ELF: Frankfurt Galaxy knock off Berlin Thunder in Wild Card Round

The Frankfurt Galaxy advanced to the European League of Football semifinals on Saturday with a 20-3 win at home over the Berlin Thunder in the ELF Wild Card Round.

Frankfurt made the first big play of the game when defensive back Joshua Poznanski intercepted Berlin quarterback Slade Jarman and returned it into opposing territory.  However, a sack by Kyle Kitchens, perhaps the league’s best defensive player, knocked Frankfurt out of field goal range and forced a punt.  Later on, the visitors would get an interception of their own, as Frankfurt quarterback Jakeb Sullivan was picked off by Viljo Lempinen.  Berlin would then get on the scoreboard first, as Jonas Schenderlein kicked an impressive 52 yard field goal near the end of the first quarter.

After the teams traded punts, Frankfurt struck on the second play of their drive when Sullivan found Kevin Mwamba for a 52 yard touchdown strike.  More punts would then follow, but the home team broke through again, as they capped off a long drive with a touchdown pass from Sullivan to fellow American Reece Horn.  The extra point was no good, though, so Frankfurt took a 13-3 lead into halftime.

Photo: Eric Muehle

In the third quarter, Frankfurt was driving deep into Berlin territory, but Kitchens struck again, forcing a Sullivan fumble which was recovered by a Thunder teammate.  However, the Thunder offense could not take advantage, going three-and-out.  Berlin punted away, and Horn returned the punt all the way to the Thunder 21 yard line.  The Galaxy struck quickly from there, as Sullivan found Nico Strahmann for a touchdown on the second play of the possession, extending the lead to 20-3.

In the fourth quarter, the teams traded punts, but then Berlin marched down the field, needing a miraculous comeback to keep their season alive.  However, their drive ended on 4th and 9 from the Frankfurt 12, as Jarman was intercepted by Marcos Schlabitz.

Unfortunately, at the end of Schlabitz’s interception return, there was a collision involving a member of the Thunder staff, who was injured as a result.  Around the same time, a Berlin player reportedly collapsed due to the hot weather in Frankfurt.  With only about 5:30 on the clock remaining and the game all but out of reach, the game was called off early.  Most importantly, though, the two individuals affected were reported to have been doing better in the hours following the game.

Frankfurt moves on to face the seemingly-unstoppable Rhein Fire, who are the only team that has beaten the Galaxy this season.  For Berlin, their most successful season in their three years in the ELF has come to an end. 

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.