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HomeRecapCEFL Championship Semifinal 1 Recap: Schwäbisch Hall Unicorns - Thonon Black Panthers

CEFL Championship Semifinal 1 Recap: Schwäbisch Hall Unicorns – Thonon Black Panthers

The first semifinal of the CEFL Championship was played in Schwäbisch Hall, where the two-time reigning champions, the Unicorns, were a heavy favorite against the French contender, Thonon Black Panthers. The game was mostly one-sided, though not as one would imagine.


Schwäbisch Hall Unicorns0140014Loss
Thonon Black Panthers141401442Win

The visitors opened the game with a kickoff return to the Unicorns’ territory. Running back Nicolas Khandar scampered into the end zone untouched for the lead, 0-7.

Getting another go, Khandar broke tackles on his way to the opposing side of the field. José Tabora linked up with Pierre-Yves Dayres who was wide open over the middle for 0-14.

Following the advantageous punt return to the Unicorns’ 30 yard line, Khandar rushed for another touchdown, 0-21.

Next drive by the home team looked promising as Ian Gehrke lobbed a pass to Tyler Rutenbeck to move the chains but after 4 ineffective downs they turned the ball over to the visitors.

Just as it seemed that they would do the same, Khandar punched through on 4th down and darted for another score, 0-28.

Four unanswered touchdowns was too much for the Unicorns to put up with. It was a pass from Gehrke to Julian Annerwall that finally got them on the board, 7-28.

The Unicorns recover their own ensuing kickoff and start their attack from the short field. However, Gehrke’s pass directed at Rutenbeck is intercepted by Adel Bafdile.

When Tabora rushes on a broken play the ball is stripped from him by Marvin Kalmbach, and Unicorns’ Darchi Dackson recover it just 27 yard away from the Black Panthers’ goal line.

It took a circus catch by Rutenbeck to corral Gehrke’s rocket for a touchdown to cut the rival’s lead in half, 14-28.

After the game break, the German champions attempted to catch up, but Bafdile intercepted another underthrown ball.

A scoreless third period left little time for the home team to come back. Adding insult to injury, Khandar went in for another score, 14-35.

As the Unicorns were getting close to the end zone, a miscommunication in their offense led to a third interception by Bafdile. On the very next play Khandar found a hole and sprinted for his 5th touchdown of the day to put the final score at 14-42.

Triumphing in this semifinal the Black Panthers were the first team to place in the CEFL Bowl XVII. Moreover, they’ve done something that no team was able to do in the past three seasons in the CEFL Championship, dealing the Unicorns their first loss.


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