GELSENKIRCHEN, Germany (AP) - Wide receiver Richard Alston threw a 60-yard touchdown pass to Chas Gessner on a trick play Saturday, helping the Berlin
Thunder beat the Frankfurt Galaxy 30-24 to win a wild World Bowl XII.
The Thunder matched the league mark for best record, finishing 10-1 to equal the London Monarchs of 1991.
"That's outstanding: 10-1 means we're as good as anyone that's ever been over here the guys deserve it,"
Thunder head coach Rick Lantz said.
But it wasn't easy. The teams combined for 10 turnovers Berlin started by fumbling away its first four drives. League leading rusher Eric McCoo was
selected game MVP after gaining 167 yards on 28 carries for the Thunder, including a 69-yard touchdown run down the right side.
After the game was tied at 10 at halftime, Alston put the Thunder ahead with his TD pass off a reverse, making it 17-10 early in the third quarter.
Then came McCoo's big scoring run, and two field goals by Jonathan Ruffin put the Thunder ahead 30-10 in the fourth quarter.
Galaxy quarterback J.T. O'Sullivan, who missed the last two regular-season because of his father's death, then rallied his team by throwing two of his
three touchdown passes. O'Sullivan hooked up with Derrick Lewis for 19 yards with just under three minutes to play, but the Galaxy again fell short
against the Thunder. Frankfurt finished 7-4, with three losses coming to Berlin.
O'Sullivan set the tone for the game on the opening drive he threw the ball right into the arms of Montique Sharpe, and the defensive tackle ran it
back 26 yards for the game's first score. That started a string of seven turnovers in the first eight possessions by the two teams in front of 35,000
During halftime, Thunder players wondered if the referees were dropping the ball, making it slippery after rainstorms earlier in the day.
"Remember they were dropping the ball, too. Eric McCoo, one of our leaders, then said, 'It's not the ball, it's us,' "
Lantz said. "We hung
in there and found a way to win."
O'Sullivan finished 19-of-33 for 210 yards, with three touchdowns and two interceptions. Thunder quarterback and league offensive MVP Rohan Davey,
allocated from the New England Patriots, wasn't much of a factor, going 19-of-29 for 212 yards with an interception because of miscues.
Gessner fumbled a pass from Davey on the Galaxy 4-yard line on the team's opening drive. McCoo fumbled on the next drive, Davey and his center lost
the ball on the third possession and then the quarterback fumbled a snap on his own.
Things got worse.
A 32-yard touchdown pass to LaShaun Ward was nullified on Gessner's false start. On the next play, Ward stood alone in the end zone, but couldn't
handle the pass from Davey.