At only 18-years-old, Drini Gjoka, or Young Drini as he’s known, won the 2018 Madden Challenge. Drini takes home his first Madden Challenge championship after defeating Shay “Young Kiv” Kivlan by a final score of 40-19 in the final championship match.

Drini is one of Madden’s best young players at only 18. The Washington D.C. native has been playing the game of Madden since he was only 7-years-old. Drini took home an incredible $35,000 prize with his dominating victory in the Madden Challenge, but holding up the championship belt seemed to bring the youngster more happiness than the money.

2018 Madden Challenge champion Drini Gjoka
Image from EA Sports Madden Challenge

After losing their first meeting 27-23, Drini was able to score an unbelievable 37 second half points on Kiv to redeem himself. Drini, relied heavily on his running attack by utilizing HB LeSean McCoy all game long. The win didn’t come too easily for Drini, though. The first time champ found himself locked into a tight 3-3 game after the first quarter. Kiv was also able to convert on not one but two 4th and long situations on an early first half drive. Just as it looked like Kiv was on a roll, Drini shut his opponent’s drive down, and held Kiv to a field goal. The big defensive stand seemed to really turn the momentum in Drini’s favor, and he never looked back. 

The 37 points Drini reeled off in the second half of the championship match were scored after Kiv put up a touchdown on the opening drive of the 3rd quarter. This was Drini’s first Madden Challenge championship title, and it doesn’t look like he’s going anywhere anytime soon. You can check out all the details from every round of the 2018 Madden Challenge on the EA Sports Madden NFL 18 site. 

Want a special behind the scenes look at this year’s Madden Challenge competition?

Be sure to check out the 2018 Madden Challenge airing on the CW network. The first episode can be seen on December 27 starting at 8:00 pm.

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Matthew Sherdan is a web content writer and journalist who lives in beautiful Asheville, NC. He earned his BA in Professional Writing from the University of North Carolina Wilmington (Go Seahawks!) where he developed his passion for content marketing and web journalism. He loves writing about and competitively playing the Madden franchise. Matthew’s a flat out sports junkie, sports trivia nerd, and he just can’t seem to get enough NFL in his life. Matthew’s dream is to someday cover an NFL team, or the just the NFL itself, in some capacity.