EFL Bowl: Dramatic End with a points festival
Milan - WHAT a final! If there was no clear favorite at the EFL Bowl before the game, the thesis should be more than confirmed during the entire 48 minutes in a dramatic match in front of 2,500 enthusiastic spectators in the Stadio Breda Gesto San Giovanni with an offensive fireworks. In the end, a two-point conversion decided the final between the Milano Seamen and the Potsdam Royals, who finally prevailed 43-42.
At the beginning it was a bit more leisurely. The first quarter ended 7-7 after a touchdown pass from visiting quarterback Austin Gahafer to Max Zimmermann and a pass from Seamen playmaker Luke Zahradka to Xavier Mitchell, who ran halfway of the field into the end zone.
In the second quarter, the game gained momentum offensive. Five out of seven drives were turned into touchdowns. Potsdam put forward again. Gahafer threw his second touchdown pass to Frederik Myrup Nielsen for a 7-14 (PAT Felber) lead. The Seamen responded with a pass from Zahradka to running back Danilo Bonaparte, who enters the end zone and it was 14-14 (PAT Di Tunisi). Potsdam was back in the next drive, Tyvis Smith ran for 14 yards for the next touchdown – 14-21. After a sack of the Royals, the Seamen faced a second attempt with 23 yards to go. But Xavier Mitchell showed his great class and ran with some moves over half the field for the next points to a 21-21. Seconds before half-time, it was again Mitchell, who then provided Zahradka's pass for the hosts' first lead. With 28-21 it went into the break.
The third quarter began with a fumble of the Seamen. Potsdam pulled in the next drive again all offensive registers. After a successful fourth down in its own half, powerful runs by Smith and a wide pass to Nielsen, it was again Smith, who ran with the ball into the end zone and put it back on par. But the Seaman beat back and got back the lead with 35-28 by a quarterback sneak of Zahradka.
After a fumble of Grahafer and Mitchell, who was granted the MVP, was once again unstoppable after a pass, penetrated into the end zone and increased the lead of the Mariners to 42-28, the final seemed to be decided.
But the royals came back into the game immediately. After Smith's return over 50 yards, Gahafer found David Soul with a touchdown pass and cut to 42-35.
The next drive from Milan was stopped by the defense of the Royals and 3:20 minutes before the end of the finals, the team from Brandenburg got the chance to turn the game.
And now it should be really dramatic. Potsdam had to play a fourth attempt, was a little later by a big play by Max Zimmermann before the end zone and scored by a run from Smith another touchdown to 42-41. But instead of securing extra time with an extra point, the coaches went for victory and decided on a two-point conversion.
Smith was stopped trying to run, but before he could be brought down, he passed the ball back to Gahafer, who ran into the end zone. The victory for the Royals? Not yet!
Because the referees decided on holding and Potsdam got a penalty for 10 yards of room loss. But the coaches stuck to the risk variant and decided to try again. The courage should be rewarded, Gahafer found his favorite Nielsen in the end zone – 42-43!
But still the game was not over, the Seamen remained still 22 seconds. The last straw was a fieldgoal attempt of 60 yards. However, this was blocked by the special team of the guests - victory for the Royals.
Potsdam´s head coach Michael Vogt: "An end not to be surpassed in drama, we absolutely wanted this title. We ended up with everything we had and were rewarded. Great feeling and outstanding team performance, I'm very proud of everyone!"
For the German team it was directly the first title at their debut on international level, the Milanese have to wait for it, but will certainly start a new attempt next year.
Milano Seamen - Potsdam Royals 42-43 (7-7/21-14/7-7/7-15)