It may be called backing into the final but the Frankfurt Universe moved on to Eurobowl XXXI despite losing to the Berlin Rebels 11-10 Saturday in front of a crowd of 1,200 at Mommsen Stadion in Berlin.
The Rebels needed to win by 14 points in order to advance to the final.
This was a “take-no-prisoners” defensive battle. The two teams combined for only 374 yards of offense. Frankfurt linebacker Dustin Illetschko had nine tackles while Rory Johnson for the Rebels also had nine.
The Rebels trailed Frankfurt 10-3 with less than three minutes left in the game when quarterback James Harris found Nicolai Schumann for a 62 yard touchdown pass and then hit Dominic Helmbold for the two-point conversion to give Berlin an 11-10 lead.
In a tough defensive struggle, special teams played a huge role. Neither team could penetrate the red zone in the first half which ended 0-0. However, Frankfurt’s James Tidwell returned the opening kickoff of the second half 61 yards to the Berlin 34 yard line. Four plays later Universe running back Silas Nacita, who finished with 113 yards rushing, carried the ball in from 15 yards out and Frankfurt held a 7-0 lead.
Frankfurt then recovered a fumble by Berlin quarterback James Harris on his own eight yard line on the next possession and kicked a field goal to take a 10-0 lead midway through the third quarter.
The Rebels answered with their own field goal with two minutes left in the third quarter, setting the stage for Harris’s late-game dramatics.
The Universe will now face the the Braunschweig New Yorker Lions on June 11 in Eurobowl XXXI.