Schwäbisch Hall Unicorns earn decisive quarterfinal win over Braunschweig New Yorker Lions

The Schwäbisch Hall Unicorns advanced to the German Football League semifinals with a convincing 38-13 victory over the defending champion Braunschweig New Yorker Lions Saturday at Optima Sportpark in Schwäbisch Hall.

With a crowd of over 2,000 spectators looking on, the Unicorns avenged a narrow loss to Braunschweig in the 2019 German Bowl.

Schwäbisch Hall took charge of this game early as linebacker Cody Pastorino picked off a deflected pass from the arm of Lions quarterback Jake Kennedy on the second play from scrimmage and returned the ball 26 yards for the game’s first touchdown.

In fact, Pastorino and the rest of the Unicorns secondary had a game to remember intercepting five passes with Pastorino accounting for two of the interceptions.

Still, Braunschweig responded with former Unicorns running back Chuka Okplobi hauling in a 12-yard touchdown pass from Kennedy to even the score at 7-7 still in the first quarter.

Schwäbisch Hall came right back 30 seconds later, as running back John Santiago found a seam and raced 69 yards to pull his team ahead again, 14-7.

Unicorns defensive back Jan Klenk recorded his first of two interceptions early in the second quarter and Schwäbisch Hall capitalized with quarterback Alexander Haupert finding Yannick Mayr for a 34-yard score, upping the lead to 21-7 as the teams went into the break.

Pastorino opened the second half the way he did the first as he picked off another Kennedy pass on Braunschweig’s first possession of the second half.

Two possessions later, the Unicorns added to the lead with Haupert hitting Jannis Fiedler for a 21-yard touchdown pass to increase the lead to 28-7.

Early in the fourth quarter, Tim Stadelmayr extended the lead to 31-13 with a 34-yard field goal and time was now running out for Braunschweig. Kennedy pulled them closer though with five minutes left, racing 20 yards to narrow the gap to 31-13. It was too little, too late though as Moritz Böhringer answered, catching an 18-yard touchdown pass from Haupert to restore the four score lead, making it 38-13 with little time left.

The Lions were unable to do much else however and Schwäbisch Hall now moves on to their seventh straight semifinal matchup in the German Football League where they will face the winner of the quarterfinal game between the Postdam Royals and Munich Cowboys.

This is the first time since 2012 that Braunschweig has not reached the GFL semifinals.

American Football International is your source for news and updates about American Football outside the United States!