By David Pan Enterprise sports editor
Eric Marty is two for two.
The 2004 Meadowdale High School graduate won his second straight European football championship. A year after winning the Italian League title with the Bolzano Giants, Marty helped guide the Danube Dragons to their first-ever Austrian Bowl championship.
Marty threw for 327 yards and three touchdowns and ran for another score as Danube defeated the Innsbruck Raiders 28-21 in Austrian Bowl XXVI before 5,000 fans July 9 in Innsbruck, Austria.
“The atmosphere was tremendous,” said Marty, who was named the most valuable player of the game. “It was the loudest stadium. We had issues with the noise as far as audibles were concerned. But we got that sorted out.”
The Dragons took a 28-14 lead late in the game but saw Innsbruck score a touchdown to cut the lead to seven points. The Raiders got the ball back with a chance to tie the score but Danube defense stopped Innsbruck and enabled Marty and the offense to run out the clock.
Only three teams had ever won the Austrian Bowl and Danube was not one of them until this season. Marty was glad to lead the Dragons to their first championship since their inception 25 years ago.
“After success in Italy (with the Italian Football League), I wanted to try and play in a better league,” Marty said. “Austria is regarded as the best league in Europe.”
The Dragons averaged 29.5 points per game during the playoffs. In the two playoff games, Marty completed nearly 68 percent of his passes for 547 yards and threw for seven touchdowns and ran for another, accounting for all of his team’s scores.
During the six-game regular season, Marty threw for 1,339 yards, 15 touchdowns and threw only one interception. The governing body of European football, the European Federation of American Football, ranked Danube as the No. 2 team in Europe, the team’s highest ranking ever.
This fall Marty will be calling the players for Meadowdale as the high school team’s new offensive coordinator. As far as his future on the field, Marty plans to explore opportunities in the United States.
“I feel like over the years I’ve continued to develop as a quarterback,” he said. “I feel like as I’ve gotten older I see the field better and understand what the defenses are trying to do. … I’ve built a very solid reputation in Europe. A number of teams are interested in me. I want to see if there’s any chance I might play football in the States. I want to explore those opportunities.”