Potsdam Royals win GFL Bowl with dominant performance over Schwäbisch Hall Unicorns

The Potsdam Royals captured their first ever German Football League title Saturday at Stadion an der Hafenstraße in Essen after defeating the defending GFL champions, the  Schwäbisch Hall Unicorns 34-7.

With the win, the Royals also atoned for the loss they suffered a year ago to the Unicorns in the 2022 GFL Bowl.

Potsdam quarterback Jaylon Henderson was the key. Although he completed only 10 of 14 passes for 102 yards, the elusive signal caller rushed for 140 yards and three scores. Running back Heiko Bals had three carries for 41 yards while Brandon Polk scored on a 12 yard carry. Wide receiver Thomas Jenkins had two catches for 39 yards and Simon Fons two for 35.

Potsdam QB Jaylon Henderson Photo @nellyeloip

For the Unicorns, quarterback Ian Gehrke only threw for 96 yards on 14 completions with Julius Klenk catching seven for 59 yards and Tyler Rutenbeck two for 33 yards. Schweäbisch Hall running back Mike Gentili led all rushers with 32 carries for 182 yards but only found the end zone once.

With the Royals starting on offense, Henderson led his team on a flawless 75-yard drive to open up scoring. Big completions to Simon Føns and some strong quarterback runs helped set Potsdam up in the red zone, where Henderson was able to punch in the first score from three yards out. The former Boise State star then failed to converts the two-point, setting the Royals six points above the Unicorns.

The Schwäbisch Hall Unicorns responded on their next drive with a 13-play, 87-yard drive, culminating in a touchdown by Mike Gentili from 5 yards out. The extra point was good, making the score 7-6 in favor of the defending champions.

Unfortunately, this would be the only time the Unicorns found the end zone all day as the Royals racked up 28 unanswered points.

The first of these came In the second quarter, when the Potsdam Royals extended their lead with another touchdown by Jaylon Henderson, this time a five-yard rush. Henderson drove into the endzone to make up for the previous failed conversion, making the score 14-7.

Unicorns RB Mike Gentili #33 had 32 carries for 182 yards and 1 TD. Photo @nellyeloip

The Royals added one more score before the half; a 57-yard rush from Henderson on third-and-short brough Potsdam into close proximity of the goal line, before Brandon Polk picked up a score with and 11-yard rush to increase the lead to two scores.

The Unicorns opened up the third period with a solid drive, resulting in a missed field goal from 36 yards out, giving the ball back to Henderson’s offense.

Both offenses remained quiet for the remainder of the third quarter before an 80-yard drive to close the period resulted in yet another Jaylon Henderson rushing score.

The final score of the game came not from the Royals’ offense but by way of the Unicorns offense. Following a solid drive from Schwäbisch Hall, Mike Gentili made a push for extra yards near the goal line only to be stripped of the ball by Mario Wokocha. Michael Lawson of the Royals picked up the ball, returning the pun 95-yards for a touchdown.

After another unsuccessful drive from the Unicorns, the Royals were able to end the game in victory formation to earn their first every GFL Bowl. Not surprisingly, Jaylon Henderson was awarded MVP after a superlative individual performance.

A current student at Bournemouth University as well as a quarterback with eight years of playing experience. Brad's goal is to be a part of the growth of the game around the world through journalism and media.