Kiel pulls out last minute, come-from-behind win over Berlin Rebels

The Kiel Baltic Hurricanes came from behind to defeat the Berlin Rebels with 30-28 in a key German Football League game in front of a rain-drenched crowd of 1,833 spectators Saturday at Kiel’s Kilia Stadion in a game that went right down to the wire.

Tim Albrecht kicked  three field goals including a 25 yarder with 45 seconds left on the clock to seal the win.

The lead changed hands six times in a game that both teams desperately wanted to win.

Hurricanes running back Chris McClendon rushed for a club record 352 yards and scored a touchdown to pace Kiel. Receiver turned quarterback for the day, Xavier Mitchell scored two more touchdowns.

For the Rebels, running back Chris Smith scored a pair of touchdowns while Lawrence McCoy also scored. Quarterback James Harris threw a 20 touchdown pass to Jamaal White for the fourth Berlin score.

McClendon praised his offensive line and the crowd:

“The offensive line did a great job blocking, making open running lanes for me. We expected it to be a tight game and we knew it would be a fight, but we have held together, the defense had the offense’s back.  And the fans were incredible today. It’s always fun to play in front of our fans, but today they have been particularly supportive and always cheered!”

Kiel WR/QB rushed for 2 TDs in horrendous conditions Photo: Marc Seefeldt

The news before the game was not good as quarterback Jared Stegman was forced to sit out after suffering a foot injury in the last game. Mitchell and Lukas Rehder rotated at quarterback with McClendon picking up the load at running back.

Head coach Marcus Herford:

 “We did not want to risk anything with regard to the other crucial matches and the upcoming playoffs.”

Kiel took a 10-0 second quarter lead on Albrecht’s first field goal and a two yard touchdown plunge by Mitchell. But then the Rebels responded with Harris finding White for a 20 yard touchdown pass to close the gap to 10-7. Then Smith took the ball in from 25 yards out and Berlin took the lead, 14-10.

Mitchell answered on the very next drive, finding a hole and taking off on a 47 yard run to give Kiel back the lead, 17-14.

But Berlin’s offense was kicking into gear and Harris drove the Rebels down to the two yard line. McCoy took the ball in and Berlin retook the lead, 21-17 at the half.

Trailing early in the third quarter, the Hurricanes marched down to the four yard line and McClendon bulled his way in and Kiel regained the lead, 24-21. Albrecht added a 21 yard field goal early in the fourth to extend the lead to 27-21, but a fumble two series later gave Berlin the ball on Kiel’s 15 yard line and they made no mistake. Smith found a seam and scampered 19 yards for the go ahead touchdown leading the Albrecht’s final minute heroics.

Berlin squandered their last chance with a couple of penalties and the Hurricanes came away with the win.

Roger Kelly is an editor and a writer for AFI. A former PR Director the B.C. Lions of the Canadian Football League for 7 years, he now lives in Sweden writing about and scouting American Football throughout the world.