The 4-7 Cologne Crocodiles will be fighting for the final playoff berth Sunday, August 25 when they play host to the 9-2 Hildesheim Invaders, Europe #4 as the German Football League winds up its third last weekend.
The Invaders handed Cologne a 31-14 loss earlier in the season.
After losing 43-22 to the Berlin Rebels last week, Cologne enters the game badly in need of a win to have any chance of making the playoffs. With three games left in the regular season, the best they can hope for is a 7-7 record which may be good enough qualify them for the post season.
Last week’s loss to Berlin hurt their chances since a tie with Berlin, who presently occupy fourth place and the final playoff berth ni the standings, would leave the Crocodiles out in the cold.
They had lost to the Dresden Monarchs 42-7 in late June breaking a three game winning streak which saw them down the Kiel Baltic Hurricanes 13-12 and beat the Dusseldorf Panther 44-21 before that. They had notched their first win of the season, doubling up on the Kiel Baltic Hurricanes 48-28. However, the Crocodiles had dropped four straight prior to that losing to the Braunschweig New Yorker Lions 23-6 and 45-7 and then losing 31-14 to the Hildesheim Invaders and 17-0 to Dresden.
When Cologne lost earlier in the season to Hildesheim, they were suffering through quarterbacking issues but with the arrival of Jarred Evans things have changed. He has thrown for 630 yards in three games. In the win over Potsdam, only his second game, he threw for 266 yards and three touchdowns. They Crocodiles had experienced a revolving door at the quarterback position. Evans replaced an injured Conor Miller and Tobias Jarmuzek had filled in for one game before Evans’ arrival. The running back spot had been tough to fill after Colby Goodwyn suffered a season-ending injury. Last week, Carmelo Insalaco filled in and rushed for 44 yards while Dean Tanwani was quiet with only four yards rushing.
New receiver Aaron Jackson has made his presence known. In the win against the Royals he hauled in seven passes for 179 yards and a touchdown but was quieter last week with 41 yards receiving and a touchdown. Still, Evans has options.
Hildesheim was soundly beaten by the New Yorker Lions last week, getting blanked 37-0. It was not so surprising perhaps given the team’s performance the week before whey they barely got by the Kiel Baltic Hurricanes 21-7 in a muted performance for their ninth win of the season. The Invaders had beaten the Berlin Rebels 36-30 the week before and before that downed the Hurricanes 27-7. Hildesheim came out of the gate fast with six straight wins before being tripped up by the Lions. They had entered that game after their sixth consecutive win,, a 31-27 come-from-behind victory over the Monarchs.
Still, Hildesheim is the most improved team in the league and won their five opening games by one-sided scores beating the Potsdam Royals 50-28, taking care of the Panther 49-17, downing the Cologne Crocodiles 31-14 and then defeating the Berlin Rebels 56-41 and the Panther again, 46-10.
Invaders quarterback Casey Therriault, who has been in excellent form, twisted his ankle in last week’s loss throwing for only 68 yards. His status is still unknown for today’s game. He has thrown 2,922 yards and a 34 touchdowns on the year while rushing for 388 yards and four touchdowns. Last week, Chris Andrew filled in but as to this week, it’s tough to say. Sean Richard is the team’s leading rusher with 428 yards but is now being used mainly as a wide receiver. Phillip Gamble is starting at RB and picked up 372 yards rushing and four touchdowns. Wide receivers Nathaniel Morris (1,055 yds, 10 TDs) s Jaleel Awini (665 yds, 7 TDs),and Anthony Dablé-Wolf (687 yds, 13 TDs) still make up the most explosive set of receivers in the GFL. The Invaders are the fourth leading rushing team in the GFL.
The Invaders without Therriault are a far different team than with him. If he is out of the lineup, Cologne has a shot.