Germany: Schwäbisch Hall Unicorns announce a change at QB

The Schwäbisch Hall Unicorns are swapping quarterbacks, sort of, with the announcement that they have signed American-Italian, Italian Bowl champion, Reilly Hennessey for the 2022 season, replacing German quarterback Alexander Haupert who is retiring after suffering two major injuries late in the season.

Hennessey’s performance in a losing cause in the German Bowl was enough to convince head coach Jordan Neuman that he was the right choice to take over from Haupert.

“The most important thing is that Reilly is a perfect fit in the team and in the Unicorns culture. Although he only had nine days to prepare at the beginning of October, he integrated quickly and came up with a strong performance in the German Bowl after Alex Haupert was injured! I’m really excited to see what we can achieve together over an entire season. We are very much looking forward to having Reilly in Schwäbisch Hall soon and to starting the season preparation for 2022 with him.”

The 25-year-old native of Camas, Washington who played at Central Washington (NCAA Div. 1), with only a week’s preparation, stepped in early in the title game after Haupert, who was already limping, suffered a broken collarbone, and threw for 164 yards and two touchdowns. Although it wasn’t enough on the day as Dresden went on to win 28-19, it was good enough to whet the Unicorns‘ appetite. They continued to pursue Hennessey after the season and have now agreed to terms with the quarterback.

Hennessey is definitely looking forward to the challenge:

“I’m very excited to be a Unicorn. When I got to know the organization and the city, I knew that this was a place where I could continue to grow as a football player and as a person. I am looking forward to gaining experience in a culture that is new to me and to being able to play football at a very high level. Many thanks to everyone who made this opportunity possible for me! “

In stepping away, Haupert, who led the Unicorns to the German Bowl and a Central European Football League title, is full of praise for Schwäbisch Hall:

“I loved playing for the Unicorns, which are one of the best coached and most talented teams in Europe. I enjoyed every second of training and games! All the people in the team and in the organization were great to me and made my time in Schwäbisch Hall unforgettable. I’ve never regretted taking the step to the Unicorns and I would do it over again and again.”

With Haupert behind center, Schwäbisch Hall went undefeated throughout the regular season. He threw for 1,578 yards and 17 touchdowns against only four interceptions and looked ready heading into the playoffs. But a knee injury sustained in the semifinals left Haupert in a precarious state coming into the German Bowl against the Dresden Monarchs. The Unicorns, not willing to leave the game up to chance, decided just a week before the final, to bring in Hennessey who had won the Italian championship with the Parma Panthers, as insurance.

Prior to arriving in Germany, Hennessey, who played at Central Washington University (NCAA D1), enjoyed an outstanding season in Italy, averaging 210 passing yards per game and racking up 17 TDs in just eight games. He will now be playing in one the best three leagues in Europe with the Unicorns asking more of him. 

The signing gives Hennessey the chance to step up onto the big stage in Europe while allowing the Unicorns the freedom to add another import. Hennessey has an Italian passport enabling him to play as a European.

With this apparent upgrade at quarterback, the Unicorns will undoubtedly be expecting Hennessey to win his second championship in Europe next year.



Daniel Mackenzie is a Press Association graduate who works in journalism and communications in the third sector. Daniel began playing football for the London Warriors and Team Great Britain and has since played across Europe.