Potsdam Royals get back on track as they obliterate the Braunschweig New Yorker Lions

A week after suffering their first loss of the season, the Potsdam Royals bounced back with a vengeance, obliterating defending German Bowl champions, the Braunschweig New Yorker Lions, whipping them 50-3.

The game marked a definite shift in power in the German Football League but started off slow.

The first two possessions produced very little from both sides as opposing defenses worked hard to contain Royals quarterback PJ Settles and Lions quarterback Jake Kennedy. On their second possession however,  Potsdam marched down the field with ease. A strong passing game from Settles – as he targeted American wideout Michael Brueler – and an ever potent rushing attack from Jake Mayon, produced the game’s first touchdown which would be the first drop in an offensive waterfall that would submerge the Lions early.

Due to injuries in the Braunschweig secondary, Lions running back Exavier Edwards was forced to play safety putting their running game, and Kennedy, at a huge disadvantage. To Edwards credit he would prove a formidable weapon for the New Yorker defense, but ultimately proved ineffective in stopping the onslaught. The Royals front seven went after Kennedy relentlessly for the entirety of the game resulting in most of his passes being made outside the pocket.

Potsdam QB PJ Settles #6 threw for 135 yards and 2 TDs Photo: Uwe Zingler

As the game progressed, Mayon, who finished with 182 yards rushing on the day, broke off run after run punching in their second and third touchdowns as he gashed the Lions defense who seemed to have no answers. Potsdam scored their fourth touchdown as Settles led them up the field with his arm, proving that after last week’s performance he can in fact operate with both his arm and legs. Potsdam went into the break leading 28-0.

New Yorker came out in the second half determined to score on a drive that ate up half of the third quarter. They got down into the redzone but the Royals defense held and forced the Lions to kick a field-goal that sailed left, no good.

The Potsdam onslaught continued as Mayon racked up the yards and touchdowns. Potsdam backup quarterback Giovanni Rescigno, arguably the best backup in the league, took the field to open the fourth quarter. The drive started slowly and was marred with penalties but Mayon and backup running back Ruven Pietsch started to methodically move the chains. After maneuvering his team down into the red zone, Giovanni capped the drive off with a 15-yard dart into the back of the endzone to Brueler.

Late in the fourth quarter the Lions put together a drive effective enough to get them into the red zone, but again the Royals defense forced a field goal attempt. This time it was good as Gero Gallus kicked a 35 yard field goal accounting for New Yorker’s only points of the game making it 43 – 3.

Braunschweig QB Jake Kennedy #5 had a rough day with just 69 yards passing Photo: Uwe Zingler

The Royals were not done however as a failed Lions fourth down deep in their own zone gave Potsdam the ball on the 14 yard line. One play later, Rescigno connected with Gioncomo Bonanno for the game’s final score to give Potsdam a 50-3 win.

For those who are watching GFL for the first time. this may have looked like a Potsdam squad demolishing a hapless opponent but for avid GFL fans this marked a historic moment. A moment when a Lions team in arguably the best league in Europe, that hadn’t lost two consecutive games since 2012, was humiliated at home. It was the type of defeat that Braunschweig had been accustomed to dishing out not suffering.

And it marked a shift in power.

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.