Schwäbisch Hall Unicorns
|Schwäbisch Hall Unicorns|
|Head coach:||Jordan Neuman|
|League (2019):||GFL South|
|German champions||2011, 2012, 2017, 2018|
|German Bowl participation||2011, 2012, 2014–2019|
|Play-off participation||2001-2007, 2009-2019|
|Address:||Spitalmühlenstraße 28, 74523 Schwäbisch Hall|
|October 13, 2018|
|Eternal GFL balance|
The men's team played in the First Bundesliga for the first time in 1988 (today the German Football League ). Since their resurgence in 2001, the Unicorns have been consistently in the GFL, which is only surpassed by the record champions Braunschweig Lions (since 1994, New York Lions from 2011) and the Stuttgart Scorpions (since 1995).
The Unicorns have won the German championship four times in the active area, through victories in the German Bowl in 2011, 2012, 2017 and 2018. In addition, they have won their division (South) nine times in a row since 2011, which no other team in the GFL has achieved before. The U19 won their only German championship title so far in the Junior Bowl in 2016 .
Foundation and first class
In the early summer of 1983, then twelfth grader and later head coach Siegfried Gehrke saw a regional television program about the Ansbach Grizzlies , who, thanks to an American garrison, are among the pioneers of American football in Germany and were in the German Bowl final from 1979 to 1986 . In addition, the Stuttgart Scorpions , founded in 1982, invited to a trial training session, in which eight Hall students took part. In the fall, 71 members founded a football department of TSG Schwäbisch Hall 1844 , which, with the help of some American soldiers, played the first friendly game at the Rothenburg Knights in March 1984 .
The Unicorns got their name more by chance (there is Mount Einkorn in Schwäbisch Hall ) and a set of green jerseys. In 1984 they started playing in what was then the lowest division, the 2nd Bundesliga. There were serious defeats, for example against the Stuttgart Stallions . The first win came in the eleventh game, against the Dieburg Pioneers . In the 1986 season, a win against the Rüsselsheim Crusaders enabled the first second division championship title, but the Scorpions retained the upper hand in the relegation games.
At the end of 1987, the Unicorns rose to the first Bundesliga (today GFL ) for the first time , but after three years, at the end of 1990, they had to leave it again for the 2. Bundesliga-Mitte (today German Football League 2 ).
1991 to 2000 low class
After relegation to the second tier, the founding generation withdrew in part, and for global political reasons, the Americans were withdrawn from Camp Dolan , such as Ted Hoeckel, who was previously a department head. The youth work that was started early paid off, with young players coming. Founder Siegfried Gehrke became head coach at the age of 26, while his brother Jürgen Gehrke, who only came to football in 1988, took over the management of the department. The brothers have been running the Unicorns for a quarter of a century.
After two years of relegation in the four-part 2nd Bundesliga, it became too tight there due to a league reform. In the 1993 second division season , Hall was only 5th out of 8 teams, behind local rivals Scorpions (2nd) and even behind Backnang Wolverines, who are even closer to Stuttgart, halfway to Stuttgart (4th). These could beat Hall twice and still managed to stay in the league , while the Unicorns were transferred to the Regionalliga .
In the regional league middle in 1994 a third place was not enough to keep the league due to the league reforms. This was followed by a renewed relegation to the Oberliga Baden-Württemberg, where the team narrowly lost in the beginning at the Karlsruhe Cavaliers in 1995 , but then won all games. This was taken as an opportunity to draw the necessary conclusions from the increased performance density due to the league reforms, and a Unicorns 2000 concept was developed. For the first time, suitable players were sought in the USA, while continued good youth work was the focus.
A regional league march in 1996 with six wins led the Haller back to the Second Bundesliga (GFL2) in 1997, where they started as newcomers in 1984. After establishing yourself in the midfield, things went uphill again in terms of sport, so that in 1999 the championship was given as the goal, but it was only enough for fourth place. The 2000 season was more relaxed and came second behind the Saarland Hurricanes in the league now known as GFL 2 Süd. This unexpectedly resulted in a renewed promotion to the first-class GFL for the Unicorns in December due to the withdrawal of the Aschaffenburg Stallions' license .
GFL since 2001
In the first GFL season 2001 , the play-offs could be reached. Since then, the Unicorns have established themselves in the GFL and reached the play-offs every year except in 2008. The traditionally stronger northern teams, against which you had to play twice in the regular season until 2012, but not since then, proved to be an insurmountable obstacle for southern teams on the way to the final.
In the 2005 season , the Hallers were even able to advance to the semi-finals, where they then had to admit defeat to the later German Bowl winner Braunschweig Lions . And also in the EFAF Cup the unicorns make it to the semi-finals, where the later cup winners Marburg Mercenaries got the upper hand with 48:36. In the 2006 and 2007 seasons , the Haller reached third place in the south table and thus the play-off quarter-finals as a visiting team. In the 2008 season , the play-offs were just missed with fifth place.
2009 Southern Champion
In the 2009 season , the Unicorns became champions of the GFL Süd for the first time with only one defeat and won the quarter-finals against the Assindia Cardinals 46:25. After a lead over almost the entire semi-final against the Kiel Baltic Hurricanes , the Unicorns lost 21:22 in the last 3 seconds before the end.
In the 2010 season , the Unicorns came second in GFL Süd. Dusty Thornhill , the most effective scorer in the Bundesliga with 8.5 points per game, was voted GFL Player of the Year 2010. The Unicorns failed in the quarterfinals against the Dresden Monarchs 45:56.
2011 First victory in the German Bowl
In the 2011 season the Unicorns won all 13 games (the one in Marburg was canceled) and were thus again champions of the GFL Süd. In the quarterfinals, the Berlin Adler were defeated for the third time this year with 53:27. In these 14 games, quarterback Aaron Boehme showed an almost flawless performance, because only one of his 387 pass throws was intercepted by the opponent, 276 found their target, 54 of them as a touchdown. In the semifinals on September 24th, the Mönchengladbach Mavericks were guests after they were promoted to the GFL Nord thanks to purchased players and had eliminated the Stuttgart Scorpions in the quarter-finals . The Unicorns scored their first touchdown with a run by Thornhill in the first quarter, but the extra point attempt was blocked. In the second quarter, the Mavericks took the lead 7: 6 after a fumble by Boehme, which was carried back into the Haller end zone, but then the Unicorns scored three touchdowns, with a catch by national player Johannes Brenner, after a blocked Mavericks punt and with a run by Boehme at halftime score 28: 7. Early in the third quarter, Mavericks quarterback J. McCardle cut short with one run, but Thornhill restored the old gap. For the last change of sides, the Haller were able to stop the opponent several times at their end zone and gain possession of the ball there, whereupon a 98-yard touchdown pass from Boehme to Justice Joslin brought the preliminary decision. A fumble recovery by the Unicorns and a touchdown pass by Mönchengladbach led to the final result of 47:21.
Thus, the Unicorns had qualified for the first time for the final ( German Bowl ), for the German Bowl XXXIII on October 8, 2011 in the Magdeburg MDCC-Arena . No southern team has won the title since 1993, and financially strong northern clubs almost always made the final among themselves. The opponent this time was the northern champion and defending champion Kiel Baltic Hurricanes , who was in the German Bowl for the fourth time in a row. The game dominated by the attack lines ended 48:44 for the Schwäbisch Hall Unicorns, who were able to fend off a pass in their end zone in the last second of the game.
2012 title defense
In the 2012 season the Unicorns became champions of the GFL Süd for the third time, defeating the Düsseldorf Panthers in the quarter-finals of the play-offs with 41:25, then in the semi-finals of the play-offs the Berlin Adler with 38:21 and thus stood for the second time in the club's history in the final of the German Bowl XXXIV , which they successfully defended on October 13, 2012 against the Kiel Baltic Hurricanes with a narrow 56:53 victory.
2013 out in the quarterfinals
After the renewed southern championship in 2013 , the Unicorns lost at home in the quarter-finals against the Berlin Adler with 13:42.
A year later, the Unicorns came back with the motto Challenge Accepted , with the clear goal of becoming German champions. In the 2014 season , the southern championship was again won, and the Kiel Baltic Hurricanes and the Dresden Monarchs were beaten in the play-offs .
In the meantime, the Braunschweig New York Lions , who stood in the final as Braunschweig Lions from 1997 to 2008 and won seven German Bowls, had, however, not least thanks to sponsor support, prevailed again in the north against Berlin and Kiel. The Unicorns clearly lost the German Bowl XXXV with 9:47 in front of 12,531 spectators.
In 2015 it was again possible to win the southern championship.
In the Big6 European Football League , the Unicorns qualified for the Eurobowl XXIX after victories against the Berlin Adler and the Vienna Vikings , which was lost in Braunschweig at the New Yorker Lions 14:24.
in autumn the entry into the German Bowl XXXVII was achieved again, through home wins against the Hamburg Huskies and again Dresden. This was the fourth time that the Schwäbisch Hall Unicorns reached the GFL final between 2011 and 2015. But this time too, they had to admit defeat to the New York Lions , including the Eurobowl for the third time in a row. This time Schwäbisch Hall at least managed to keep the game open longer. 31:41 was the final result in front of 12,051 spectators. One of the reasons could have been the extra points given away after the touchdowns. After the kick to the extra point missed its target after the first touchdown, the two-point conversion was tried twice to compensate , which was awarded each time. So 3 mostly safe points were missing.
The senior team of the Unicorns, which had played their home games in the Hagenbachstadion since 1984 , moved to the new Optima Sportpark in 2016 . To a certain extent, a preparation for the season was the renewed participation in the Big6 European Football League 2016, whereby the Unicorns clearly defeated the Berlin Adler at home, but were then just as clearly defeated in Innsbruck by the Swarco Raiders Tirol , who in turn had to admit defeat to the Lions in the Euro final .
The 2016 GFL season began on April 16, unlike in many previous years, with a win over newly promoted Frankfurt Universe . For the opponent this was the first competitive game defeat in over a year, after all, they had achieved promotion with a perfect season . There was an unusual departure in the run-up to the season when wide receiver Moritz Böhringer , who was "Rookie of the Year" last year, was selected 180th in the NFL Draft by the Minnesota Vikings . Shortly afterwards it was announced that wide receiver Patrick Donahue, who had played for the Unicorns against Frankfurt, was invited to the rookie mini camp by the Green Bay Packers . Böhringer did not make it into the squad, but was accepted into the practice squad , while Donahue played for the Unicorns again after the mini camp. The last game away at Frankfurt Universe was about the perfect regular season on the one hand, and on the other hand Frankfurt could have become southern champions with a sufficiently high win. Ultimately, the Unicorns prevailed with 35:28 and were able to defend the southern championship. For Frankfurt it was one of only two defeats this season, both against Hall.
The German Bowl XXXVIII started with no points in the first quarter. In the second section, the Lions each presented a touchdown, which the Haller equalized. At halftime it was 14:14, which, according to Haller coach Siegfried Gehrke, was the first time that the Unicorns were not behind the Lions at a final break. In the third quarter, the Lions scored 10 points, but the Haller Offense only managed two field goals in the last quarter before the Lions scored the final score of 31:20 by touchdown. Thus, the German Bowl lost to the Lions for the third time in a row.
2017 German champion
After a perfect season , the Schwäbisch Hall Unicorns defeated the New York Lions on October 7, 2017 in a completely rainy German Bowl XXXIX with 14:13 and thus won their third German championship after 2011 and 2012. The game was balanced over long distances and was determined by the defense departments of both teams. So it came to the game-decisive scene only six seconds before the end, when Devin Benton (Unicorns) blocked a 35-yard field goal from Tobias Goebel (Lions) and thus saved the very thin lead of the Unicorns from one point.
2018 German champion
After another perfect season , the Schwäbisch Hall Unicorns on October 13, 2018 defeated the German Bowl XL , the Samsung Frankfurt Universe with 21:19 and thus won for 2011, 2012 and 2017 her fourth German championship for the seventh playoff participation. The game was determined after Frankfurt's initial leadership by the defense departments of both teams. As in the previous year, the game-winning scene only happened six seconds before the end when M. Duis (Frankfurt) could not convert a 15-yard field goal and the game ended with two points ahead for Haller. MVP of the final game was Nikolas Knoblauch (No. 44, Schwäbisch Hall Unicorns), who, as a defender, was able to carry the decisive touchdown to 21:13. The Unicorns were unbeaten 34 times in a row after two seasons without defeat.
Since their victory against the Stuttgart Scorpions on June 15, 2019, the Unicorns hold the German record of victories in a row among all sports clubs. This series lasted up to a 7:10 defeat against the New Yorker Lions in the German Bowl XLI in October 2019 and ended with a record of 50 wins in a row.
Youth area and cheerleaders
The Schwäbisch Hall Unicorns are well prepared for the future with a U19, U17, U16 and U15 tackle football team. In 2014, the U19 won the southern German championship again and made it to the semi-finals of the German championship. In 2016 the U19 won the German Junior Bowl championship in their own stadium .
In addition to the three youth tackle teams and a youth flag football team, a cheerleading squad named Unixx has existed since 2003 . The unicorn mascot Corny has been providing entertainment at the games since 2001 .
- Schwäbisch Hall Unicorns. (No longer available online.) In: www.unicorns.de. Archived from the original on December 9, 2016 ; Retrieved December 9, 2016 . Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice.
- Huddle 18/2001
- Huddle 23/2005
- Archived copy ( Memento of the original from December 18, 2014 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice.
- 1. A Boehme-SHU 14 276 - 387 - 1 71.3 4385 54 90 212.0 - http://stats.gfl.info/gfl/2011/confldrs.htm#conf.wi2 September 24, 2011
- Record for Unicorns: American footballers from Schwäbisch Hall win 41 times in a row - THW Kiel record broken. In: swp.de. NPG Digital GmbH, June 16, 2019, accessed on August 7, 2019 .
- Archived copy ( memento of the original from August 1, 2016 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice.