First CEFL Championship semifinal matchup was played on Saturday in Schwäbisch Hall where the defending champions, the Unicorns, have welcomed Flash de La Courneuve. Both teams were undefeated this season both in the CEFL Championship and in their own national leagues.
The visitors were a tough contender until the end against the favored opponent. They held their own for three quarters and managed to tie the score in the fourth. A vigilant play by the Unicorns’ secondary late in the game was fatal for the Flash and there was no time for them to rebound.
The Unicorns take the early lead after a shot play.
Unicorns: Reilly Hennessey 57 yard pass to Joshua Haas, PAT is good, 7-0
Following ineffective drives by both teams, the Flash get the ball back. Sofiane Mahmoudi hauls in a pass for 12 yards, when Jason Bofunda and Guillaume Buquet run ahead of the chains. Finally, their team equalizes.
Flash: Conor Miller 18 yard pass to Ryan Smith, PAT is good, 7-7
When the Unicorns take charge, quarterback Reilly Hennessey scampers for 30 yards from 2 attempts and connects with Mitch Fettig to move the chains, before the duo caps off the drive.
Unicorns: Reilly Hennessey 21 yard pass to Mitch Fettig, PAT is good, 14-7
Both defenses stiffen from then on. After the visiting team’s 3 and out, they set out to punt but the long snap is short. Punter recovers and tries to kick but the ball gets blocked. The Unicorns take the short field but Hennessey’s pass is intercepted by Mamoudou Drame. The Flash get dangerously close to the home team’s end zone but the time in the first half expires.
After the intermission, the Unicorns plough the field. Jannis Fiedler grinds our tough yards backed by opposing team’s penalty. A familiar pair of players ups the score.
Unicorns: Reilly Hennessey 23 yard pass to Mitch Fettig, PAT is good, 21-7
The French try to convert their next 4th down from a fake punt play which is quickly sniffed out by the home team. They Unicorns the ball back on the rival’s 41 yard line but their offense sputters and the subsequent field goal is wide right.
The Flash are now resolved to improve their offensive performance. Bofunda rushes for 17 yards from a few plays and Buquet adds 21 more. Smith grabs a pass and breaks tackles to cross the goal line.
Flash: Conor Miller 20 yard pass to Ryan Smith, PAT is blocked, 21-13
On the ensuing kickoff, the Unicorns’ returner fumbles as he gets hit. The Flash recover the ball on the opposing 36 yard line. Mahmoudi is fast to advance for 28 yards on a couple of catches before his team ties the score.
Flash: Conor Miller 8 yard pass to François Bremond, 2 point conversion (Conor Miller pass to Ryan Smith), 21-21
Then the Unicorns return to their running game. Lars Koslowski breaks into a 52 yard rush and finishes the drive himself.
Unicorns: Lars Kozlowski 2 yard rush, PAT is good, 28-21
The Flash mount a long offensive series by rushing Buquet and Bofunda, and by Mahmoudi and Stéphane Fortes moving the chains with their grabs. As the visitors move within the striking distance, Giuseppe Della Vecchia forces a fumble from Steve Delaval and Jan Klenk recovers on his team’s 3 yard line.
With 4:34 on the clock Koslowski repeats his production from the previous drive and sprints through the defense for 88 yards. Unicorns’ quarterback picks up the slack.
Unicorns: Reilly Hennessey 3 yard rush, PAT is good, 35-21
There’s no time left for the Flash to answer and the Unicorns go through to the CEFL Bowl XVI.