On Saturday, the Dresden Monarchs left no doubt that they are definitely in the running for the German title as they thrashed the Kiel Baltic Hurricanes 52-20 in front of a delighted hometown crowd in Dresden.
Needless to say Dresden head coach John Leijten was happy:
“We were able to put it all together. Kiel has a good team and defensively their front is the best in the league. Our offensive line coach Steve Sheppard has done a great job all year but this week he got his group ready to minimise their front and on Saturday they weren’t able to hurt us.
“Our offensive coordinator Robert Cruse called a great game and all our players really dialled in. Defensively we had one of the best games we have had since I came to Dresden. Our team is starting to play as one right at the time we need it.”
It is obvious Leijten has a point. Behind a furious ground assault led by running back Donald Russell who rushed for 255 yards and two touchdowns, the Monarchs took a 28-14 lead into the halftime break and then outscored Kiel 24-6 in the second half to run away with the win. Trevar Deed added 71 yards and a touchdown while quarterback Jake Medlock carried the ball 11 times for 70 yards and another three touchdowns as Dresden racked up 452 yards in rushing.
Medlock, who joined the team during the July break replacing Clay Belton, only threw for 138 yards and a touchdown as the running game carried the load for the Monarchs. Hurricanes quarterback Blake Bolles, who leads the GFL averaging 310 yards passing a game, was held to just 186 yards on 16 of 27 passing. The Kiel ground game did not fare much better totaling 117 yards.
The Hurricanes struck first however as linebacker turned running back Sharif Bsharat scored from four yards out on the game’s opening drive. The teams then traded touchdowns as the first quarter ended 14-14 in a see saw battle.
Dresden opened the game up early in the second period as Kiel strangely elected to go for a fourth and nine from their own 15 yard line and only managed eight yards. The Monarchs took over on downs at the Kiel 23 yard line and Russell made no mistake running in for his second major of the day and giving Dresden their first lead.
The Monarchs never looked back after that as their defense stopped the high powered Hurricanes offense and Jake Medlock and the offense took over. Starting from their own eight yard line, the Monarchs mounted a 92 yard, six play drive culminating in a Medlock to Guillaume Rioux touchdown pass extending the lead to 28-14. The first half ended that way as Dresden’s defense took charge.
The third quarter saw Dresden totally dominate the Hurricanes as Medlock added two touchdowns himself while Russell punished Kiel’s defense rushing for 120 yards as the Monarchs went up 42-14.
Dresden added another touchdown on a Trevar Deed 40 yard scamper and Jan Hilgenfeldt kicked a 28 yard field goal to round out the scoring for the Monarchs. Kiel running back Jarrell Davis took off around the right end and raced 83 yards for the Hurricanes lone second half touchdown.
With the win, the Monarchs leapfrog Kiel into second place in the GFL North with a 7-2 record and three games remaining in the season. The victory was important as Dresden has a slightly easier schedule than the Hurricanes to finish the regular season and would have home field advantage to start the playoffs should they stay ahead of the Hurricanes.
In other action in Germany, the league leading Braunschweig New Yorker Lions beat the Hamburg Huskies 28-12, the Schwäbisch Hall Unicorns upended the Saarland Hurricanes 46-28, the Allgau Comets defeated the Marburg Mercenaries 24-7 and the Munich Cowboys beat the Rhein Neckar Bandits 28-21.
Feature image: BK-Foto (Birgit Krauch)