Schwäbisch Hall Unicorns down Frankfurt Universe to claim top spot in Germany

The Schwäbisch Hall Unicorns finished the regular season undefeated in the German Football League by beating the Frankfurt Universe 35-28 in front of 7,500 roaring fans at Frankfurter Volksbank Stadium in Frankfurt Saturday.

The win, in front of the biggest crowd of the year in Germany this season, earned the Unicorns the top seed in league heading into the quarterfinals in two weeks.

Schwäbisch Hall quarterback Marco Ehrenfried competed 17 of 32 passes for 286 yards and three touchdowns. He spread the ball around evenly with receivers Patrick Donahue (9 receptions for 94 yards), Aurieus Adegbesan (4 for 78) and Tyler Rutenbeck (2 for 98) scoring one touchdown apiece.

Universe quarterback Marcus McDade threw for 288 yards and four touchdowns in the loss while also leading his team in rushing with 102 yards on the ground on 10 carries. Guatemalan wide receiver David Giron was McDade’s favorite target with seven catches for 109 yards and three touchdowns.

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Unicorns WR Patrick Donahue Photo: C-Sportspics

In an entertaining football game which saw the Unicorns jump out to a 14-0 second quarter lead, Frankfurt kept rallying. In fact, the crowd was treated to a rousing second quarter as the two teams combined for 35 points.

The Unicorns opened the scoring as Ehrenfried connected with wide receiver Patrick Donahue to cap a nine-play 52 yard drive after both teams had traded punts.

Running back Anthony Bilal added a nine yard rushing touchdown for Schwäbisch Hall to open the second quarter and the flood gates opened. McDade found Giron on a 61 yard scoring strike to pull to 14-6. But Ehrenfried wasted no time, connecting with Tyler Rutnebeck for a 77 yard touchdown giving the Unicorns a 21-6 lead.

Frankfurt struck again as McDade found George Robinson from 19 yards out to edge closer to 21-14 with under two minutes left in the half. But the Unicorns were not done as Ehrenfried threw a 38 yard touchdown pass to 6’8″ wide receiver Aurieus Adegbesan to go up 28-14 with two seconds on the clock.

Frankfurt struck first in the second half on their first possession as versatile Giron returned the kickoff 50 yards to give the Universe excellent field position. Then McDade mounted a 50 yard seven play drive capping it with a 14 yard touchdown pass to Giron to close the gap to 28-22.

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Universe QB Marcus McDade Photo: C-Sportspics

Schwäbisch Hall responded with a five play 77 yard drive with Bilal taking the ball in from three yards out to extend the lead to 35-22.

Again Frankfurt came back, this time in the fourth quarter as Giron caught his third touchdown pass of the game to pull the Universe to within 35-28 with over seven minutes still left.

However, both defenses stepped up after that and neither team could gain any momentum. Ehrenfried took two knees to end the game and Schwäbisch Hall finished with an outstanding undefeated regular season.

Playoffs start September 17

The Unicorns will face the Berlin Rebels in the first round of the playoffs on September 17 while Frankfurt will play host to the Kiel Baltic Hurricanes on the same day.

Photo credit: C-Sportspics

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.