Europe's Elite had A chance to meet with Max Puchstein, the New Head Coach of the U17 Vienna Vikings and he gave a summary of last season and what he has in store as his first season as Head Coach.
Our season last year was full of ups and downs. In the 2nd game of the season our starting QB got injured and was out for the rest of the year. Since our back up QB was in the US for an exchange year we had to play our best WR at QB. Since he isn't a real thrower we had to change our spread-pass-first offense to a spread-option heavy run type of offense. And he did really well! He ended up winning the team MVP of the year in the end. In the 3rd game our starting RB got hurt and was out for season as well. So we moved another WR to RB as a backup just in case.
In the championship game we played the Danube Dragons who we beat earlier in the year. First offense play of the final our 2nd RB broke his foot and so we played the whole game with a WR at RB and a WR at QB. We ended up scoring 3 TDs on offense (2 Rushing, 1 Throwing).
The season probably was the one with the most challenges and adjustments we had to overcome in couple years (in youth football).
Our final record was 6-0 (for the 4th straight year).
Since 1994 our U17 team has won 18 championships and finished 4 times as a runner up.
This year (2017) will be my first year as a Head Coach. For the U17 i've been coaching as an Assistant and OC for the past 4 years.
For our men's team this year is my 5th year coaching (2nd year as a Coordinator).
My expectations for this upcoming U17 season are to win the championship again for a 5th time in a row. Every other goal other than winning again would be under our expectations as Vikings.
Our 2 best returning players are our QB Yannick Gruner, who will finish his exchange year in the US in June and will join us after that. The other player who will be back for 2017 is LB Max Plank, who just moved up from our U15 team. He's a great athlete and been invited to the U19 National Team camp this past fall.
We would have two other players, RB Peter Reitbauer and LB Lucky Ogbevoen, but both of them will spend an exchange year in the US this upcoming fall, so we won't have them for our season.
It's always tough to predict who our biggest opponent will be this year, because youth teams in Austria change so much depending on how many players they lose to the next age group but just from experience i'd say the Swarco Raiders are always a tough team to play throughout all levels. From U13 to the AFL. Great coaching and a great sense of urgency to develop youth football in Austria and Europe.