Defending Dutch champions, the Alphen Eagles, stunned the visiting Marburg Mercenaries from Germany on the weekend taking at 14-0 halftime lead at their home park in European Football League play and holding on for a 17-13 victory.
Touchdowns by running back Jermaine Charles and receiver Ananias Semedo were enough to beat the German quarter-finalists who struggled on offense despite having the fifth best offense in Germany in 2014.
Alphen took the initiative from the opening whistle as head coach Errol Zeefuik’s team wasted no time finding weaknesses in Marburg’s defense as Charles proved to be tough and elusive. Semedo hauled in a total of nine passes from quarterback Richard Bouthorn who had an outstanding game and time and again shredded Marburg’s secondary, especially in the first half.
The Mercenaries finally came to life in the third quarter after being down 17-0 as quarterback Bastian Berghaus began to find a rhythm, hitting receiver Henry Hinrichs for a 32-yard score. The score remained 17-7 until midway through the fourth when Hinrichs caught his second touchdown pass of the game from Berghaus. But the Eagles blocked the PAT leaving the score 17-13, forcing Marburg to have to score a touchdown for the win as time was running out.
However, the dramatics continued as Alphen managed to recover Marburg’s ensuing onside kick only to be called for having too many men on the field. On the next attempt the Mercenaries kicked the ball out of bounds forcing a third attempt which they finally recovered. But Alphen defensive back Djim Kromhout intercepted a Berghaus pass snuffing out Marburg’s last gasp touchdown attempt.
Outstanding Eagles receiver Ananias Semedo was of course happy with the win:
“That was just sweet, because we felt we were the underdogs. We started the game well, the offense clicked and the defense played so well. Our offensive line opened up holes for Jermaine (Charles, ed.) And he had some great runs. I am definitely happy!”
Next up for the Eagles is the Kiel Baltic Hurricanes on May 16. If anyone doubted the quality of the Dutch champions, those doubts were certainly extinguished Saturday.
In other action, Germany’s Allgäu Comets had little trouble dispensing Spain’s defending champions the Badalona Dracs 48-13. Meanwhile the Schwäbisch Hall Unicorns destroyed the Berlin Adler 57-15 in Big6 play after taking a 43-7 halftime lead. In another Big6 matchup, the Swarco Raiders left no doubt as to how serious they are downing La Courneuve Flash from France 47-14.