Last week - Hobson, a 5-foot-5, 140-pound senior running back, shrugged off a snowy field and the Vilseck defense Saturday to run for 141 yards and a touchdown on 16 carries as the Panthers dominated second-seeded Vilseck 30-8 and moved into their first European Division I title game.
“It was difficult to run on that field but somehow he managed to get 141 yards through the tackles,” Patch coach Brian Hill emailed about his team’s leading rusher. “He was able to get us some key first downs when we needed them despite being swallowed by defenders.”
Hobson’s production, which gave him 542 yards for the season, allowed Patch to advance to its first European title game at any level since the Panthers lost to Bitburg, 16-14, in the 1999 D-II finale.
Hobson, a second-year Panther cornerback whom Hill called “perhaps our best open-field tackler,” also returns punts and kickoffs for Patch. Hobson made three tackles and assisted on another Saturday, but showed his best when the ball was under his arm.
“He ran with a lot of heart,” Hill concluded.
Last week - Hess, a 5-foot-7 junior outside hitter who, according to her coach, Mike Rubino, possesses “one of the most impressive jumps” he’s ever seen in DODDS, victimized Bamberg and Schweinfurt for 38 kills Saturday as the Panthers swept both Division II schools at Bamberg.
In three games against Bamberg, Hess put away 17 kills and served six aces. In Patch’s five-set victory over Schweinfurt, she chalked up 21 kills to give her 188 in her 46 games this season. She has 28 aces, and the 25 digs she came up with boosted her total in that department to 166.
Hess’ solid stats “are indicative of her athleticism and level of play,” Rubino wrote. “Rachel is playing well for us and is a strong influence on the court.”
Although power is an integral part of Hess’ game – “her spikes are often seen careening off of her opponents,” as Rubino put it – Hess has her head in the game, too.
“Rachel is a strong intellectual player on the court,” Rubino concluded. “She’s extremely motivated and does not hesitate to leave it all on the court when she plays.”