Germany: Allgäu Comets edge the Braunschweig New Yorker Lions for historic playoff win

This weekend, the German Football League witnessed history as the Allgäu Comets became the first third place team from the GFL South to defeat a second place team in the GFL North in the playoffs after beating the Braunschweig New Yorker Lions by a score of 14-10.

With the win, the Comets advance to the GFL semifinals for only the second time in their history. The last time they reached the second round of the playoffs in Germany’s top league was in 2015 when, ironically, they faced the same Lions and were defeated 42-21.

In the first quarter, the Comets defense was very effective, shutting down the Lions‘ offense with seemingly relative ease as the Lions, missing starting quarterback Casey Therriault, failed to get a rhythm.

Braunschweig’s offense still seemed to struggle early in the second while the Comets drove into Lions territory. Then, on a fourth and eight from the Braunschweig 43, quarterback Kenyatte Allen, under pressure, found running back Tomiwa Oyewo who raced 43 yards down the sideline to score. That and the extra point put the Comets up 7-0. This score would stand for the rest of the half as Allgäu picked off Braunschweig quarterback Hendrik Scharnbacher on both of the Lions possessions before the half ended.

Photo: Fabian Uebe

Lions head coach Troy Tomlin made a change at quarterback to start the second half, bringing in Therriault despite the injury.

Following a scoreless third quarter, the Lions opened the fourth by finishing off a 12 play 64 yard drive with a 33 yard field goal by kicker Luca Jeckstadt to cut the deficit to 7-3. The Braunschweig defense then picked off Allen on the next Comets possession at their own 25. Therriault marched his team 75 yards in 12 plays, finishing the drive off by handing the ball off to Crusoe Gongbay who barged into the end zone from three yards out to give the Lions a 10-7 lead with three minutes left in the game.

So, with just over three minutes left, the Comets had the ball 83 yards away from the end zone facing a Braunschweig defense bound and determined to stop them. It looked like a story too many teams that have faced the Lions before in the playoffs have seen. However, this time things were different. An unsportsmanlike penalty tacked on to a seven yard gain suddenly put the ball almost at midfield. Six plays later, Allen hit Oyewo for a 12 yard touchdown and with 41 seconds left on the clock, Allgäu had retaken the lead, 14-10.

Braunschweig mounted a final drive but a hook and ladder play with Therriault and running back David McCants got them to the 17 yard line but no further as time ran out.

With the win, the Comets move on to the semifinals, as stated for the second time in their history, where they will face the unbeaten Schwäbisch Hall Unicorns.

A recent graduate of Hofstra University in New York. He is currently a sports freelance journalist and podcaster