point lead was looking too great for Austria to overcome.
Thomas Haider came in under center for the hosts but was intercepted by Nuno Dos Santos when forced out of the pocket and trying to force the pass. France was ruthless in reply and Sprauel hit a leaping Rabot in the end zone from 22 yards out for a now convincing 24-3 lead.
Austrian star receiver Jakob Dieplinger added a 28-yard touchdown that illuminated the enthusiastic home crowd, but served only as consolation in the defeat and to add a bitter taste the point after kick was blocked. A tough Haider pass over middle for Andreas Proeller, who did well to hold on as he was hit, was good for a touchdown. But trailing 24-16 Austria could not come up with the onside kick with 3.28 still to play.
Defenses had been on top for much of the first half and Austria went in 3-0 ahead at the break through a 21-yard Peter Kramberger field goal, though he had also hooked an earlier attempt wide left of the uprights.
France might have had an interception returned a short distance for a touchdown, but as Giovanni Nanguy batted down a Gross pass, he was agonizingly unable to hold onto the ball just yards from paydirt. Austria too might have gone into the interval with six on the board, but when Gross went to the end zone with time close to expiring Aurelien Fouregeaud came up with a timely interception.
Team Austria vs. Team France 16:24