Germany: Braunschweig New Yorker Lions capitalize on turnovers to beat Hildesheim Invaders

The 7-0 Braunschweig New Yorker Lions capitalized on their opportunities and found their defense in the second half to outlast the visiting 6-1 Hildesheim Invaders 35-28 Saturday with over 5,300 fans looking on in the highlight game of the week in the German Football League.

Following a first quarter fireworks display which saw the two teams combine for 35 points, defenses then became the order of the day for the final 36 minutes.

The Lions took advantage of short fields resulting from four fumbles by Hildesheim turning two into touchdowns while also recovering an early onside kick and converting that into a touchdown.

Braunschweig quarterback Brandon Connette did not have his best game completing just eight of 20 passes for 142 yards and three touchdowns. But this game was all about timing and his completions came at opportune moments. He was also the game’s leading rusher carrying the ball 16 times for 75 yards. Running back Chris McClendon also had 75 yards rushing, adding a touchdown while David McCants had two carries for 34 yards and another score. Wide receivers Justus Holtz (2/44 yds), Niklas Romer (1/27) and Nicolai Schumann (1/24) all caught touchdown passes from Connette while Tobias Goebel kicked all four extra points.

For Hildesheim, Casey Therriault threw for 333 yards and two touchdowns and scored another one himself on the ground. Sean Richard rushed for 39 yards and a touchdown while receiver Jaleel Awini had eight catches for 107 yards and one touchdown, Anthony Dable-Wolf had nine for 99 yards and a touchdown. Nathaniel Morris led both teams with six receptions for 119 yards.

The Invaders wasted no time as Therriault took them on a seven play, 69 yard drive capping it with a three yard touchdown pass to Dable-Wolf to take an early 7-0 lead.

Invaders WR Antony Dable-Wolf immobilized by Lions defenders Photo: Katja Free

Connette responded marching the Lions deep into Hilesheim territory and then handing off to McClendon who burst through and scampered 31 yards to tie the game up at 7-7.

This is where the turnovers became crucial.

On the next Hildesheim possession, Therriault lost his grip on the ball and fumbled it away at his own 27 yard line. On the very next play, Connette hit Romer in the end one giving Braunschweig a 14-7 lead. Then, the Lions recovered an onside kick at the Hildesheim 35 yard line. Four plays later, Connette found Holtz for a 14 yard scoring pass and the score was suddenly 21-7 with five minutes left in the first quarter.

Hildesheim narrowed the lead to 21-14 on the next drive as in six plays Therriault maneuvered his team 59 yards down to the Lions three yard line and Richard did the rest.

Therriault opened the second quarter by hitting Dable-Wolf on a 19 yard pass which he then fumbled at the Braunschweig 26 yard line. The Lions took over but could not capitalize punting the ball down to the 17 yard line. Therriault made no mistake this time, taking eight plays to move the ball down to the one yard line, which included two passes to Morris for a total of 62 yards. He carried the ball in himself and evened the score at 21-21 at the half.

Braunschweig took advantage of a failed onside opening kickoff to start the second half. The Lions recovered at the Hildesheim 45 yard line and two plays later Connette connected with Schumann to take the lead again, 28-21.

The fumble woes struck again for Hildesheim as Therriault again moved his team deep into the Lions end of the field but Awini fumbled on the three yard line giving the ball back to Braunschweig.

With the Lions unable to score, the Invaders took over at their own 39 yard line. Twelve plays later, Therriault fumbled the ball away again, this time at the Lions 44 yard line. On the third play from scrimmage, McCants found a seam and scored on a 35 yard run to give the Lions a 35-21 lead with six minutes left.

The Invaders then used up four precious minutes to drive down to the Braunschweig 13 yard line but could not score. The Lions then ate up all but five seconds off the clock and gave Hildesheim one play. Therriault threw a 37 yard touchdown pass to Awini to end the game.

With the win, Braunschweig remains undefeated and takes over sole possession of first place in the GFL North. These two teams meet again on August 17.

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