Potsdam Royals assert themselves as title contenders in demolishing Cologne Crocodiles

The Potsdam Royals claimed their third win of the season and remain undefeated in the German Football League by beating the Cologne Crocodiles 31-7 Saturday in front of their home crowd in Potsdam.

The game was a shut out until Cologne scored late in the fourth quarter.

With this third straight dominant performance, the Royals are definitely looking like one of the hottest teams in the GFL.

Still, Potsdam was slow to get moving and it took until late in the first quarter before the Royals found the end zone and it was the defense who got them there. After Crocodiles quarterback Chris Strong connected with Aaron Jackson (#4) down the sideline for a 45 yard gain and had Cologne set up in the red zone, poised to score, Royals linebacker Lukas Ruoss picked off the Cologne quarterback, returning the ball 90 yards for the score giving Potsdam a 7-0 lead.

Potsdam defenders Leanard Bosch #52 Marco Beard #42 laying Cologne ballcarrier flat Photo: Cologne Crocodiles

The Royals added to their lead midway through the second quarter as starting quarterback TJ Settles was relieved by new addition Giovanni Rescigno who just joined the team after his former team, the Milano Rhinos had been eliminated from playoff contention. The Italian-American QB marched Potsdam down the field into the red zone on his first drive, with a large helping hand from GFL rushing leader Jake Mayon. The Cologne defense held strong though and the Royals were forced to settle for a field-goal ending the first half 10 – 0.

Cologne came out in the second half firing on all cylinders after failing to get onto the scoreboard in the first. After two failed deep attempts Strong hit Jackson on a deep crossing route for 50 yards flipping the field. But Potsdam refused to let the Crocs go any further and forced a 40-yard field goal attempt that bounced off the upright; no good.

With Rescigno still behind center, Potsdam drove down the field with the newest addition connecting with wideout Moritz Rieddinger who gashed the Cologne defense before PJ Settles returned and finished the drive off, putting the Royals up by 17. A three and out and a short punt by Cologne gave the ball straight back to the Royals deep in Crocodiles territory. Mayon continued his reign of terror on the ground and punched the ball in with ease to make it 24 – 0.

The offensive drought for Cologne would continue as punts and turnovers plagued the offense in the second half. Settles took the remainder of the snaps in the fourth quarter and scored Potsdam’s fourth TD of the day on a 30-yard RPO. This was the final nail in the coffin for the Crocs with the score standing at 31 – 0  and an offensive performance that was a far cry from their previous three games. With two minutes to go the Crocs managed to score a last minute TD but by this point the game was well and truly over.

Rescigno performed well considering he had only one week of preparation time, but PJ Settles confirmed why he is the starter. As time goes on and Rescigno starts to click with the rest of the team, this may change though as playing two quarterbacks intermittently could prove to be a real dilemma for opposing defensive coordinators. Either way Potsdam have proved once again what a dominant force they are and as heads start to turn expect all eyes to be focused on the quarterback battle.

Cologne and Canadian quarterback Christian Strong will have to head back to the drawing board if they hope to rejuvenate their season after a performance that was a far cry from what had positioned them as one of the top scoring offenses in the league.

Daniel Mackenzie is a Press Association graduate who works in journalism and communications in the third sector. Daniel began playing football for the London Warriors and Team Great Britain and has since played across Europe.