Germany: Kiel Baltic Hurricanes slay New Yorker Lions in stunning upset

English poet James Shirley once wrote “There is no armour against Fate. Death lays his icy hand on kings, sceptre and crown must tumble down and in the dust be equal made with the poor crookèd scythe and spade.”

On Saturday, death came for the kings of German football.

The Braunschweig New Yorker Lions were still reeling from their first loss since the 2018 GFL semifinal heading into the weekend, but falling to a talented Dresden Monarchs club had few writing off the long-time national powerhouse and reigning German Bowl champions. With a devastating upset at the hands of the winless Kiel Baltic Hurricanes, the whole country can now hear the crown of a dynasty clatter to the floor.

The first victory of the season for Kiel came at full value in a back-and-forth affair that was never handed to them. Receiver Weston Carr shone with ten catches for 209 yards and a hat trick of touchdowns, but it was quarterback Joe Germinerio who slew the king. Completing 19 of 24 passes for 252 yards and four touchdowns with pinpoint accuracy, the dual-threat pivot rushed for another 83 yards and the game-deciding score in a performance for the history books.

The trouble began for the Lions on the very first drive. Germinerio found his favorite target Carr on a comeback and the receiver spun away from first contact, making the safety miss en-route to a 50-yard touchdown. Early on the next drive, Sven Rennhack stripped Lions‘ quarterback Jake Kennedy and Darin Hungerford recovered to give Germinerio another shot. Four plays later, Carr had the ball in his hands in behind the defense once again, this time for a 41-yard score, making it 13-0 after a blocked point after.

Kiel Baltic Hurricanes QB Joe Germinerio stretching for a TD Photo: Max Seefeld

Down two scores less than seven minutes in, the Lions began to stir. Running back Exavier Edwards converted a key fourth down with a 23-yard carry, then matched it through the air by taking a short screen 25 yards to paydirt. That spark failed to ignite however, as Kiel rolled into the second quarter with a 12-play, 64-yard drive that continued to show off the chemistry between Germinerio and Carr. After the former picked up a first down with his legs to make it first and goal, the latter hauled in a six-yard score to extend the lead to 20-7.

Finally it was time for the team from Braunschweig to make a run. Kennedy quickly found Justus Holtz for a 49-yard touchdown bomb down the left side and after Florian Fehrle silenced the Hurricanes with a timely sack, Edwards burst for a combined 61 yards on four straight carries to spark an 89-yard drive to end the half with a 23-yard Luca Jeckstadt field goal. That momentum continued to flow into the third quarter, with Edwards and Kennedy driving the field on the ground before French tight end Robin Sebeille slipped through for an 11-yard score to put Braunschweig in the lead for the first time.

That would be short-lived, as Germinerio got Kiel into plus-territory with another 33-yard strike to Carr, then looked to the endzone once again. Benedikt Englmann was there to reach behind him for an the 11-yard touchdown, but the point after was missed and New Yorker came storming back. Jake Kennedy led his team down the field in 10 plays and scampered 21 yards up the middle for a touchdown to go up 31-26.

The Hurricanes failed to claw back the points to start the fourth quarter and the Lions had a chance to extend, but the Kiel defense seized the moment. Darin Hungerford took on the lead block and ripped the ball out of Exavier Edwards grip with his free left hand, recovering it himself with just over four minutes remaining. From there, it was Germinerio who played hero. Taking off on the quarterback draw, he spun away from linebacker David Muller and left safety Robin Papke grasping air with a nifty juke, before extending across the goal line for a 21-yard score.

Braunschweig RB #8 Exavier Edwards rushed for 174 yards Photo: Max Seefeld

Englmann added a two-point conversion to make it a three point game, but the Lions had time to respond. The Hurricanes defense was up to the task. Flushed to his right, Kennedy was intercepted by Gerritt Hoeppner in spectacular fashion, allowing the underdogs to run out the clock on New Yorker’s German supremacy with a 34-31 victory.

While Kiel was relentless thanks to the engine of Carr and Germinerio, the Lions succumbed despite an outstanding performance from Exavier Edwards, who posted 250 all-purpose yards, 174 along the ground and a score before his fateful fumble. Quarterback Jake Kennedy rushed for 84 yards and six points of his own, though he produced just 145 yards through the air after completing 13 of 20 passes for three touchdowns and one interception.

The victory will do little to lift Kiel out of the basement of the GFL North, but it likely spells the end of an era for a depleted New Yorker Lions club. Since 2013, Braunschweig has suffered two losses just once, in 2018, notably the only year in that span they failed to reach the German Bowl. Five weeks in to the 2021 campaign, they’ve matched that mark and look increasingly vulnerable at .500, their only victories against the one win Berlin Rebels.

The balance of power has now shifted, with Potsdam, Dresden and Cologne all declaring themselves contenders in the North. Just where the king will be laid to rest in the standings will be a storyline to watch all season.

J.C. Abbott is a student at the University of British Columbia and amateur football coach in Vancouver, Canada. A CFL writer for 3DownNation, his love of travel has been the root of his fascination with the global game.