Monarchs 24, Galaxy 11
FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) _ The debut of the World League of American Football drew a large, enthusiastic crowd that came to see Americana and was rewarded by a pass that may stand as a league record for some time to come.
Before 23,619 Saturday, London scored a 96-yard touchdown on Stan Gelbaugh’s pass to Jon Horton during a 17-point third quarter. The Monarchs beat the Frankfurt Galaxy 24-11.
The crowd, a mixture of Germans and Americans, watched the teams settle down from a mistake-filled opening quarter into a level of play approximating that of U.S. minor college football.
The first game of the 10-team transcontinental league featured fireworks and Americana ranging from cheerleaders to a rock ‘n’ roll halftime show.
The league’s first points came on a safety by a second-string nose tackle, Chris Williams of Frankfurt, who brought down London running back Judd Garrett in the end zone.
The first offensive points came on a 35-yard field goal by Frankfurt’s Stephan Maslo, one of the team’s three German players. The WLAF’s first touchdown was a 28-yard run by London’s David Smith on a draw play.
Despite a sloppy first quarter in which neither team made a first down and penalty flags predominated, the teams combined for more than 500 yards of total offense and only three turnovers.
The crowd spoke a mixture of German and English and included American GIs based in Frankfurt. Even those Germans new to football added an American touch, wearing Yankee caps and Laker jackets.
Concession stands sold bratwurst and hot dogs, schnitzel and hamburgers. Police used to battling hooligans at soccer matches mingled with the crowd, laughing and staring at some of the outfits.
A pep band and cheerleaders led fans into the stands. Then the entertainment was turned up a notch, with fireworks and the Up With People group singing and dancing at midfield.
WLAF President Mike Lynn landed by helicopter on the field to present the game ball - which will be taken to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio - and greeted the crowd in German and English.
After a pregame show that had fans standing and cheering, the first quarter was a disappointment.
The defenses were ahead of the offenses in the game, and the referees were way ahead of both. It took nine series for the initial first down and the teams combined for 41 yards in offense and 35 yards in penalties in the first quarter.
Frankfurt had a 5-0 lead after the safety and Maslo’s field goal, but Smith gave London the lead for good with his touchdown.
The Monarchs took control in the second half. Phil Alexander, a Briton, kicked a 25-yard field goal to make it 10-5 and then Horton caught the bomb from Gelbaugh.
London extended its lead to 24-5 on an 8-yard run by flanker Dana Brinson. Frankfurt scored its touchdown on a 6-yard pass from Mike Perez to Todd Young.