ELF: Hamburg Sea Devils defeat Cologne Centurions for first win of 2023

The Hamburg Sea Devils picked up their first win of the 2023 European League of Football season on Saturday by beating the Cologne Centurions 34-17.

After dropping their first two games to the Wroclaw Panthers (34-25) and the Rhein Fire (27-22), the two-time championship finalists did not want to fall to 0-3 this weekend, so this Western Conference game was of great importance to the Sea Devils.  After stopping Cologne on their first drive, Hamburg quickly moved down the field and finished their opening possession with a rushing touchdown by Lucas Harting Candido.  Each team would register a field goal in the second quarter, and the Sea Devils took a 10-3 lead into halftime.

Photo: Jonas Wicker

Hamburg broke through in the third quarter as quarterback Preston Haire turned a sneak attempt into a three yard rushing touchdown to extend the lead to 17-3.  The Sea Devils got the ball back in a hurry, but a Preston Haire pass attempt was intercepted by Cologne’s Jahn Jesus Lara Perez, who returned it to the end zone for a pick six.  The Centurions soon got the ball back trailing by just one possession, but Hamburg responded with a pick six of their own, as Deion Harris intercepted Cologne quarterback Dylan Jacob and took it to the house to seize all momentum from the home team. 

In the fourth quarter, Haire added another rushing touchdown to extend the lead to 31-9 and essentially ice the game.  Cologne scored a late touchdown to make things a little interesting, but Hamburg tacked on a field goal right before the game ended and brought the score to 34-17.

The story of the game was the dominance of Hamburg’s defense, which recorded seven sacks and a defensive touchdown.  They only surrendered 181 total yards of offense and did a good job of keeping the Centurions offense off the field to help the Sea Devils win the time of possession battle.

Photo: Marc Junge

After the game, the Centurions announced that they have released their import quarterback, Dylan Jacob, and will be looking for a replacement in the coming days.  It is tough to pin all of the blame for Cologne’s offensive struggles this season solely on the quarterback, but obviously the Centurions’ staff felt that this was a necessary move for the rest of the season.

The Sea Devils secured a much-needed victory over a team they needed to beat, and now have boosted their record to 1-2 ahead of a clash against the Berlin Thunder next week.  Cologne dropped to 1-2, and unfortunately have a very tough task ahead of them as they face the undefeated Rhein Fire next week.

A current student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Carter played football in high school and has been a lifelong avid football fan.