Schwäbisch Hall Unicorns stay unbeaten, down the Allgäu Comets for seventh straight win

In the long-anticipated showdown in Germany’s GFL South between the first place and unbeaten Schwäbisch Hall Unicorns and the third-place Allgäu Comets, the hometown Unicorns used a dominant second-half surge to defeat Comets 33-21.

Unicorns quarterback Alexander Haupert tossed two touchdown passes to Yannick Mayr and running back John Santiago added two more while Tim Stadelmayr kicked two field goals for the win.

For Allgäu, Jake Shimenz, who played only the second half, was five of 12 for 91 yards and a touchdown while Sam Huxtable had a tough day completing only six of 13 passes for 48 yards but also tossed three interceptions. Glen Toonga had another excellent day rushing the ball with 20 carries for 127 yards and a touchdown.

Playing at home in front of almost 1,200 fans at home in Schwäbisch Hall, the Unicorns needed a full half of football to dissect the tough Allgäu defense which had held them somewhat stymied for 30 minutes. The Comets front seven kept Schwäbisch Hall quarterback Alexander Haupert under pressure and at times running for his life.

Schwäbisch Hall opened the game by picking off Comets starting quarterback Sam Huxtable as safety Samuel Wegner hauled in a deflected pass and returned it to the Allgäu 20. All the Unicorns could muster though was a field goal from Stadelmayr.

Unicorns RB John Santiago finding running room Photo: Manfred Löffler

The Comets responded on the very next possession as running back Glen Toonga found a seam right up the middle and raced 68 yards to put Allgäu up 7-3.

Two possessions later, the Unicorns finally found the end zone as Mayr pulled down a 36-yard pass from Haupert in the end zone to give his team a 10-7 lead.

Allgäu came right back as Huxtable marched his team from his own 20-yard line down to the Unicorns 12. But it was not his day as on a second and 10, he threw another pick, this one was also deflected and it bounced into the arms of Luis Bach who returned it out to his own 23-yard line.

With both defenses continuing to play excellent football, the punt game became critical and Allgäu finally made a mistake as Mayr managed to avoid tacklers on the ensuing punt and return the ball deep into Allgäu territory.

Although the Comets defense rose up, Haupert was able to move his team into field goal range and Stadelmayr kicked a 24-yard field goal to give the Unicorns a 13-7 halftime lead.

The third quarter changed the complexion of the game. On the first possession of the second half, Haupert hit Mayr with a 39-yard touchdown pass to increase the lead to 20-7. Then the Schwäbisch Hall defense took over, corraling the Comets deep in their own end and it paid off late in the period. A poor punt gave the Unicorns the ball on the Allgäu 39 yard line. Haupert methodically marched his team down to the Allgäu one-yard line, eating up the clock. Santiago punched the ball in boosting the lead to 27-7 with just over two minutes left in the quarter.

Comets RB Glen Toonga fighting for yardage Photo: Manfred Löffler

Allgäu answered as Jake Shimenz, who had replaced Huxtable at quarterback, found a streaking Marcel Schade for a 62-yard touchdown to narrow the lead to 27-14 as the teams went into the fourth quarter.

Schwäbisch Hall retaliated though. Mayr ripped off a spectacular 44 kickoff return giving the Unicorns the ball inside Comets territory. Then, despite having the ball moved back on a penalty and a sack,  the Unicorns marched, aided by a roughing the passer penalty and an unsportsmanlike penalty, down to the Comets 19. A quick pass to Böhringer took the ball down to the six-yard line and two plays later Santiago weaved his way into the end zone to boost the lead to 33-14.

The Unicorns then proceeded to almost hand the game back to Allgäu offering up a fumble and then an interception in the final 10 minutes of the contest. Allgäu finally took advantage, taking the ball over at their own 40 after picking off a Haupert pass. Schimenz engineered a seven-play, 60-yard drive finishing it himself with a 12-yard touchdown run to narrow the lead to 33-21 with two minutes left.

That was as close as the Comets would come though, as Schwäbisch Hall recovered the onside kick attempt and simply ran out the clock to record their seventh straight win leaving them as the only undefeated team in the GFL.

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