Germany: Schwäbisch Hall Unicorns advance to GFL Bowl with home win over Dresden Monarchs

The Schwäbisch Hall Unicorns find themselves in yet another German Football League championship game after beating out the Dresden Monarchs 36-30 on Saturday.

From the first whistle, the game was set to be a shootout. The GFL’s premiere quarterback, Steven Duncan, led the Monarchs’ offense out on the opening drive, driving 75 yards downfield as Nico Barrow opened the scoring with an 11-yard touchdown run. The Unicorns’ response was imminent, as Ian Gehrke topped off a 55-yard drive with a touchdown run on the goal line.

Schwäbisch Hall WR Caleb Schweigart #11 hauling in TD pass Photo: M. Löffler

After another Barrow score, this time from three yards out, the second quarter saw Mike Gentili burst through the Dresden secondary for a 31-yard touchdown to equalize. The tides would then turn in the defending champions’ favor as Florian Finke was caught up in the backfield on a punt, securing a safety for the Unicorns. They followed up with a touchdown to increase their lead, again through Gentili, to give Schwäbisch Hall a 23-15 lead going into halftime.

After a Schwäbisch Hall punt and a missed Dresden field goal, the Unicorns put more distance between themselves and the Monarchs as Gehrke found Caleb Schweigart for a five-yard touchdown.

The Monarchs’ offense, who were without doubt the best unit in the league throughout the majority of the regular season, were seemingly incapable of maintaining possession; after a 27-yard completion, a Hayden Braga fumble gave the Unicorns the ball. The next offensive drive saw Duncan picked off by Monteze Latimor, although the Unicorns were unable to capitalize, punting on both drives.

Dresden Monarchs RB NIco Barrow headed for the end zone Photo: M. Löffler

The Monarchs were not done giving up the ball, however; they gave the Unicorns another chance the following possession, spilling the ball after a five-yard Steven Duncan rush. Schwäbisch Hall took advantage of this as Gehrke found Tyler Rutenbeck for an 89-yard score just two plays later.

A Duncan-Braga score on the back of a successful drive finally put Dresden’s offense back in the swing of things, as they doubled up with a Barrow receiving score following a Unicorns punt. Unfortunately, it was too little too late as Gehrke was able to kneel the game out to advance to the GFL Bowl, where they will face the Potsdam Royals.

A current student at Bournemouth University as well as a quarterback with eight years of playing experience. Brad's goal is to be a part of the growth of the game around the world through journalism and media.