Germany: Cologne Crocodiles upset Berlin Rebels to stay in playoff race

The Cologne Crocodiles delighted their home crowd in the 32 degree heat at Sportpark Höhenberg field in Cologne Sunday, handing the Berlin Rebels their first loss of the season in beating them 34-29.

The Crocodiles improved their record to 3-3 to stay in the hunt for a playoff berth while Berlin dropped to 4-1 with a huge game looming this weekend against the unbeaten New Yorker Lions. It also marked the first win for Cologne against a +.500 team.

Behind the 157 yards of rushing from Kevin Parks, Cologne controlled the second and third quarters and held on late to gain the win. Quarterback Benjamin Mentges was solid completing 15 of 31 passes for 249 yards and two touchdowns. Receivers Trevor Vasey and Olaf Fries caught a touchdown pass each in the win. Noah Ploettner kicked two of three field goals.

Rebels quarterback James Harris completed 29 of 43 passes for 431 yards and three touchdowns while his leading receiver Alexander Tounkara was magnificent, catching caught 10 passes for 246 yards and two touchdowns.

Cologne opened the scoring on their very first play from scrimmage  after recovering a Berlin fumble, with Parks finding a seam and racing 38 yards to give the Crocodiles a 7-0 lead.

Berlin evened the score at 7-7 early in the second quarter as Harris began picking apart the Crocodiles secondary with Tounkara doing most of the damage and finally catching a 34 yard touchdown pass.

Berlin Rebels WR Alex Tounkara caught 10 passes for 246 yards in a loss Photo: Thomas H. Berschet

The Crocodiles regained the lead as Mentges engineered a 10 play 75 yard drive ending it with a 16 yard touchdown pass to Fries.

Harris then mounted his own 75 yard drive finishing it by carrying the ball in himself from seven yards out tying the game at 14-14, still in the second quarter.

Ploettner added a Cologne field goal and the half ended with the Crocodiles holding on to a 17-14 lead.

Mentges wasted no time in the third quarter finding Vasey on a 49 yard touchdown pass on the second play from scrimmage increasing Cologne’s lead to 24-14. The Rebels countered with a field goal but Cologne came back again with Parks scoring from 18 yards out to add to the lead, 31-17.

Still in the third quarter, Harris again turned to Tounkara for a 27 yard touchdown pass and the Rebels were down only eight, 31-23 with plenty of time left in the game. But the Crocodiles defense stiffened holding the Rebels to one final touchdown midway through the fourth quarter while Ploettner added another field goal for Cologne.

The win for a Cologne team who are new to the German Football League this year was impressive. The Rebels have been playing excellent football this season. The race between thee of the top five teams in the North division just got tighter.

 

 

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