German Bowl: Running Backs – New Yorker Lions Chris Smith & Schwäbisch Hall’s Anthony Bilal

German Bowl XXXVIII takes place this Saturday October 8th between the 3-time defending champion New Yorker Lions and the undefeated Schwäbisch Hall Unicorns and will feature two of the best offenses in Germany and Europe.

This is the third straight year these two teams face each other in Germany’s championship contest and the sixth consecutive year that one or the other has played in the final. The Lions have won the past three while Schwäbisch Hall captured the title in 2011 and 2012.

The Unicorns offensive juggernaut rolled up 753 points in the 2016 season in 16 games (including both playoff games) which is a stunning 47.1 points per game average. The Lions were not far behind scoring 615 points in total which works out to 38.4 points a game.

Both teams rely on their running games and both have impressive running backs.

Dutch native Chris Smith came to the Lions in 2015 after a successful career with the Alphen Eagles in Holland. This season was a breakout year for the 6’1″, 205 lb Smith as he became the go-to running back for Braunschweig, gaining 1,417 yards on 174 carries, averaging 8.1 yards a carry.

He is prepared for his second straight German Bowl appearance:

I think my role for the game will be simply just executing and doing my job. I will do anything in my power to have my team go home with the bowl whether it’s me blocking the whole game or running my lungs out.

He knows how athletic the Schwäbisch Hall defense is:

I have seen them on film and they got some good athletes in their defense. I never played them before so I’m very excited to do so this Saturday.

In the German semifinal against the Kiel Baltic Hurricanes, Smith picked up 119 yards and scored a touchdown.

Unicorns top running back Anthony Bilal has not been asked to carry the ball as often for the pass-heavy Unicorns but still averaged 7 yards a carry in gaining 873 yards while scoring 12 touchdowns. In his semifinal against the Dresden Monarchs, Bilal rushed for 118 yards and a touchdown.

The 5’7″, 184 lb running back from Lake Erie College (NCAA Div. II) is known for his shiftiness and speed. He ran for almost 6,000 yards in his college career and was clocked at a 4.4 40. He is definitely dangerous in the open field.

Be sure to tune in to watch these top European running backs in German Bowl XXXVIII – the 38th championship final of American football in Germany. It will be held on Saturday, October 8th, 2016 at 5.30p CET, 11:30a EST at Friedrich-Ludwig-Jahn-Sportpark in Berlin.

Further information about the German Bowl XXXVIII visit www.germanbowl.de and visit the events Facebook page at German Bowl XXXVIII.

German Bowl XXXVIII – New Yorker Lions v. Schwäbisch Hall Unicorns

Roger Kelly
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.
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