New Yorker Lions Overcome a Tough Kiel Baltic Hurricanes Team to Win German Season Opener

With more 5,100 cheering fans on hand at Eintracht Stadion in Braunschweig to watch the 2015 German Football League (GFL) season opener, the defending champion Braunschweig New Yorker Lions did not disappoint as they defeated the Kiel Baltic Hurricanes, in an exciting, although sloppy football game 38-28 after taking a 24-7 halftime lead.

After both teams traded possessions, Kiel’s Jan Abrahamsen picked off Lions quarterback Grant Enders at the Braunschweig 35-yard line to give the Hurricanes great field position. But Braunschweig’s defense countered immediately when Tissi Robinson picked off Hurricanes quarterback Blake Bolles at the Braunschweig 20-yard and went 80 yards for a touchdown giving the Lions a 7-0 lead.

Game Recap

Posted by Kiel Baltic Hurricanes on Sunday, April 19, 2015

Kiel’s next drive was more successful. After a kickoff return just past mid-field by Colin Harms, running back Andreas Hofbauer went to work pounding ahead. Then Bolles hit both Englmann and Harms, putting Kiel on the Braunschweig 32-yard line. But Braunschweig’s defense stepped up again, halting the drive and sending their offense back on the field.

Relying on the running of David McCants and Grant Enders, and receptions by Christian Bollmann and Anthony Dable the Lions reached the Kiel red zone. On the next play, Enders hit receiver Niklas Römer, with a 19-yard touchdown pass, putting the Lions up 14-0.

After another unsuccessful Kiel drive, the Lions only needed two plays before David McCants went 55 yards to extend the lead to 21-0 at the beginning of the second quarter.

New Yorker Lions

The Hurricanes continued to struggle against Braunschweig’s aggressive defense, but Bolles started to find seams in the secondary and then Hoffbauer again found his rhythm. But they could get no closer than the Lions’ 35 yard line again.

However on Braunschweig’s next possession, Kiel defensive lineman Paco Varol picked off another errant Enders pass and took it in for the touchdown reducing the lead to 21-7.

The always dangerous David McCants returned the ensuing Kiel kickoff 60 yards and Braunschweig turned it into a field goal by Tobias Goebel extending the lead again to 24-7.

The Hurricanes defense made another save late in the second quarter as Tyler Davis picked off another Enders pass, this one in the Kiel end zone to keep the Hurricanes within striking distance at the half.

The third quarter started better for Kiel as the offense began to click. Blake Bolles found Tyler Davis for a 22 yard touchdown reception closing the gap to 24-14.

Braunschweig responded as Enders began picking apart Kiel’s secondary finding five different receivers marching the ball down to the Hurricane one yard line. McCants finished the drive off with his second touchdown of the evening giving the Lions a 31-14 lead.

Again, Kiel answered as Austrian all star running back Hofbauer kicked into “beast mode” finding gaps in the Bruanschweig defense capping the drive off with a one yard touchdown run reducing the Lions lead to 31-21.

The crowd was being treated to a great football game and the fourth quarter promised more back and forth action. Kiel linebacker Ryan Newell, Germany’s leading tackler for the last three years, stepped in front of an Enders pass and took it  30 yards for a touchdown narrowing the gap to 31-28.

NYer Lions v. Baltic Hurricanes

The pressure was on the Lions with Kiel looking dangerous. but Enders kept his poise and again began marching his team down the field, finally handing the ball off to Niklas Romans for the touchdown giving Braunschweig a 38-28 lead which the Hurricanes could not overcome.

This first win by the Lions left head coach Troy Tomlin pleased with his team’s performance:

“After a good start, we seemed to slow down during the course of the game and let Kiel get back into the game. We need to work at that. But at no time during the game did the team panic. I am proud of my team and happy with the win today.”

It was obvious this was the first game of the year as both teams looked sloppy at times. There were a total of five interceptions in the game. Braunschweig’s Grant Enders threw three while Blakes Bolles was picked off twice.

Braunschweig’s David McCants scored two touchdowns while the Hurricane’s defense had two of their own.

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.