New Yorker Lions Clinch 3rd Straight Eurobowl Berth

Perfect American football weather and more than 3,400 enthusiastic fans saw the New Yorker Lions in their 2016 home opener. Not only was this the start of football season in Braunschweig, but it was the match against France’s Aix-en-Provence Argonautes that would seal the Lions third straight invitation to Eurobowl XXX.

After 60 minutes of play the scoreboard showed 53-0 for the Lions and it was clear that head coach Troy Tomlin’s German squad would be making their third straight trip (after 2014 and 2015) to the final game of the Big6 competition.

From the outset, Braunschweig were vastly superior to their French guests in all aspects of the game. That said, the Argonautes, who took nearly a 20-hour bus trip from the south of France, brought a minimum squad to face of the reigning Eurobowl champions.

After the kick-off by Lions kicker Jan Hilgenfeldt, the Argonautes American quarterback Ryan Perrilloux was rudely introduced to the Braunschweig defense, a sign of what was in store for the Aix offense that day.

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Under strong pressure all game,  Perrilloux had no time to find receivers and any attempt to establish a running game was doomed from the start. After a quick punt, Braunschweig running back David McCants took off for a 65 yard touchdown run and a 8-0 Lions lead.

This was just the beginning of a dominant and convincing first half by the hosts. The Lions defense provided relentless pressure on the Argonautes giving them no room to maneuver.

Unlike the Lions offense led by quarterback Grant Enders.

With running by McCants and Enders throwing to Hilgenfeldt, Evan Landi, Bollmann and Romans the Lions offense marched almost unimpeded down the field scoring at an assembly line pace.

Hilgenfeldt caught an eight yard pass from Enders to extend the lead to 15-0. Then fullback Maximilian Merwarth bulled his way into the end zone from a yard out to give Braunschweig a 22-0 first quarter lead.

The carnage continued in the second as Enders found Hilgendfeldt again on a 45 yard touchdown. Then the Lions defense stepped up picking off  Perrilloux. Running back Chris Smith added a 14 yard touchdown run and the Lions were up 36-0 at the half.

It took Braunschweig all of five plays on the opening drive of the second half to score again with Merwarth again finding the end zone for a 43-0 Lions lead. Braunschweig backed off some in the second half as they substituted liberally. Kicker Tobias Goebel added a 38 yard field goal and Kai Silbermann rounded out the scoring with a 15 yard touchdown reception on a pass from Evan Landi who was replacing Enders. It was Silbermann’s first touchdown in a Lions uniform.

With the win, the Lions advance to the Eurobowl final for the third straight year  where they will face the Swarco Raiders from Austria who clinched their berth, shutting out the Schwäbisch Hall Unicorns 34-0. In last year’s final, Braunschweig defeated the Unicorns 24-14. In the 2014 final the Lions succumbed to the Berlin Adler in a tight battle.

John McKeon is a former professional and collegiate American Football player and coach now living and working in New York. His goal is to spread news, information, and opinion on the global growth of the sport he loves.