Playoff Report: Frankfurt Galaxy vs. Cologne Centurions
The first playoff game in the European League of Football history kicked off on Saturday at 2:45p.m. CEST with the two best teams of the South Conference. The 9-1 Frankfurt Galaxy hosted the 5-5 Cologne Centurions at the PSD Bank Arena.
The Centurions were almost back at full strength as American wide receiver and returner Quinten Pounds came back from an injury. The Galaxy missed their starting tackle Yannic Kiehl and starting wide receiver Lorenz Regler.
The Frankfurt Galaxy started off the first playoff game in the European League of Football on offense after receiving the opening kickoff. On the very first play from the line of scrimmage, Galaxy quarterback Jakeb Sullivan found his wide receiver Nico Strahmann over the middle for huge gain. From the Centurions 25-yard line, running back Gennadiy Adams had a great run up the middle for nine yards. On just the third play, Sullivan found his tight end Kevin Mwamba on the left side who spun right out of an attempted tackle and ran into the endzone for the first score of the game. After a successful two-point attempt, the Galaxy were up by eight points early in the first quarter.
On the Centurions first drive, All-Star quarterback Weinreich handed the ball off to his fellow All-Star running back Madre London who ran up the field for a gain of eight yards. Then, the Cologne offense faced a short third down, but London pushed the pile of offensive and defensive lineman over the first down marker to move the chains. On first down, Weinreich passed to Pounds on a bubble screen, but linebacker and All-Star player Sebastian Gauthier blew up the play for a loss of four yards. After an incomplete pass, the Centurions faced a long third down on which Weinreich fired a ball down field to tight end Florian Weinreich. The pass ended up being incomplete and Galaxy’s All-Star safety Joshua Poznanski stayed on the ground with an apparent injury after being involved in the play. However, the Centurions were forced to punt the ball away on their first drive.
On the Galaxy second drive, quarterback Jakeb Sullivan found a lane up the middle and moved the chains on the ground. After a holding call against Galaxy center Christensen, Frankfurt faced a long second down. However, a completed pass to wide receiver Schwarz and a short pass to running back Adams moved the chains again. One great run up the middle by Adams later, the Galaxy moved inside the Centurions’ 30-yard line. After a couple of runs by mix of running backs and a pass to tight end Mwamba, the Galaxy offense lined up at the Centurions’ one-yard line. After a few plays, Sullivan found wide receiver Hendrick Schwarz for their second score. After an unsuccessful two-point attempt, the score was set at 14-0 with the Galaxy on top in the first quarter.
The Centurions opened their drive with a great run by London who ran up the right side for a first down. When the Centurions faced a long third down, the Centurions took their first timeout of the first half to discuss their play call. On a broken play, Weinreich escaped heavy pressure and completed a pass to London for the first down. The first quarter ended with a pass to receiver Lenhardt which set up the Centurions offense close to midfield.
After opening the second quarter with an incompletion, London rushed for a new first down. In Galaxy territory, Weinreich gave himself up for a loss of six yards as he faced heavy pressure once again. On the very next play, Weinreich let the clock run out which set back the Centurions for five more yards. Facing an long third down, Weinreich pass to his playmaker Pounds who tried to make defenders miss but could not reach the line to gain.
After a punt by the Centurions, the Galaxy offense took over after scoring touchdowns on each of their first two drives. A short run by Adams and an incomplete pass by Sullivan, the Galaxy faced a long third down early on that drive. The Centurions were able to shut down the Galaxy offense on this drive as they tackled Sullivan short of the first down marker. Going three-and-out, the Galaxy were forced to punt for the first time.
The Centurions drive started at the 16-yard line. After three runs by London, the Centurions went three-and-out and were forced to punt.
The Galaxy took over close to midfield and started their drive with a pass to All-Star wide receiver Mahoungou. A few plays later, Sullivan lowered the shoulder and overran a duo of Centurions defenders to set up a short second down. Facing a long third down, Sullivan escaped a possible sack and found Mahoungou downfield for a new first down. A couple of plays later, Julian Völker sacked Sullivan for a loss which put the Galaxy offense in a difficult position. However, Sullivan found his receiver Schwarz again for a touchdown after he had time to throw without facing any pressure. After a penalty during an attempted two-point conversion, the Galaxy set for a PAT which ended up being good. This set the score at 21-0 with the Galaxy on top.
On their next drive, the Centurions tried to answer with points but an early penalty and a sack by All-Star player Gauthier put the Centurions in a difficult position. However, quarterback Weinreich stood tall in the pocket despite facing pressure and found Lenhardt after he beat American cornerback Omari Williams on a deep route. A few plays later, London cut back to the right side and stiff-armed Barnes for a solid gain of yards. After a run for loss and an incomplete pass, Weinreich found London over the middle of the field on fourth down to move the chains. In the red zone, London ran over the right side again to set up the Centurions offense inside the Galaxy ten-yard line. On third down, London followed his fullback Poetsch all the way into the endzone for the score. However, the play was called back after a holding call against the offense. Facing a long third down, London was not able to escape the tackle of All-Star linebacker Sebastian Silva Gomez after a short reception. The field goal attempt was blocked which kept the score at 21-0 with the Galaxy on top.
With just under one minute to play, Sullivan found former NFL receiver and All-Star player Mahoungou for a long tochdown. After the PAT was no good, the score was set at 27-0.
The Centurions ended the first half by kneeling down on their last possession.
At the beginning of the second half, the Centurions struggle to move the ball continued after Weinreich could not complete a pass intended for wide receiver Quinten Pounds. Going three-and-out, the Centurions punted the ball away after a short drive.
The Galaxy took over on offense, but the Centurions defense stepped up as cornerback Marlon Mbaye broke up a pass intended for Strahmann. On the very next play, Bhikh could have picked off Sullivan on another pass which went incomplete. This forced the Galaxy to punt the ball away after going three-and-out as well.
The Centurions continued with attempting deep passes to Pounds but were not able to connect on one. After a short pass to the outside intended for Pounds, the Centurions were forced to punt again.
After Galaxy returner Williams muffed the punt, the Centurions recovered the free ball in Galaxy territory. After a couple of runs by London, the Centurions moved the chains for the time in the second half. On the very next play, London found a lane and broke loose for a 15-yard gain. Inside the red zone, the Centurions faced a short fourth down. However, Poetsch was penalized for a false start which pushed the offense back five yards. An incomplete pass by Weinreich turned over the ball on downs on the Galaxy twelve-yard line.
The Galaxy offense took over with just over six minutes to play in the third quarter. After picking up a first down, running back Rodney was stopped by linebacker Kensy in the backfield for a loss of yards. After picking up a first down, Sullivan fired a pass over the middle to wide receiver Marvin Rutsch who turned up the field and outran the Centurions defense for the next score. After the PAT was no good, the score was set at 33-0 with the Galaxy dominating the game on offense and defense.
The Centurions stayed true to their roots on the next drive as Weinreich handed the ball off to London once again. Despite finding a lane, London slipped on the wet field and could not make the cutback. One play later, Galaxy defensive back Fernando Lowery intercepted Weinreich and pitched the ball to outside linebacker Gauthier who pitched the ball to Benjamin Barnes. The pitch by Gauthier was called an illegal forward pass which set the Galaxy back five yards.
On the next Galaxy drive, quarterback, and reigning “Chio MVP of the Week” Moritz Johannknecht came into the game close to the end of the third quarter. However, the Galaxy drive came to an end after they turned over the ball on downs deep inside Cologne’s territory.
At the beginning of the fourth quarter, quarterback Alexander Frisch started for the Centurions and threw an interception on his first pass attempt. The pass was intercepted by Galaxy defensive back Lowery again for his second interception of the game.
After a short drive by the Galaxy, they had to settle for a field goal on fourth down inside Cologne’s territory. After the field goal was good, the score was set at 36-0 with the Galaxy on top.
Frisch was still the quarterback of choice by Head Coach Kirk Heidelberg on the next Centurions drive. On the first play from the line of scrimmage, London broke loose and setup his offense at the Galaxy 41-yard line. On a draw, London ran up the right side of the field for another huge gain. On the next play, running back Andre Frisch ran up the field to move the chains. Inside the ten-yard line, London found the endzone on an inside run to finally put the Centurions on the scoreboard. Attempting a two-point conversion, the intended pass to London was broken up by Jhonattan Silva Gomez which set the score at 36-6.
The Galaxy came back on the field and faced an early third down. However, the reigning “ChioMVP of the Week” faced pressure but still dropped a dime to his receiver Sow deep on the right side of the field. However, Johannknecht threw an interception to Mbaye on the very next play which set up the Centurions offense inside Galaxy territory.
With under seven minutes to go in regulation, Frisch threw an interception which was called back because of a penalty against the Galaxy defense. Facing an early third down after a couple of short runs by London, the Galaxy defense stepped up and forced a fourth down. The Centurions turned over the ball on downs after wide receiver Jannik Loercks was tackled short of the line to gain.
On the very first play by the Galaxy on their next drive, running back Gerald Ameln fumbled the ball which was forced and then recovered by Dartez Jacobs with just under four minutes to go in regulation. Ameln stayed on the ground after the play and had to be helped off the field with an apparent injury.
The Centurions back-up quarterback Frisch showed great pocket-awareness by avoiding pressure but almost threw an interception on back-to-back plays. The Centurions turned over the ball on downs which gave the ball back to Johannknecht and the Galaxy offense.
After the two-minute warning, punter, kicker, and wide receiver Hendrick Schwarz had a long punt to give returner Lenhardt no time for a return. Quarterback Frisch handed off the ball to his brother Alexander Frisch for a short gain.
Two handoffs later, the clock hit zero with a final score of 36-6 with the Galaxy team on top.
The Frankfurt Galaxy won in dominant fashion, only allowing one touchdown to the Cologne Centurions. With a final score of 36-6, the Galaxy are ready to take on the winner of the North Conference in the European League of Football Championship Game on 26th September.
The Cologne Centurions had a tough game to end their season. Only scoring one touchdown against the Galaxy was certainly not enough to this playoff game. This game ended the season for the Centurions and will start the preparation and analysis for possible adjustments towards next season.
The North Conference showdown will kick-off at Stadion Hoheluft in Hamburg tomorrow at 2:45 p.m. CEST featuring the Hamburg Sea Devils and the Wrocław Panthers. Whoever wins this game will face the Frankfurt Galaxy in the Championship Game in two weeks. Tune in on ProSieben MAXX, LIVE NOW, or on your Gamepass to not miss any playoff-action in the European League of Football.