Germany: Berlin Rebels pull off last second upset win over Berlin Adler in crosstown rivalry matchup

After playing the opening four games of the German Football League season without a win, and watching as their playoff hopes were rapidly vanishing, the Berlin Rebels turned themselves into contenders again this past weekend after winning their second straight game, edging the Berlin Adler 49-44 on a last second touchdown.

Trailing 44-41 with eight seconds left on the clock and with the ball on the Adler four-yard line, Rebels quarterback Donovan Isom took the shotgun snap, stepped back, lobbed the ball into the deep lefthand corner of the end zone and watched as wide receiver Nigel Westbrooks made a leaping grab just dragging his heels for the game-winning touchdown before falling out of bounds.

The two teams had entered the game on different trajectories. The Adler had won four of their first six games and although they had lost to Braunschweig the week before, had been playing solid football. The Rebels had already lost to their crosstown rivals once this year, in the season opener, and had only one win against the winless Dusseldorf Panther.

Berlin Adler QB Donovan Isom scoring a key TD Photo: Christian Gosslar

And yet it was the Rebels who grabbed the initiative jumping out to a 14-0 lead early in the second quarter on an Isom one yard touchdown plunge and a five-yard scoring pass to Westbrooks. The Adler finally responded with quarterback Zach Cavanaugh coming alive finding his targets, first capping a 64-yard drive with a four-yard pass to Maylan Bacher and then barging into the end zone himself from two yards out with less than 30 seconds to go in the half to tie the game at 14-14.

The third quarter saw more of the same as the teams traded touchdowns. Cavanaugh struck first with a one-yard score within two minutes. Isom responded, finding a streaking Robert Downs III for a 56-yard touchdown strike to tie it up again at 21-21. Cavanaugh then marched the Adler 85 yards in 11 plays finishing with a five-yard end zone pass to Yannik Rohrschneider. Again, Isom answered, first by hitting Westbrooks for a 61-yard-deep pass to move his team down to the Adler five and then handing the ball off to Meril Zero who finished the drive with a five-yard run to tie it again, this time at 28-28 heading into the fourth.

The Adler struck first again as Cavanaugh, taking advantage of a terrible punt that left the Adler on the Rebels twenty-five-yard line, connected with Bacher to pull in front 34-28. However, Westbrooks wasted no time finding the end zone again, taking the ensuing kickoff 100 yards to return the lead to his team now ahead 35-34. Adler kicker L Krieg booted a 31 yard field goal two minutes later and the “other” Berlin team went ahead 37-35.

Berlin Adler ball carrier evading a defender Photo: Christian Gosslar

Then, with eight minutes left in the game, Isom marched the Rebels on a 10 play, 75-yard drive, finishing it by handing off to Zero for a five-yard touchdown. The drive ate up four and a half minutes putting pressure now on Cavanaugh. And he answered after Max Zimmermann returned the kickoff 52 yards to the Rebels 36. Two minutes later, Cavanaugh pushed the ball in from the two to give the Adler a 44-41 lead.

Now the pressure was on Isom. Starting from his own 38, he calmly moved the Rebels down the field, mixing up his plays, using his legs and his receivers wisely until he found a seam up the middle and raced seven yards down to the four. After that, his perfectly thrown ball to Westbrooks sealed the win.

With the victory, the Rebels crept closer to the Adler who occupy fourth place in the GFL North standings. The Rebels do have a game in hand though.

Check out the scoring highlights

American Football International is your source for news and updates about American Football outside the United States!