Just days after the departure of the entire coaching staff, the Allgäu Comets (6-4) secured a crucial victory by beating the Marburg Mercenaries (5-4) 28-25 in front of a chanting home crowd in Kempten, Germany in German Football League action.
With the win, Allgäu moved past the Mercenaries in the GFL South standings and now sit third.
The Comets jumped out to a 14-0 first quarter lead and then held on as Marburg mounted a furious comeback.
Quarterback Justin Sottilare threw for 277 yards (far off his 430 yard average of a month ago) and four touchdowns with Jordan Paul leading all receivers with seven catches for 108 yards and a touchdown. Feli Manoka hauled in six passes for 79 yards and two touchdowns while Jonatan Gihl had eight receptions and a touchdown. Gihl, who converted to running back, rushed for 42 yards, the single, highest one game total for the season for Allgäu.
In his debut game for Marburg, quarterback Zac Cunha completed 26 of 46 passes for 269 yards and two touchdowns with his primary receiver being Silas Nacita who had six receptions for 71 yards. Andrecus Lindley had four catches for 72 yards and two touchdowns. Nacita scored a rushing touchdown while Kristof Szakacs kicked two extra points and a field goal. The Marburg defense accounted for the other two points forcing a safety.
The game did not start well for the Comets as Sottilare threw an interception on his first pass attempt, handing the ball back to Marburg on the Comets 11 yard line. But Comets defensive back Danny Wynne returned the favor, picking off Cunha two plays later.
Sottilare finally got the Allgäu offense untracked engineering two scoring drives, finding Manoka for a 30 yard touchdown and capping a 10 play drive on the Comets next possession, with a seven yard touchdown pass to Gihl. Allgäu went into the second quarter holding a 14-0 lead.
Cunha settled down after that and completed four of six passes in driving Marburg down to the Comets two yard line, and then handed the ball off to Nacita who scored. Heading into halftime, Allgau led 14-7.
The Mercenaries defense made a statement early in the third quarter, trapping Sottilare for a safety closing the gap to 14-9. Then Szakacs kicked a 26 yard field goal to cap another drive narrowing the lead to 14-12 going into the fourth quarter.
That’s when the Comets offense came alive again with Sottilare finishing a seven play, 78 yard drive with a 35 yard touchdown pass to Paul, increasing the lead to 21-12. The Mercenaries answered though with Cunha finding Lindley for a 44 yard scoring strike, again closing the gap to a field goal, 21-18.
Sottilare responded mounting a 67 yard scoring drive, finding Manoka from 13 yards out, to extend the lead to 28-18.
And again Marburg came back with Nacita returning the kickoff 44 yards to the Allgäu 33 yard line, and then Cunha hitting Lindley for a six yard touchdown and with just over two minutes left, Allgäu led 28-25.
That was as close as they would come. The Comets recovered the onside kick and then staved off a late Mercenaries charge for the win.