Cologne Crocodiles outlast Munich Cowboys in GFL quarterfinals

The Cologne Crocodiles jumped out to a commanding 31-13 lead heading into the fourth quarter of their German Football League quarterfinal matchup against the Munich Cowboys this past weekend, only to watch the home team Cowboys mount a furious comeback. The Crocodiles held on though to defeat Munich 34-31 and advance to the GFL semifinals for the first time since entering the league in 2017.

Cologne came into the game as the GFL North third seed while the Cowboys had finished second in the GFL South.

The game started off with a bang as Cologne showed off a little bit of trickery. Running a reverse on the opening kickoff to Aaron Jackson, the Crocodiles were able to catch Munich’s kickoff unit off guard and Jackson returned the kick 80 yards for a touchdown.

Munich was able to stay composed however, as they answered with a 14 play, eight-minute drive. The Cowboys were able to dominate at the line of scrimmage, with Brandon Watkins and Lucky Dozier pounding the ball, moving down to the Cologne 14 yard line. The Crocodiles would bend but not break though, holding Munich to a field goal.

Cologne WR Aaron Jackson #4 had 5 catches for 124 yards and 2 TDs while returning a kickoff 80 yards for another TD

The Cowboys were able to score yet again halfway through the second quarter. After starting at their own three-yard line, Munich took 10 plays to drive 97 yards capping it with a two-yard run from Watkins to put Munich out in front, 10-7.

This would be the last time Munich would be in control of the game as the rest of the second quarter would be all in favor of Cologne. The Crocodiles were able to score 14 points within the next three minutes of the game.

The first of the seven came on the second play of the ensuing Cologne offensive drive as Jackson was able to use his speed once again, hauling in a simple screen pass and racing 72 yards for a touchdown.

The Crocodiles defense rode the momentum of their offense on the next drive as Cologne defensive back Khefil Osseni returned a 45 yard interception for a touchdown giving the Crocodiles a double digit, 21-10 lead.

For the rest of the half and the beginning of the third period, the game would go through a dry spell as neither team would be able to get anything working on offense.

The next score came from Cologne, and they continued to extend their lead.  Jackson continued his electric day as Crocodiles quarterback, Christian Strong threw up a 50/50 ball into the endzone and Jackson hauled it in with one hand for the 11-yard score.

At this point, Cologne was firmly in the lead with the score at 28-10 and it was Munich’s job to play catchup. The Crocodiles stayed relatively quiet for the rest of the game, only putting up six points off of two field goals from kicker Sam Assadi.

The Cowboys rallied, scoring 18 points in the final stanza to bring the game a little bit closer. A pair of field goals from Munich kicker Robert Werner and two touchdown passes from quarterback Wyatt Smith narrowed the lead to 34-31 with 19 seconds left but that was as close as they would get.

Needless to say, Cologne quarterback Christian Strong was happy:

“We are super proud to have won the quarterfinals game against Munich. They fought to the very end as we knew they would and made it tough from the starting whistle to the very end! We now are all eyes on Potsdam in preparation for the battle of the North.”

Cologne now advances one step closer to the German Bowl as they will go against the Potsdam Royals in a semifinal matchup on Saturday, September 24.

Noah Costantino is a student and football player at Baldwin Wallace University in Cleveland, Ohio. Fueled by his love for the game he looks to continue his knowledge of football at an international level. He is majoring in Communications with a