Building on the success of last year, the Rostock Griffins are looking to be the champions again this year and move up to the second league. In their previous two games, they’ve made a clear statement that they’re the true defending champions by easily defeating each team. Can the Lions, our Leipzig-based American football team, stop their march to the championship?
On May 28th, the Leipzig Lions will host the Rostock Griffins at the Ratzeldome Stadium. The two are the only undefeated teams left in the Regionalliga Ost. Each team has a high-powered offense, setting the stage for what will look like a shootout between the Lions’ QB Phillip Garcia (#12) and the Griffins’ QB Branden Cresap (#7). Both offenses come with a deep and talented receiving corps that allows each QB to strike from anywhere on the field.
The vision of the Lions this year is “Be One Unit, Be One Family, and Be One Team,” besides the “Be A Champion” motto. So far, the Lions’ players have demonstrated both and made great strides to achieve their vision.
Leipzig beats Berlin
On May 5th, the Leipzig Lions (2-0) played the league’s newcomer, the Berlin Rebels II (1-1), and came out victorious (17-42). With this, the Lions won their second game of the year and ended the Rebels’ 12-game winning streak.
After barely beating the Cottbus Crayfish 31-35, with a last-second touchdown, the Lions’ point differential is 77-48.
From the get go, the Lions’ offense clearly dominated the game against the Rebels. The Lions jumped to a lead with a touchdown by TE Henner Baberowskly (#34) in the first drive, and kpt the lead till the very end. The Rebels’ defense looked woefully unprepared for the onslaught of running and receiving threats of the Lions’ offense. The offense additionally scored on a running play by Pat Fitzgerald (#1), a reception by Kevin Stelzer (#83), and 3 different receptions by Chris Genau (#14) to secure the win.
On the other side of the ball, the Lions’ defense had a difficult time stopping the run as they gave up 174 rushing yards. However, with the Lions jumping out to a sizeable lead of 18 points (10-28) at half-time, the Rebels were not able to capitalize with the run game against the Lions’ back-ups.
The Rebels were only able to score one additional touchdown in the second half. Their offense seemed one-dimensional, with the stingy defensive backs only giving up 189 passing yards to help secure the victory.
Lions defend the home turf
On the 28th, the Lions will face a tremendous opponent in the Griffins. Will they rise to the occasion and be a unit, be a family, and be a team? Will they be champions?
However the game turns out, the two teams come together again for the final game of the year on September 3rd, in Rostock. The game in Rostock is starting to look like a showdown for the league. If both teams don’t lose to any other teams, that game will be intense.
Can one team instill fear into the other, giving them a leg up in putting the nail in the coffin? But before we look to the 3rd of September, both teams need to make a statement on the 28th to themselves, their opponent, and the rest of the league. The game on the 28th, for both teams, will set the tone for the rest of the season.
Tickets are sold at the entrance on game day for €6. Would be nice to see you there.
By Jeremiah Crouch
*Jeremiah Crouch is the Leipzig Lions’ defensive coach.