Monarchs crash to record defeat

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The Independent Online
American football

The new season may be only two weeks old, but the London Monarchs are already in disarray. The 37-3 loss to the Frankfurt Galaxy before 34,000 fans at the Waldstadion on Saturday night was the heaviest defeat in the franchise's history.

Last week the Monarchs were beaten in overtime by the Scottish Claymores but this was a very different affair. The visitors were outplayed on both sides of the ball, the Galaxy cruising to victory behind the calm efficiency of Steve Pelluer, the former Dallas Cowboys quarterback.

London's passer, Preston Jones, had a wretched night, completing just eight of 26 attempts before being replaced.

Neither was helped by a group of receivers who dropped routine catches. Nine penalties for a 100 yards only serves to underline London's lack of discipline.

The Monarchs' coach, Bobby Hammond, kept his players in the dressing room for 15 minutes after the game. "I told them that we have to find a way to turn this thing around," he said. "We have to have a group of guys who want to go out and play for this franchise."

After compiling a record of four wins from 10 games last season, Hammond is under pressure. Defeat next week against Rhein Fire would effectively end the Monarchs' interest in the season, and while his players showed a surprising lack of commitment against the Galaxy, ultimate responsibility rests with the coach.

Had they displayed the passion of Frankfurt's German running back, Ingo Seibert, it might have been different. He took full advantage of the Monarchs' lethargy to become the first non-American to score two touchdowns in a World League game.

Frankfurt's other points came from Wes Bender's five-yard run, an outstanding fingertip catch from the tight end Ed Smith and Ralph Kleimann's 42-yard field goal. London's only score, a Roger Ruzek 39 yard kick, came after the Galaxy had established a 21 point lead.

After last week's loss, three players returned home early. Given the mood in the Monarch's camp on Saturday, another session of bloodletting would not come as a surprise, with Hammond's position looking particularly vulnerable.