Germany: Potsdam Royals defeat Braunschweig New Yorker Lions to advance to 2023 GFL Bowl

The Potsdam Royals advanced to their second straight GFL Bowl this past weekend after downing the Braunschweig New Yorker Lions 41-28 in front of a frenzied home crowd at Karl Liebknecht stadium in Potsdam.

They will face the Schwäbisch Hall Unicorns for the second consecutive year after the Unicorns defeated the Dresden Monarchs 36-30 in the other semifinal.

From the beginning of the game, it was clear that both offenses came to play as each team had scored a pair of touchdowns by the end of the first period. Potsdam’s contributions came off a six-yard run by Genaddiy Adams and a 20-yard pass to Brandon Polk from Jaylon Henderson.

Braunschweig found the endzone in similar fashion. They started with a 20-yard passing score of their own from QB Karé Lyles to Luc Meacham and would end of the quarter with a two-yard score from Finn Opperman.

Potsdam RB Heiko Bals #9 taking handoff from QB Jaylon Henderson. Photo: Nicol Marschall

Heading into the second quarter, Potsdam held a 16-14 lead and the pace of the game changed as the scoring slowed down. It still remained a back-and-forth affair as both teams added another touchdown. Towards the end of the first half, the Royals extended their lead to 24-14 after a Henderson rushing score from 2-yards out.

But with 58 seconds in the half, the Lions answered as Lyles connected with Meachum yet again this time from the 12 yard line, to narrow the lead to 24-21 going into the half.

While the game was still neck-and-neck, it would be Potsdam to start to break away in the second half. After the Lions were forced to punt on their first drive of the second half, Potsdam made their drives count.

Henderson marched the Royals offense on an 8 play, 72-yard drive, capping it with a 20-yard touchdown pass to Adams. Potsdam then added a 30-yard field goal from the toe of Heiko Bals to extend the lead to 33-21 heading into the fourth quarter.

With the Lions in need of something to turn the momentum their way, the defense produced it forcing a fumble by Henderson. But the Royals defense returned the favor on the ensuing drive, picking off Lyles. Three plays later, the Braunschweig secondary responded as  OJ Thompson picked off an errant Henderson pass and returned it to the Potsdam 14 yard line. This time the offense capitalized. Running back D’Wayne Obi punched the ball in from the four yard line three plays later to close the gap to 33-28.

However, the Potsdam offense then picked up the intensity as Henderson threw his third touchdown of the game, this time a 39 yard strike to Richard Burton. This would be the last score of the game making the final 41-28.

Potsdam will now face the Schwäbisch Hall Unicorns on October 14 in Frankfurt in the 2023 Erima GFL Bowl.

Noah Costantino is a student and football player at Baldwin Wallace University in Cleveland, Ohio. Fueled by his love for the game he looks to continue his knowledge of football at an international level. He is majoring in Communications with a