GFL: Ravensburg Razorbacks edge Munich Cowboys for 1st win of the season

The Ravensburg Razorbacks rebounded from a tough loss on the opening weekend of play in the German Football League to edge the Munich Cowboys 27-26 in Ravensburg Sunday afternoon, but they needed a brilliant end zone pass knockdown with seconds left on the clock to do it.

Ravensburg had been thumped 58-14 by the Schwabisch Hall Unicorns to start the season last week, while Munich was coming off an overwhelming win over the Frankfurt Universe.

On this day, the Razorbacks got a measure of revenge.

Still, it was Munich who struck first.

On the opening drive of the game, the Cowboys marched down to the Razorbacks 20 yard line with quarterback Justin Sottilare showing off his impressive arm strength. Cowboys kicker Robert Werner then kicked a 30 yard field goal to open the scoring.

It wouldn’t be long before the Razorbacks got on the board themselves as QB Ryan Deal (#15) scrambled around trying to make plays with the Munich defensive front haranguing him. After a series of screens and intermediate throws, Deal connected with wideout Jan Grischenenig (#8) on a 40-yard seam route that looked as if it would be intercepted but split through the defenders hands and went for six. 

Ravensburg WR Finn Seidelmann #13 caught 3 passes for 23 yards and 1 TD Photo: Shakral Photography

And then on the very next Razorback drive Deal would again lead the team down the field in the same fashion as before connecting with Finn Seidelmann (#13) from the 13 to the back corner of the endzone. This would now take the team up 14 – 3 in what was starting to look like a dominant performance after their opening loss to the Schwäbisch Hall Unicorns.

The inability to finish drives would plague the Munich offense in the first half as time and time again they would put great drives together but be forced to settle for field goals ending the half 14 – 6.

The second half would get to see a markedly more decisive Cowboys side as the team was galvanised by a pin-point bomb down the sideline from Sottilare to Luca Salvo (#11). A few plays later the team would be down inside with the score coming from a QB sneak from under centre by Sottilare. The score would stand at 14 – 13 and do away with a first half of dominance by the Razorbacks.

Some back and forth from the two sides resulted in a game of aerial ping pong from the punters until Sottilare was able to find Oklahoma University alumni Micah Quick (#2) resulting in large chunks of yardage being eaten up. The drive would culminate in a 20-yard TD fade to receiver Kai Silbermann (#5) as the corner slipped on the line of scrimmage leaving Silbermann wide open. 

Munich Cowboys QB Justin Sottilare threw for 308 yards and 2 TDs Photo: Shakral Photography

With Munich now with momentum and scoring 14 points unanswered going into the fourth quarter, Ravensburg knew they would have to put something together. And Deal did just that by throwing straight into the pressure that Munich was sending and allowing some of his playmakers to zig-zag their way down the field. A few plays later, a 15-yard up-and-out from the Razorback wideout lined up at H-back led to a score but a bewildering two-point conversion attempt left the teams tied at 20 a piece.

After a nothing drive from the Cowboys, Ravensburg were again able to get work their way down the field and connect with Grischenenig who would again beat his man off the line and score on a 25-yard seam.

Sottilare was not going  to go down without a fight and struck back. He utilized playmaker Quick and his German corp on precision throws down the sideline to get the Cowboys inside the redzone. And then with 25 seconds left on the clock Sottilare hit his wide-out Silbermann on a stop route in the endzone to bring the score to 27 – 26 Razorbacks. 

Munich were determined to get the win and in an all or nothing two-point conversion attempt Sottilare threw to the same man who had just scored on a slant-route which hit the chest-plate but was then ripped back out of his grasp by DB Niklas Herrmann to give the Razorbacks their first win of the season.

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.