Braunschweig New Yorker Lions beat Rebels in toughest test

The Braunschweig New Yorker Lions were pushed to the limits Sunday but finally prevailed in downing the Berlin Rebels (5-4) 21-14 at Wilmersdorf Stadium in Berlin to remain unbeaten  with an 8-0 record in the German Football League.

With starting quarterback Casey Therriault sidelined, Lions head coach Troy Tomlin turned to Dutch playmaker Tom van Duijin who threw three touchdown passes in the win. Niklas Romer, who leads the GFL in receiving, hauled in two of those touchdown passes while running back David McCants caught the third. McCants was the game’s leading rusher carrying the ball 28 times for 173 yards.

Rebels quarterback James Harris threw for 203 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Alexander Tounkara caught both touchdown passes while defensive back Gino Chongo returned a a blocked extra point attempt 100 yards for the extra two points. Tounkara had nine catches for 138 yards to lead all receivers.

New Yorker Lions defense kept Berlin’s running backs bottled up Photo: Fabian Uebe

The game was marred by 208 yards in penalties as the Rebels picked up 13 for 120 yards and New Yorker nine for 88 yards.

The Rebels opened the scoring in front of their home crowd as Harris found Tounkara for a 60 yard touchdown on the second play from scrimmage and Berlin took the lead 6-0. Braunschweig answered as van Duijin, showing no signs of nervousness in starting at quarterback for the first time this season, marched his team 60 yards in seven plays, capping the drive with a 24 yard touchdown pass to McCants. The extra point was good and the Lions led 7-6.

Then both defenses took the game over. Neither team could move the ball until Harris was picked off and the Lions ended up with the ball on the Rebels 16 yard line. But a van Duijin goalline pass was also intercepted and Harris and the Rebels offense took over on their own one yard line. The Lions defense made them pay, trapping Harris in the end zone for a crucial safety.

Leading 9-6, late in the first half, van Duijin finally got untracked again, leading his team on a six play 50 yard drive, finishing it with a 12 yard touchdown pass to Romer and the Lions led 15-6. But Chongo picked up the blocked extra point attempt and raced 100 yards for the two points narrowing the lead to 15-8.

July 16 New Yorker Lions @ Berlin Rebels, Lions RB David McCants, rushed for 173 yards (c) Karsten Reißner

The third quarter saw more of the same as the defenses ruled until van Duijin showed his poise, engineering another drive, this one an 11 play, 77 yard drive, throwing a five yard touchdown pass to Romer giving the Lions some breathing room and a 21-8 lead

Early in the fourth quarter, following a McCants fumble, Harris marched his team 45 yards and threw a four yard touchdown pass to Tounkara for his second and Berlin edged closer, 21-14.

The Lions wisely stayed on the ground to kill the clock and Berlin’s offense stalled giving New Yorker their all important win number eight and sole possession of first place in the German North.





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