Austria’s Christoph Gubisch threw two first-half touchdown passes, and the Austrian defense limited Panama to two first downs in the opening half as Austria scored on its first four possessions en route to a 40-0 victory in the opening game of the 2012 IFAF U19 World Championship at Burger Stadium in Austin, Texas.
Austria next faces the winner of tonight’s USA-American Samoa game in the semifinals July 4. Panama plays the loser of that game in the consolation round on July 3.
Gubisch was named Austria’s Player of the Game after finishing 4-of-5 passing for 101 yards and two scores in a little over a quarter of action.
“Panama is a very good team but we thought we could beat them if we played our game as we prepared,” Gubisch said. “We don’t know which opponent we are going to play yet but either one will be tough. We will prepare for it and see what happens.”
After holding Panama without a first down on its opening series, Austria marched 72 yards in three plays to score on a 37-yard touchdown pass from Gubisch to Maximilian Dietl. A failed point-after try left Austria up, 6-0.
Following another three-and-out by Panama, Gubisch led the Austrians on a 45-yard drive that he capped with a 33-yard scoring strike to Philipp Sommer, who found himself wide open down the left sideline. Running back Andreas Hofbauer was stopped short of the goal line on the 2-point conversio,n but the Austrians led, 12-0.
Austria turned to its ground game on its third series, throwing just two passes as the team moved 56 yards in nine plays. Hofbauer and Philipp Kern accounted for 30 yards rushing on the drive that was capped by a 2-yard touchdown run by Matthias Kiegerl to push Austria’s lead to 19-0.
“We had no information about Panama so we didn’t know how strong they would be,” Austria offensive coordinator Jakob Dieplinger said. “We didn’t know how long our starters would have to play. We were able to rest some key players, which is key for our next game because it will be a really tough one.”
Panama again failed to pick up a first down, and following a mishandled snap on a punt attempt, Austria took over at Panama’s 30-yard line.
Alexander Thury spelled Gubisch at quarterback and hooked up with Florian Bundschuh on a 29-yard pass play down to the Panama 1 to open the drive.
Felix Stadler rumbled into the end zone two plays later to extend the Austria lead to 26-0 and end the first-half scoring midway through the second quarter.
The score remained unchanged 2:01 remained in the third quarter when Austria’s third quarterback of the day, Adrian Platzgummer, connected on a 57-yard scoring strike to Domonkos Szecsi, who slipped behind the defense and scampered down the right sideline untouched for the score to push Austria’s lead to 33-0.
Austria added its final touchdown on a 41-yard touchdown pass from Platzgummer to Florian Bundschuh with 5:54 left in the game.
Linebacker Xavier Ramos earned Player of the Game honors for Panama. He finished with two sacks, a forced fumble and six tackles.
“We played a great team,” said Panama Head Coach Raul Arosemena. They played hard and kind of caught us off guard. We lost our quarterback on the first play and missed some assignments on defense. The second half, instead of going spread we ran the ball and kept with it because it worked.”