Germany: Europe #1 Schwäbisch Hall Unicorns stay unbeaten, down Marburg Mercenaries

The Schwäbisch Hall Unicorns, Europe #1, improved to 9-0 in the German Football League South conference with a 38-19 victory over the Marburg Mercenaries at Optima Sportpark in Schwäbisch Hall .

Marburg did not make it easy.

Playing with Silas Nacita at quarterback for the second time this season, the Mercenaries kept pace with the Unicorns until early in the fourth quarter when Schwäbisch Hall managed to pull away with two touchdowns within the space of two minutes to seal the win.

Unicorns quarterback Marco Ehrenfried was efficient in completing 14 of 24 passes for 178 yards and one touchdown while running for another. Running back Maurice Schüle rushed for 134 yards and one touchdown while Jerome Manyema added another 49 yards rushing and a touchdown. Aurieus Adgebesan hauled in a five yard touchdown pass from Ehrenfried and Yannick Baumgartner caught a touchdown pass from fellow receiver Nate Robitaille. Chrsitan Hafels kicked a 32 yard field goal and three extra points.

Nacita was a one-man wrecking crew for Marburg, keeping his team in the game until the fourth quarter. He threw for 119 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for 81 yards. In other words, he accounted for virtually all of Marburg’s offense on the day. He also punted four times for 124 yards and added a tackle too. Three times during the game, he converted fourth down into new first downs. Whew. Defensive back Markus Krüger scored on a 17 yard fumble return for a touchdown while receiver Hendrik Schwarz caught a five yard touchdown pass.

Unicorns RB Jerome Manyema Photo: Manfred Löffler

Mercenaries head coach Dale Heffron was full of praise for his quarterback:

“Silas is a very special athlete. Without him, we would probably have lost 60-0 today. “

With a crowd of 2,000 looking on, the Unicorns opened the scoring on their first possession with Manyema scoring on a 12 yard run capping an 11 play, 77 yard drive.

Nacita responded early in the second quarter finding P.Lanieri  for a 13 yard touchdown, pulling to within 7-6.

Ehrenfried then engineered two straight scoring drives, throwing to Adegbesan for one touchdown and finishing the second drive by taking it in himself, extending the lead to 21-6.

Marburg was not out of it though as Krüger picked up an Ehrenfried fumble and rumbled in from 17 yards out narrowing the lead to 21-12 at the half.

The Unicorns drove down to the Marburg 13 yard line to open the second half but could only come away with a Hafels field goal, giving them a 24-12 lead.

Marburg RB Andrecus Lindley stretching for yardage Photo: Manfred Löffler

Against Nacita answered, this time marching his team on a 13 play, 65 yard drive which ate up almost seven minutes finishing it with a five yard touchdown pass to Schwarz . Szakacs kicked the extra point and Marburg had pulled to within five points, 24-19 entering the fourth quarter.

Ehrenfried came back with his own four minute drive, carrying the ball in him self to finish it and extend the lead to 31-19. Then an untimely fumble by Marvin Rutsch was returned by Unicorns defensive back Niclas Merk to the Marburg 27 yard line. On the next play, Robitaille hit Baumgartner for a touchdown to increase the lead to 38-19.

That took the wind out of the sails for the Mercenaries. They could not move the ball again and the Unicorns came away with a win, this time a hard-earned one.

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