Germany: Schwäbisch Hall Unicorns outlast Allgäu Comets in opening week thriller

The first week of the German Football League gave us a game that might be the best game of the entire season by the time it’s complete, as the Schwäbisch Hall Unicorns took down the Allgäu Comets in a 58-57 thriller.

The visiting Comets got the ball first and quickly found the end zone on a 39 yard pass from quarterback Xeavier Bullock to receiver Ahsan Moore, but the Unicorns responded with a 26 yard touchdown pass from Conor Miller to Jason-Matthew Sharsh.  Each team would add another long touchdown before the end of the 1st quarter, as Comets running back Leonardo Walter ran for a 59 yard touchdown before Miller and Sharsh linked up for an 82 yard strike.  Since each team succeeded on a two-point conversion, the first quarter ended in a 15-15 tie.

Schwäbisch Hall took the lead in the second frame when Miller found Aurieus Minton for a 15 yard touchdown, but the Comets responded on the first play of their ensuing possession, as Bullock connected with Moore for a 77 yard score.  After a Unicorns punt, Bullock struck again with another deep shot, as he found Dominik Hoerner from 82 yards out to take the lead.  But the home team bounced back on their next possession, re-tying the game after Sharsh’s third touchdown of the half.  The Comets still had time on the clock before halftime, and they made the most of it, as Bullock capped a long drive with a 2 yard rushing touchdown to give his team a 36-29 lead at the break.

In the third quarter, the Comets’ defense started out with a big play, as Luis Stroebel intercepted Miller on the Unicorns’ first possession.  Bullock capped the ensuing drive off with another short rushing touchdown to extend the lead to 43-29.  But that lead was immediately cut in half, as Sharsh struck again, this time on special teams, as he returned the kickoff back for a touchdown.  The Comets drove down the field again, but this time Bullock was intercepted by Monteze Latimor deep in Unicorns territory to keep the visitors off the board.  The Schwäbisch Hall offense took advantage, as they drove down the field and scored a key touchdown on 4th down when Miller connected with Magnus Bumiller to tie the game.

The fourth quarter began with another Comets touchdown, this time on a pass from Bullock to Nate Stewart.  But once again, Sharsh caught the ensuing kickoff and took it all the way to the house, immediately re-tying the game at 50.  After the teams traded punts, the Comets offense marched down the field and found the end zone on a 1 yard pass from Bullock to Stewart with just over two minutes left.  

But that left too much time on the clock for Miller and the Unicorns quickly moved down the field and set up their offense at 1st and goal from the opposing 6 yard line.  The Comets’ defense held on for three plays, but on 4th and goal from the 1 yard line, Mike Gentili punched it into the end zone with 22 seconds left.  However, the Unicorns weren’t just content with tying the game, and the game came down to a final two point conversion.  Of course, Miller’s pass was caught by Jason-Matthew Sharsh, capping off his monster day with the game winning play.  The Comets could not respond in time, and the Unicorns held on for the victory.

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The Comets nearly doubled the offensive yardage of the Unicorns, at 716 to 371, but it was still not enough to earn the victory.  Of course, the Unicorns’ offensive yardage total does not factor in the two long kickoff returns for touchdowns from Sharsh.  Xeavier Bullock completed 26 of 44 passes for 575 yards and 5 touchdowns, while also running for 95 yards and 2 touchdowns in a monster performance despite the loss.  Incredibly, Allgäu had three different receivers (Hoerner, Moore, and Stewart) who each had over 150 yards.  Schwäbisch Hall quarterback Conor Miller had a quieter yet still solid day, completing 18 of 31 passes for 264 yards and 5 touchdowns, while running back Mike Gentili had 23 carries for 107 yards and a score, and Sharsh had 126 receiving yards and three receiving touchdowns along with the two return touchdowns.

It was a monumental day for both teams’ offenses, while the defenses have some work to do going forward.  Next week, the Unicorns face the Kirchdorf Wildcats on the road, while the Comets host the Ravensburg Razorbacks.

A current student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Carter played football in high school and has been a lifelong avid football fan.