Schwäbisch Hall Unicorns defeat Dresden Monarchs, Advance to German Bowl For 2nd Straight Year

For the second straight year and the fourth time in five years the Schwäbisch Hall Unicorns are back in Germany’s championship game, the German Bowl beating the Dresden Monarchs 41-34.

With a capacity home crowd looking on, the Unicorns fell behind 19-14 at the break only to take a 41-28 fourth quarter lead and hold on to a furious Dresden onslaught for the win.

Unicorns head coach Siegfried Gehrke was relieved after the game:

“Both teams deserved to win. The Monarchs are a first class team and made us battle to the last second.”

SH crowd shot

Capacity home crowd for Schwabish Hall

The game developed as anticipated between two hard hitting opponents, with defenses dominating the first quarter. Schwäbisch Hall quarterback Marco Ehrenfried was under constant pressure from the Monarch’s front seven who gave him very little time to find his receivers. Running back Christian Rycraw was having problems of his own finding any room to maneuver.

Dresden quarterback Jake Medlock was also having his own problems as the Unicorns kept him bottled up. Early in the second quarter though, Rycraw finally found a seam and dashed 40 yards for the game’s first points and then scored the two-point conversion to give Schwäbisch Hall an 8-0 lead. But Dresden’s superb running back Donald Russell took over scoring back-to-back touchdowns. Neverthless Ehrenfried hit Patrick Donahue for a 75 yard touchdown pass to close the gap to 16-14. Then the Monarch’s versatile receiver/kicker Jan Hilgenfeldt kicked  a 37  field goal to give Dresden a 19-14 halftime lead.

SH v. D 1

Christian Rycraw was outstanding in the win

Schwäbisch Hall struck first in the second half as receiver Felix Brenner hauled in a 31 yard touchdown pass from Ehrenfried. Then defensive back Gerhard Jäger intercepted a Medlock pass and Rycraw made them pay scoring and extending the Uncorns lead to 28-19.

Dresden regained some momentum as Trevar Deed returned the ensuing kickoff 90 yards for a touchdown bringing the Monarchs to within 28-26. But Marco Ehrenfried attacked the best secondary in Germany and again found Brenner, this time from 32 yards out extending the lead to 34-26. As Dresden’s offense began to sputter Donahue scored his second touchdown of the game on an 85 yard punt return, seemingly putting the game out of reach.

However, Russell scored from three yards out and then Dresden recovered the onside kick giving the Monarchs hope and the game another jolt of excitement. But Schwäbisch Hall’s defense stiffened and held and the Unicorns eliminated Dresden for the second year in a row and now find themselves preparing again for the Braunschweig New Yorker Lions in German Bowl XXXVII.

The scoring for Schwäbisch Hall was evenly distributed as Christian Rycraw scored two touchdowns, as did Patrick Donahue and Felix Brenner. Donald Russell led Dresden with two touchdowns while Trevar Deed and Guillaume Rioux added one each and Jan Hilgenfeldt kicked a field goal.

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.