Germany: Dresden Monarchs overcome surging Berlin Rebels

The Dresden Monarchs held off a hard charging Berlin Rebels team to escape with a 45-38 win at Heinz-Steyer Stadion in Dresden in front of over 2,000 fans Saturday.

The Monarchs rolled up 568 yards of offense but still needed a late-game defensive stand to fend off Berlin.

Garrett Safron was superb for Dresden, tossing six touchdown passes, throwing for 310 yards while adding 113 yards rushing. Mike Schallo led all receivers with eight receptions for 141 yards and two touchdowns, with Max von Wachsmann catching six for 62 yards and two touchdowns and Hendrik Hinrichs grabbing five for 54 yards and two touchdowns. Joe Bergeron had his best rushing day of the year rushing for 134 yards on 18 carries.

Berlin’s Jamaal White returned a kickoff 85 yards for a touchdown and caught a touchdown pass. Lawrence McCoy had his best day rushing as well carrying the ball 18 times for a season-best 154 yards. Quarterback James Harris threw two touchdown passes on 9 of 14 passing for 130 yards while Chris Smith rushed for 71 yards. Receiver Alex Tounkara caught his 11th touchdown pass of the year. Philipp Andersen kicked a 50 yard field goal as well.

Dresden RB Joe Bergeron had best rushing day of season against Berlin Photo: Birgit Krauch

Dresden managed to stay one score ahead of the Rebels but not without a struggle as Berlin tied the game three times. It took a fourth quarter touchdown to put the game away.

Safron found von Wachsmann for the game’s first major on a 19 yard touchdown pass but McCoy evened the score at 7-7 on a five yard plunge. Then Safron engineered a beautiful 89 yard, 15 play drive capping it with an 11 yard touchdown pass to Schallo and the Monarchs took the lead again 14-7. Harris then hit Tounkara with a 51 yard scoring pass to open the second quarter to pull Berlin even again, 14-14.

The Monarchs added two more touchdowns in the second quarter on receptions by Hinrichs and von Wachsmann and a Florian Finke field goal, but the Rebels kept chipping away with a field goal by Anderson and White’s kickoff return touchdown and the score was 31-24 heading into the third quarter.

Harris led his team on an 81 yard drive to open the second half, taking the ball in himself to tie the game up again, 31-31. Safron responded, again, this time hitting Hinrichs for his second touchdown to regain the lead for Dresden, 38-31.

Berlin KR Jamaal White scoring on an 85 yard kickoff return Photo Christian Goßlar

And again Berlin equalized, this time with a Harris-to-White touchdown pass early in the fourth quarter pulling the Rebels even at 38-38.

Dresden fans were definitely getting their money’s worth.

Berlin’s onside kick attempt failed though and Dresden took advantage of great field position with Safron finding Schallo on a 33 yard pass right down the middle and the Monarchs retook the lead for good, 45-38.

The Dresden defense did the rest and Monarchs head coach John Leijten could breathe a sigh of relief.

With the win, Dresden is pretty much assured of third place in the German Football League North with a shot at second with two games left. Berlin drops to fifth behind the Cologne Crocodiles who have a game in hand.

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.