Germany: Berlin Adler knock off defending champs behind monster day by QB Zach Cavanaugh

In one of the most exciting games of the season in the German Football League so far, the Berlin Adler defeated the defending champion Dresden Monarchs 48-42 in a shootout thriller.

This game was a classic tale of two halves.

It looked like the game was practically over at halftime after Berlin had taken a 28-0 lead into the break, but Dresden gave their opponents a huge scare by scoring 42 points in the
second half. Ultimately, though, their rally fell short, and Berlin held on for the victory, moving them to 3-1 on the season. Dresden fell to 1-2 in the defeat.

Berlin RB Ali Khalife #2 Photo: Sonja Matysiak Photography

The most valuable player of the game was undoubtedly Adler quarterback Zach Cavanaugh. The 35-year-old Massachusetts native is in his fourth year with the Adler and 10th year playing in Germany, but it might be hard to find a stronger performance than the one he put on this weekend. Cavanaugh completed 28 of 35 passes for 382 yards along with five touchdowns and an interception. He also carried the ball 20 times for 148 yards and scored two additional touchdowns on the ground. His most frequently targeted receiver on the day was Max Zimmermann, who caught 10 passes for 141 yards and two touchdowns, both of which came in the first half. Veteran Patrick Donahue also had a monster day, recording nine receptions for 151 yards and a touchdown.

While Berlin’s defense stifled the Monarch offense in the first half, they completely fell apart in the second half. With the Adler holding a 28-0 lead at the half, Dresden’s new quarterback Justin Agner, in his first start after the season-ending injury to starter Austyn Carta-Samuels, lit up the field in the second half, recording five touchdown passes while handing off for another. Darrell Stewart caught seven passes for 79 yards and two touchdowns, while Isaiah Amaechi caught five passes for 58 yards and three touchdowns. Dresden was helped out tremendously by poor discipline on the part of Berlin, who racked up 170 yards in penalties in the second half alone. However, the Monarchs poor showing in the first half proved too costly to overcome as Berlin added three more scores to pull away for the win.

Dresden QB Justin Agner Photo: Sonja Matysiak Photography

After being promoted from the second division of German football before this season, Berlin has gotten off to an impressive 3-1 start in the top division. They have thrived under the leadership of head coach Shuan Fatah, a coach who has had a ton of success in Europe, who joined the team last year and immediately took them to the top division. It will be interesting to see how much success this Berlin team will have this season with Fatah and Cavanaugh leading the way.

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.