Tenth German Football League title for the Braunschweig New Yorker Lions.
The new German champions are the old.
For the tenth time and third straight year, the Braunschweig New Yorker Lions have taken home the German American football title – German Bowl XXXVII – defeating the Schwäbisch Hall Unicorns 41-31 in front of 12,051 spectators at Berlin’s Friedrich-Ludwig-Jahn-Sportpark.
The game’s most valuable player was Lions receiver Evan Landi, who caught nine passes for 105 yards and scored one touchdown. Quarterback Casey Therriault completed 25 of 37 passes for three touchdowns while also running one in himself. Niklas Roemer hauled in seven passes for 143 yards and a score and Anthony Dablé and David McCants had one touchdown each in the win.
Nevertheless, the Unicorns opened the game the best, first stopping Braunschweig on a fourth down inside Lions territory and then scoring on the ensuing drive as Christian Rycraw carried the ball in from the five yard line to take a 6-0 lead.
However, three plays later Therriault connected with Roemer for a 56 yard touchdown and Braunschweig was back in the game taking a 7-6 lead.
Then the Lions forced an Ehrenfried fumble and converted it into a field goal taking a 10-6 lead. Neither team could do much until late in the second quarter when Therriault took his team on a textbook Braunschweig march going 86 yards in 10 plays capping it with a nine yard touchdown pass to Evan Landi.
Christian Rycraw answered on the very next play from scrimmage finding a seam and taking off for a 64 yard touchdown closing the gap to 17-12. But Therriault was finding his rhythm and got his team into field goal range in the space of 45 seconds.
Tobias Goebel made good on a 37-yard field goal attempt and the Lions went into the locker room at halftime with a seemingly comfortable 20-12 lead.
Nevertheless, the statistical advantage was overwhelming as the Lions had made 16 first downs to the Unicorns three and Therriault had thrown for 239 yards against Ehrenfried’s measly 22. In other words Schwäbisch Hall was somehow hanging in the game.
And the Unicorns made them pay on the very next series first returning the opening kickoff of the second half 50 yards to the Lions 41. And then scoring within five plays to draw to within two at 20-18. Had they not missed all three PATs, two of them 2-point conversion tries, they would have had the lead.
The Lions came right back with an excellent kickoff return by David McCants giving them great field position. Five plays later they scored as Therriault carried the ball in from seven yards out extending their lead to 27-18.
Then Ehrenfried showed why the Unicorns were in this game mounting an 11 play, 83 yard drive that ate up four and a half minutes and resulted in a nine yard touchdown pass to Aurieus Adegbesan to close the gap again to 27-25.
Again Therriault responded and within four plays, including a 38 yard pass to Roemer, he engineered another touchdown when McCants capped the drive with a five yard scamper into the end zone.
Neither team could do much in the fourth quarter until Therriault found star wide-out Anthony Dablé, who had been surprisingly quiet, in the end zone for a 20 yard touchdown giving the Lions a 41-25 lead with just over two and a half minutes remaining.
Marco Ehrenfried then took his team took his team on a beautiful eight play drive in just over a minute throwing a two yard touchdown pass to Patrick Donahue with just over a minute left in the game.
But the onside kickoff attempt failed and the Therriault took two knees to give the Braunschweig New Yorker Lions their third straight German Bowl.
This was an excellent football game between two well coached teams.
Kudos should go to both coaching staffs including Braunschweig head coach Troy Tomlin and his counterpart for the Unicorns, Siegfried Gehrke.