Europe #1 Lions Dominate Unicorns in Berlin
German Bowl XXXVI reminded many spectators and live-viewers on Eurosport of Super Bowl XLVIII between the Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks – a one-sided affair. Never before in its 35 year history has a German Football League title game been as lopsided as this one. The reigning champion New Yorker Lions defended their title with an impressive 47-9 rout of the Schwäbisch Hall Unicorns.
In front of 12,531 people in Berlin’s Jahn Stadium, home of the German Bowl for the past three years, the league’s two top-seeded teams faced off in the final game of the season. Schwäbisch Hall (14-2) entered the game as the best team from the South, having scored an average of 46 points per game. On the opposite side stood the most successful German team over the past two years. The New Yorker Lions (14-0), #1 seed from the GFL North division, had delivered a perfect GFL season so far, scoring 47.7 points per game and only allowed a league-best 11.2 points per game. There was no question who the heavy favorite was. Many fans were hoping for a similar shootout like the 2012 final game, when the Unicorns defeated the Kiel Baltic Hurricanes 56-53. But those hopes were dashed before halftime.
The Unicorns, led by the German national team quarterback Marco Ehrenfried, were the first to score. After being stopped on their first drive at the 11-yard line, kicker Felix Brenner nailed a 29 yard field goal for the first three points of the game. The Lions countered with a touchdown on their first offensive drive. Quarterback Casey Therriault completed five of six passes to move his team 55 yards down the field. Running back David McCants sprinted around the left end for the final 12 yards to the end zone. Tobias Goebel’s conversion was good, giving the Lions a 7-3 lead.
From that point on it was all Braunschweig football for the rest of the game. The offense completed their first seven drives with touchdowns, being a perfect seven for seven inside the red zone. The defense intercepted three Ehrenfield passes and shut down the running game. Unicorns running back Marcus Sims only managed to gain 45 total yards. During the regular season Sims was the GFL’s second best rusher averaging 159.8 yards per game.
Braunschweig’s biggest strength is their depth at all positions. The running back position is just one example with their two-headed monster of David McCants and Michael Andrew sharing carries in the rushing attack. McCants led the duo with 12 carries for 54 yards and three touchdowns, while Andrew had 11 carries for 35 yards and two touchdowns. Surprisingly Therriault was the leading rusher on the day with six carries for 97 yards and one rushing touchdown. The mobile Lions quarterback, nicknamed “White Tiger” during his college days at Jackson State University (the former college of NFL legend Walter Payton), completed 18 of 28 pass attempts for 210 yards and one touchdown. Therriault was a well deserved game MVP.
After scoingd four unanswered touchdowns in the second quarter, the Lions went into halftime with a 34-3 lead. In the second half, the Lions offense put 13 more points on the board with two rushing touchdowns from McCants securing Braunschweig’s ninth league title in the past 17 years, the most of any team in Germany. Lions Head Coach Troy Tomlin has brought the winning mentality back to Braunschweig, creating another dynasty team.
With the Lions backups on the field during most of the fourth quarter, the Unicorns scored their lone touchdown on their last offensive drive. Ehrenfried passed deep left for 21 yards to 6’7’’ wide receiver Aurieus Adegbesan. The point after attempt failed, after being blocked by Braunschweig defensive back Christian Petersen. Braunschweig delivered a perfect game from all three parts of the team. Full credit must go to Schwäbisch Hall for never quitting. They played to the very end.
Box score: http://stats.gfl.info/gfl/2014/gbblshu.htm