Braunschweig New Yorker Lions survive a scare; earn road win over Dresden Monarchs

The Braunschweig New Yorker Lions continued their seven-game unbeaten string against the Dresden Monarchs, along with their five game winning streak in the German Football League ,this past weekend when they edged the Monarchs 34-31 in front of a crowd of 8,000 at Dresden’s Heinz-Steyer-Stadion.

The last time the Lions lost to Dresden was May 9, 2015. The two teams have tied twice in that period.

And it looked like another tie was a real possibility with the teams knotted at 31-31 in the fourth. But a late field goal from the foot of Lions kicker Tobias Goebel spelled the difference, despite the second half heroics of Dresden defensive back Omari Williams who scored two defensive touchdowns.

Lions quarterback Brandon Connette threw for only 135 yards and a touchdown and was picked off three times but he rushed for 101 yards and two touchdowns. Wide receiver Micky Kyei, who had just signed with Braunschweig, scored the only other offensive touchdown while defensive lineman David Mueller scored on a 98 yard fumble return. Goebel kicked two field goals and all four extra points.

For Dresden, Zack Greenlee threw for 204 yards and two touchdowns in the first half before suffering a game-ending injury. His replacement, Feras El-Hendi, struggled throwing for only 22 yards but getting intercepted three times. Kevonn Mabon caught one of the touchdown passes and Cheikhou Sow caught the other. Williams scored twice for the Monarchs, once on a fumble return and the other on an interception return. Florian Finke kicked a field goal and four PATs.

Lions RB David McCants looking for running room Photo: Dresden Monarchs

The Lions had jumped out to a commanding 17-0 lead late in the first quarter on touchdowns by Kyei and Connette with Goebel kicking a field goal, before Dresden quarterback Zack Greenlee could get his offense in sync. Eight minutes later though, the Monarchs had managed to tie the game 17-17 and the see saw battle began.

First Finke kicked a 49 yard field goal, and then both Mabon and Sow added touchdown receptions to bring Dresden even midway through the second quarter.

And the Monarchs threatened to take the lead as first Antoni Omondi picked off Connette and then Greenlee drove his team down to the Braunschweig two yard line. But Mueller knocked the ball out of Greenlee’s hands and raced 98 yards the other way to up the score to 24-17 with less than two minutes remaining in the half. That was a decisive play as it also knocked Greenlee out of the game.

The Dresden offense was not the same after that. Hendi took over and his inexperience showed on the first drive of the second half, as he was picked off at midfield. And just when it looked like Connette and the Lions offense would begin dominating Williams made his presence known, intercepting a Connette pass and racing 50 yards to tie the game again, this time at 24-24.

Dresden WR KeVonn Mabon catching TD pass Photo: Dresden Monarchs

Braunschweig running back David McCants returned a punt 49 yards down to the Monarchs 20 yard line on the next series and Connette made no mistake this time, weaving his way into the end zone to restore the one score lead, 31-24.

The Lions marched into Dresden territory but again Williams thwarted them, keeping his team in the game, forcing a McClendon fumble and then scooping up the ball and roaring 62 yards to even the score at 31-31 early in the fourth quarter.

Goebel kicked a 40 yard field goal on the next Lions possession to give Braunschweig a slim 34-31 lead.

That’s when Hendi’s luck began running out as he was picked off on two consecutive possessions and with the Lions in run-only ball control mode, time basically ran out for Dresden.

With the win, Braunschweig moved into first place in the GFL North, dropping the 3-1 Monarchs into third behind the 5-0 Hildesheim Invaders.

 

 

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