GFL: Dresden Monarchs prove their worth in win over Potsdam Royals

The Dresden Monarchs made an emphatic statement this past weekend. Not only did they roll to a convincing 31-14 win over the previously unbeaten Potsdam Royals.

They let the rest of the German Football League know that they are definitely  in the running for the overall title.

Entering the game, the two teams were already considered two of the strongest teams in the GFL North.

It was the Dresden offense that struck first with quarterback Kyle Carta-Samuels Jr. taking all the underneath routes that the stacked Potsdam defense was giving. The Monarchs stayed patient and on the Royals 35-yard line, star wide-out Darrell Stewart Jr. ran a wheel route from the slot and was left wide open to go in for the first score of the game giving Dresden a 7-0 lead.

The Royals tried to get their own star running back Jake Mayon going on their first possession but after a couple of successful runs a bad snap pushed Potsdam back and they were forced to punt. The hype surrounding the game and the Potsdam secondary appeared to be showing as frustrations between the players showed and alignment issues kept occurring. But whatever Dresden lost there, they gained in intensity as the defense flew around on every play, forcing an extremely talented offense to stall numerous times in the game.

Dresden WR Darrell Stewart Jr. #8 caught 8 passes for 117 yards and 2 TDs Photo: Nicol Marschall

The Royals following drive looked promising as Mayon continued to gobble up chunks of yardage but then a string of what seemed like never ending penalties pushed the side further and further back until there was nothing left to do but run a screen and punt the ball away.

The Monarchs were back at it on the following drive, methodically marching down the field play after play. Stewart Jr. continued to rip of chunks of yardage after the catch until Carta-Samuels Jr. was able to hit wideout Robin Wilzeck on a slant route for Dresden’s second score putting them ahead 14-0.

Potsdam quarterback PJ Settles combined with Mayon to continue their dominant rushing attack but with their defense letting in scores, they knew they would have to go to the air soon if they wanted to stay in the game, and go to the air they did. Settles got the defense to bite on a play-action before launching the ball 40 yards to wide-out Michael Breuler who leapt in between the safety and corner to seal the Royals first touchdown.

On the ensuing Monarchs drive, Carta-Samuels Jr. was picked off by safety Marco Beard to give the Royals another legitimate scoring opportunity before the half. The drive looked promising until a mishandle from Breuler, who had just put the Royals back in it, gave the ball back to Dresden. The Monarchs quickly took advantage, with another huge play from Wilzeck to set up Carta-Samuels Jr. who ran it in himself from the three-yard line. Dresden went into the halftime break leading 21 – 7.

Potsdam’s first second half drive went the majority of the field but again stalled just before the redzone. Although their rushing attack was clearly superior and proving effective they simply could not match Dresden through the air on defense or offense and the game began to slip away from them at this point.

Potsdam RB Jake Mayon rushed for 147 yards Photo: Nicol Marschall

A few drives later and late in the third quarter, Dresden again found the endzone with the help of Stewart Jr. who weaved his way in and out of the Royals’ defense from 23 yards out, scoring his eighth touchdown in four games, giving the Monarchs a 28-7 lead.

Dresden added a field goal to open the fourth but then the Monarchs’ offense went into cruise mode. Potsdam, on the other hand, switched quarterbacks, sending in Giovanni Rescigno to replace Settles. The Royals then leaned on their impressive running game to score a last minute touchdown, making the score a little more respectable, but there was no doubt that this was out of reach and ended 31 – 15.

Dresden have now positioned themselves as GFL North favorites, but how they will fare against CEFL Champions Schwäbisch Hall Unicorns is another question. Potsdam faced their first real test this season and came up short. Although they have proved that their rushing attack may be the best in the league,  if they want to play with the best in the league they will need to threaten more in the air.

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.