PREVIEW: German Quarterfinals – Allgäu Comets Square Off Against the Kiel Baltic Hurricanes

German Football League Quarterfinal German Football League Quarterfinal
Allgäu Comets (12-2) v. Kiel Baltic Hurricanes (9-3)

In contrast to all the other quarterfinals this weekend in Germany, the Allgäu Comets and Kiel Baltic Hurricanes have played each other before this season. In the European Football League final, Kiel defeated the Comets 49-28, winning the title.

Not that the outcome of that game will have any bearing on today’s quarterfinal as the Hurricanes are playing without their superb running back Andreas Hofbauer and since then, Allgäu has beaten the high-flying Schwäbisch Hall Unicorns.

Den "Hail Mary" Pass von # 11 QB Blake Bolles kann # 3 CB Tylor Davis trotz Doppeldeckung durch # 36 Marius Schmidt und # 39 Daniel Kottusia zum Touchdown fangen

Tyler Davis catches a touchdown pass from Blake Bolles

Nevertheless, Kiel enters the game as slight favorites although there is not much separating the two on paper. The Hurricanes finished fourth in scoring offense during the regular season averaging 39.1 points a game with the Comets right behind in fifth scoring 37.6 points a game.

Kiel head coach Stephen Parker lost his starting running back and so he adapted and together with his quarterback Blake Bolles he transformed the Hurricanes into the best passing team in Germany by a wide margin. So not only do they lead the league in overall offense racking up 457 yards a game, they are by far the most prolific passing team throwing for 339 yards per game. In fact, not surprisingly, Bolles led the German league in total yardage (4,074), yards per game (339.5) and touchdowns (51). He also broke the single game passing yardage record against the Hamburg Huskies throwing for 550 yards in that game. However, the Comets again weren’t far behind in passing yardage throwing for an average of 257 yards a game.

Allgäu head coach Brian Caler, in his seventh season, signed versatile veteran quarterback Cedric Townsend (Calanda Broncos, Franken Knights, Carlstad Crusaders), who has thrown for 3,462 yards and 42 touchdowns this season. Townsend’s favorite target is Matthew Green who came second in receiving yardage with 1,559 only surpassed by Kiel’s Tyler Davis who had 1,596 (German league single season record). In fact, Allgäu had two 1,000 yard receivers in 2015 as wide receiver Christian Hafels hauled in 1,110 yards in 14 games this year.

In addition to Davis, Bolles also has Benedikt Englmann to throw to. Englmann caught 54 passes for 873 yards and 12 touchdowns in 2015.

However, Townsend is also one of the league’s leading rushers averaging 63 yards a game which could be a difference making factor in this game.

Defensively, both teams have impact linebackers as the Comets Niall Padden notched 92 tackles this year to go along with two sacks while Kiel’s Ryan Newell had 74 tackles and five sacks. In the secondary, Allgäu’s Cody Smith led the league in interceptions picking off nine while Kiel’s Tyler Davis recorded six. In fact, Allgau tied for the league lead with 20 interceptions on the year although Kiel again wasn’t far behind with 15.

Germany - Allgau - Cody Smith

Cody Smith

One of the keys to this game will be how Allgäu can keep the versatile Davis under control. With Hofbauer out, he is the key to the Hurricanes both on offense and on defense. For Kiel, they must keep Townsend in check. The pressure has to get to him as he can throw well when his is scrambling and can take off on his own too. Another important factor is turnovers which can often decide a game. Kiel was second in Germany in forcing turnovers while Allgäu was third.

This game will be almost too close to call. Allgäu has gained confidence throughout the season and with their win over Schwabisch Hall in June, proved that they are true contenders. Kiel has suffered some setbacks, but rebounded from them.

This is definitely the most intriguing matchup of the German quarterfinals.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Roger Kelly
Roger Kelly is an editor and a writer for AFI. A former PR Director the B.C. Lions of the Canadian Football League for 7 years, he now lives in Sweden writing about and scouting American Football throughout the world.
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