ELF: Stuttgart Surge take down Wroclaw Panthers in Wild Card Round for first ever playoff win

The Stuttgart Surge won the first European League of Football playoff game in franchise history on Sunday as they took down the visiting Wroclaw Panthers by a score of 37-14.

Stuttgart found the scoreboard first, as quarterback Reilly Hennessey connected with receiver Darrell Stewart Jr. for a 22 yard touchdown pass.  Lightning struck twice early in the second quarter, as Hennessey and Stewart linked up again for a score, this time from eight yards out.  Wroclaw would respond, though, as William James scampered for a 38 yard touchdown on 4th and 1.  But just as the Panthers gained some momentum, the Surge quickly took it back, as Yannick Mayr returned the ensuing kickoff 92 yards for a touchdown.  After a Wroclaw three-and-out, Stuttgart got the ball on their own 46 yard line with just over six minutes on the clock before halftime.  They proceeded to put together an incredible 14 play, 54 yard drive that lasted for almost the remainder of the first half.  The drive was capped off with a 1 yard rushing touchdown by Nicolas Khandar.  That gave the home team a 27-7 lead going into halftime.

Stuttgart WR Darrell Stewart Jr. catching one of his 11 passes for 167 yards and 2 TDs. Photo: Fabio Castelvetri

After the Surge drove the ball down the field on the first drive of the second half, the Panthers blocked a short field attempt to keep them from adding points.  However, their offense could not do anything with that momentum, as they failed to convert on fourth down.  Stuttgart then extended their lead with a Lenny Krieg field goal.  The Panthers would respond fast, though, as quarterback Matthew Vitale found Kacper Fiedzuk for a touchdown on just the second play of the drive.  However, that would be as close as Wroclaw would get.  In the fourth quarter, Hennessey hit Louis Geyer for a 40 yard touchdown pass, extending the lead to 37-14.  That would be all the scoring in the game, as the Surge ran out the clock to seal the victory.

Wroclaw Panthers RB Dawid Brzozowski Photo: Fabio Castelvetri

The Surge advance to face the defending champion Vienna Vikings next week in Vienna.  Though Vienna went undefeated in the regular season, they certainly looked vulnerable on several occasions this season, so Stuttgart will surely have a chance to pull off the upset.  As for Wroclaw, their impressive season came to a disappointing end.  The absence of injured receiver Tony Tate was a tough blow for the team, as their offense struggled for most of the game.

A current student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Carter played football in high school and has been a lifelong avid football fan.