Germany: Marburg Mercenaries knock off high flying Allgäu Comets

The Marburg Mercenaries brought the  “Flying Circus” back down to earth with a thud, beating the Allgäu Comets 28-14 at home in Georg-Gassmann Stadium in Marburg.

Playing without starting quarterback Alexander Thury who was out with an injury, Marburg turned to running back Silas Nacita and the “Wildcat” formation. Nacita rose to the occasion, throwing for 178 yards and three touchdowns and scoring one touchdown himself while rushing for 111 yards. Wide receiver Marvin Rutsch scored twice while Phil Lanieri hauled in a pass for a touchdown from Nacita.

Comets quarterback Justin Sottilare struggled under the constant pressure from Marburg’s front seven throwing four interceptions. He completed 30 of 60 passes for 282 yards but he was repeatedly abandoned by his normally reliable wide receivers, especially in the first half as they were dropping balls. He scored one touchdown in the first half on his own and then threw a touchdown pass to Jordan Paul in the fourth quarter.

The Mercenaries defense played superb football. After trapping the Comets deep in their own zone on the game’s first possession, Marburg got the ball on Allgäu‘s side of the field. Four plays later Nacita scored, stunning the Comets.

With Allgäu unable to advance past their own 20 yard line, Marburg scored again on the next series. This time Nacita capped a 68 yard drive with a touchdown throw to Lanieri opening up a 14-0 lead in the first quarter.

Marburg RB Marvin Rutsch scored 2 TDs Photo: Norbert Schneider

Allgäu threatened on the ensuing possession, but despite reaching the Marburg eight yard line, they could not score as Sottilare was picked off on the goalline by Neil Howey. Sottilare finally got the offense untracked midway through the second quarter, engineering a nine-play, 53 yard drive carrying the ball in himself to narrow the lead to 14-7 at the half.

The third quarter saw more of the same with the Marburg defense keeping the “Flying Circus” in check. Nacita marched the Mercenaries to the Allgäu 17 yard line and then tossed a touchdown pass to Rutsch to increase the lead to 21-7.

The Comets closed the gap to 21-14 on the next series with Sottilare completing seven of eight passes for 76 yards before finding Paul for a touchdown. The lead was down to 21-14 and Allgau recovered the onside kickoff.

This time Sottilare drove his team down to the Marburg 22 yard line. But that was where it stopped. Taking over on their own 22, Marburg took three plays to reach the end zone as Nacita threw a 52 yard touchdown pass to Rutsch as a final blow.

Marburg Mercenary’s Head Coach Dale Heffron on how his team pulled out an improbable win without a starting quarterback:

“First of all we practiced everyday last week on a Wildcat offense I drew up Sunday and the plan was let Silas Nacita do Silas stuff..Plain and simple. Defensively I wanted Allgua to see a different defensive look that they have faced. I moved Howey to linebacker and he really shut done their quick passing game. Lanieri moved to safety for deep stuff. And most important I challenged my young Germans to make plays Sunday and they played the best game of their young careers.”

Needless to say, Comets head coach Stan Bedwell was not happy:

“It was just one of those days. We played about as poorly as we possibly could in all three facets of the game and we were completely outcoached as well. Hats off to Coach Heffron and the Mercenaries for the win, it was well deserved. We don’t have time to dwell on this one, as we have a very tough Kirchdorf team coming to town this weekend. They beat Marburg two weeks ago, so we are well aware of the challenge we have ahead of us.”

Photos: Norbert Schneider

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