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Monarchs Conquer Cowboys 

Dresden defeated the Munich Cowboys 59-14 in the GFL playoffs.

Heinz Steyer Stadium, Dresden – A game does not make a season. But in a win-or-go home playoff structure, you’ve got to be on your game or be prepared to finish your season earlier than desired.

Trevar Deed ran for four touchdowns, including a back-breaking, tackle-busting 74-yard run, as the Dresden Monarchs ran over the Munich Cowboys early and often on their way to a 59-14 win in the German Football League (GFL) Playoffs quarterfinals.

Both teams stumbled at the start and punted, but the Monarchs steadied the ship by giving the ball to Deed. He ran up the middle, screen passes followed, and then finally 91 yards later, Deed ran it in for the early 7-0 lead.

Munich’s game plan was also evident from the beginning. Their playmaker all season has been Garrett Andrews. The wide receiver was tied for the team lead with 15 touchdowns – all receptions – and he caught a 28-yarder from Blake Barnes to level the game.

On the first play after the kickoff for Dresden, the Cowboys stopped an end-around attempt by the Monarchs for a loss. But after that point, for the next two and a half quarters, nothing went right for Munich.

Deed got the handoff and looked like he would be stopped for a loss. But Mr. TD – responsible for 46 scores this season (42 on the ground) – broke the tackle, avoided a couple of others, and ran past the defence down the left sideline for a 74-yard score and a 14-7 lead right at the end of the opening quarter.

Barnes and Andrews could not answer, and the offense punted. After another long Deed run, Monarch’s QB Jack Welsh threw a TD strike to a wide open receiver (#81) to increase the lead to 21-7.

Despite Barnes’ solid work stepping in when season-opening starter Pat Carey was lost for the season, interceptions plagued the former offensive coordinator. His pass was intercepted and returned 38 yards for the “pick-six”, the Monarchs were threatening to run away with it at 28-7.

Munich tried to get back into it, but errant throws and mistakes prevented any chance of that. The offense’s inability to get any flow only put more pressure on the defense, and when Welsh found #81 again, who like Deed earlier, shook off would-be tacklers and ran through the porous defense down the sideline to finish the 75-yard TD play. The Cowboys had dug a huge 35-7 hole for themselves.

Munich’s fight was still alive, right before the half, they blocked the Monarchs punt attempt and recovered on the Dresden three-yard line.  The Cowboys’ other top scorer, Fabien Gärtner was stopped twice, including a for a loss of crucial yards. Barnes had to throw away for the third down attempt. On fourth down, he found Markus Gärtner open in the back of the endzone, but he was all fingers and dropped it.  Dresden, lucky to have their lead, kneeled down to end the first half.

The Cowboys had the ball to begin the second half and a chance to overcome everything that went wrong in the first half. But they found a new way to give the ball away. A bad snap on their punt gave Dresden a short field at the Munich 34-yard line. Welsh then found Sebastian Krech in the middle of a pack of defenders, who bobbled the pass but was able to pull it in and the Monarchs were on the goalline. Deed ran it in for the 3-yard TD and a 42-7 lead.

“(Deed) is a difference maker,” described Cowboys head coach James Craig after the game.  ”They did a really good job of giving him a variety of options to get his touches.”

Dresden tacked on a 37-yard field goal at the end of the third quarter and Deed finished his day with another short TD run to make it 52-7.

The Cowboys did flash some of their offensive brilliance from the regular season when Barnes took the team down the field to score in two plays. Philipp Vinzenz caught a 36-yard pass and Maximilian Kusch hauled in a Barnes 32-yarder. At 52-14, there was no chance of a comeback, as the team and the fans were left wondering what might have been had Munich been able to stay close.

“We did have adjustments built into the game plan,” said Coach Craig about not being able to adapt to the Dresden defensive scheme. “But I thought we would be able to work through it.  Ultimately, that falls on me.”

Dresden (12-3) put a ribbon on this playoff win as they ran running plays but Munich, on this day, were not going to make any stops. Lucas Wetzel took over where Deed left off, running right through the Cowboys D, and then scored a final touchdown with seven seconds left.

The Cowboys (10-4-1) season of redemption ends, a season removed from the relegation playoffs. Coach Craig asked his team to see the positives in the postgame locker room.

“I told the team to take a step back and think about where we had come from a year ago. Now we need to take an even greater leap forward to take the Munich Cowboys where we want to be. 2014 starts right now.”

An offseason waits to learn and build on the success of this year. It’s a shame they don’t have one more game this season to show how much the team really has grown this year.

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