Hildesheim stage late rally to beat Dresden Monarchs, stay undefeated

The Hildesheim Invaders exploded for three unanswered touchdowns in the fourth quarter to defeat the Dresden Monarchs 31-27 and stay unbeaten in the German Football League North division.

Trailing 27-12 with just over nine minutes left in the game, Hildesheim, aided by a pair of Dresden fumbles, staged a rally for the ages, securing the win with a punt return touchdown with 40 seconds remaining to record their sixth win of the season.

Invaders quarterback Casey Therriault completed 24 of 37 passes for 231 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for 112 and another touchdown. Running back Sean Richard had 79 yards rushing and a touchdown while receiver Anthony Dable-Wolf enjoyed one of his best days of the season catching 10 passes for 100 yards and two touchdowns.

For Dresden, Glen Cuiellette  threw for 266 yards and two touchdowns with his main target being Kevonn Mabon who had 123 yards receiving. Cheikhou Sow had five receptions for 86 yards and a touchdown while Martin Emos hauled in three for 34 yards and a touchdown. Glenn Toonga rushed for 44 yards and a touchdown as well. Florian Finke kicked two field goals and all three extra points.

The Invaders, playing in front of their home town fans, jumped out to a 6-0 lead as Therriault drove them 75 yards in 12 plays and finished with a 10 yard scoring pass to Dable-Wolf.

It took Cuiellette all of four plays to find Sow from 17 yards out and Dresden went out in front 7-6, still in the first quarter.

Photo: © Elena Büchner

The Monarchs defense stepped up keeping Hildesheim from crossing midfield while Cuiellette went back to work, engineering another drive, this one 60 yards, finishing it with a 20 yard touchdown pass to Emos and the Monarchs extended the lead to 14-6.

The Hildesheim offense continued to struggle in the Monarchs end of the field while Cuiellette took his team into field goal range twice. Finke made good on a 35 yarder with almost no time left in the half and Dresden took a 17-6 lead into halftime.

A fumble by Finke early in the third quarter gave Hildesheim the ball on the Monarchs 31 yard line but Therriault & Co. could not capitalize. Two possessions later, after Omari Williams picked of an errant Therriault pass, Cuiellette marched his team to the Invaders 26 yard line and Finke made good on a 43 yard field goal and Dresden seemed firmly in control, 20-6 halfway through the third stanza.

This time Therriault responded, mixing up his plays, taking the Invaders on a 12 play, 75 yard drive, capping it by calling his own number and weaving his way into the end zone for an eight yard touchdown, narrowing the gap to 20-12 as the extra points attempt failed again.

Nevertheless, the Dresden offense was playing with confidence, and soon restored the two touchdown lead as Cuiellette led the Monarchs on a 58 yard drive and handed off to Toonga for a two-yard touchdown.

With the clock at 9:20 in the fourth quarter, Therriault took over and kicked his offense into high gear. Sean Richard found a seam five plays later and raced 29 yards to narrow the lead to 27-18 (two-point attempt failed).

Photo: © Elena Büchner

Cuiellette answered,  maneuvering the Monarchs offense down to the Hildesheim 26 yard line, but Toonga fumbled and the Invaders took over with Therriault kicking them into an even higher gear. They marched 79 yards in 1:45 with Dable-Wolf grabbing a five yard touchdown pass. Suddenly, the lead was 27-25 with two minutes left.

All the Monarchs needed to do was run as much time as possible off the clock. They burned a minute and 15 seconds and punted down to the 10 yard line.

Hildesheim punt returner Nathaniel Morris did the rest, picking his way through traffic and then sprinting 90 yards for a back-breaking touchdown. This time the two-point conversion succeeded giving Hildesheim a 31-27 lead with 45 seconds left.

Mabon gathered in the Invaders kickoff but was hit and fumbled at his own 40 yard line, snuffing out Dresden’s last hope.

With the win, Hildesheim is second in the GFL North standings right behind the 6-0 Braunschweig New Yorker Lions. The two teams meet this weekend.

Photos: Elena Büchner

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