Johnson douses Rhein Fire

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The Independent Online
The London Monarchs finally won a home game at the fourth time of asking when they came from behind to defeat Rhein Fire 34-14 at White Hart Lane yesterday.

There was good news all round for the steadily improving franchise. The victory maintains the Monarchs' hopes of an appearance in next month's World Bowl in Amsterdam, the crowd of over 12,000 was the largest of the season, and their quarter-back Brad Johnson completed another near-faultless game.

Impressive in Barcelona last week, Johnson - allocated to the Monarchs from the NFL's Minnesota Vikings - completed 17 of his 25 pass attempts against Rhein Fire for 238 yards and three touchdowns, confirming his status as the World League's most assured passer.

"I've said from day one that Brad Johnson is a fine quarter-back, so what he has done over the last two games doesn't surprise me at all," said Bobby Hammond, his head coach. "Brad has shown leadership and smart decision-making when we needed it."

However, the Monarchs did not hit their stride until the third quarter. After a defence-dominated and scoreless first quarter, the Fire took a 7-0 lead in the second quarter through a Rod Moore touchdown which was converted by Andreas Schroder.

After half-time, Johnson destroyed the Fire with three touchdowns in under 11 minutes, the first to the running back Tony Brooks, the next two to the receiver, Alan Allen.

However, the biggest cheer of the day was reserved for the local hero, London-born running back Victor Ebubedike. With less than eight minutes remaining, the former London Raven burst through the middle, out-running the defenders to score on a 46-yard run. "Victor has been in my doghouse for a while," Hammond said. "I think it is fair to say that he is out of it now."

Next week the Monarchs face the Amsterdam Admirals, who were surprisingly beaten for the first time this season by the Frankfurt Galaxy on Sunday, although they have already booked a place in the final. On this form, the Monarchs may be good enough to join them.

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