Braunschweig New Yorker Lions Beat Dresden In A Thriller In Germany

The Braunschweig New Yorker Lions found themselves in a pitched battle Saturday against the Dresden M0narchs and had to score a late fourth quarter touchdown to defeat the Monarchs 33-26 in Braunschweig with 3,500 delighted fans looking on.

In contrast to their other German league games so far this year, the Lions had to fight to hold and regain every lead. Lions quarterback Grant Enders was his usually efficient self completing 18 of 25 passes for 190 yards and two touchdowns while rushing for 88 yards and another two scores to lead his team.

Braunschweig out-gained the Monarchs on the ground 243 yards to 87 with running back David McCants rushing for 121 yards and one touchdown on 18 carries. Chris Smith added another 34 yards to the potent Lions ground game. Receiver Evan Landi caught five passes for 62 yards and a touchdown and Jan Hilgenfeldt hauled in five for 56 yards and another touchdown.

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Dresden quarterback Brandon Connette, facing the best pass defense in Germany still threw for 350 yards and three touchdowns in the loss. Sebastian Sagne continues to be Connette’s favorite target with nine catches for 84 yards followed closely by Micky Kyei who had eight receptions for 104 yards and Hendrik Hinrichs who also had 104 yards and two touchdowns on seven receptions.

Hilgenfeldt opened the scoring midway through the first quarter on a 16 yard pass from Enders who had engineered a seven play 77 yard drive following Dresden’s stalled opening drive.

The Monarchs responded as Connettee marched his team 75 yards capping the drive with a 12 yard touchdown pass to Hinrichs to tie the game 7-7. Braunschweig regained the lead as Enders led them on a brilliant 11 play drive mixing up his plays and finding Landi from 24 yards out to take a 13-7 lead early in the second quarter.

Dresden again came back as Connette completed five of five passes for 67 yards finishing off with a 22 yard touchdown strike to Hinrichs to take a 14-13 lead.

Braunschweig went back to their bread and butter as McCants carried the ball four times for almost 50 yards in helping the Lions march down the field with McCants adding a 12 yard touchdown to go up 20-14 late in the second quarter.

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But Connette’s pinpoint passing helped Dresden retake the lead again as he found Hinrichs for a deep 35 yard pass down to the one yard line and then carried the ball in himself on the next play to take a 20-19 lead at halftime.

The Lions wasted no time in the second half as they retook the lead behind the running of McCants and Smith. In fact, Enders did not complete a pass and scored the go ahead touchdown himself from one yard out to give Braunschweig a 26-20 lead.

Not to be outdone, Connette completed seven of nine passes in leading the Monarchs on a 12 play, 75 yard drive hitting Kyei on a 15 yard touchdown pass to tie the game at 26-26.

The crowd in Braunscheig was definitely getting their money’s worth on this night and Enders and the Lions did not disappoint. The quarterback carried the ball himself four times for 48 yards in marching Braunschweig on an 11 play drive to take a 33-26 lead.

Then the Lions defense stepped up, stopping Dresden twice, once on the 14 yard line, to preserve the win.

This was a classic North division battle with three lead changes and Braunschweig breaking a tie twice. Hard-earned victory would be a fitting way of describing the Lions win. With it, Braunschweig remains undefeated at 4-0 and in control of the division.

Photos: New Yorker Lions

Roger Kelly is an editor and a writer for AFI. A former PR Director the B.C. Lions of the Canadian Football League for 7 years, he now lives in Sweden writing about and scouting American Football throughout the world.