Ramstein downs Wiesbaden to move to 4-0
Ramstein quarterback Dylan Le Page, left, leaps towards the goal line, getting out of the reach of Wiesbaden's Jeremy Colon-Rios, center, and Jessie Davis, on his way to scoring his second TD of the game in the Royals' 14-0 win over the Warriors in Wiesbaden, Friday night.
WIESBADEN, Germany --- It wasn’t pretty. But the Ramstein Royals remained the only unbeaten Division I football team in Europe with a 14-0 road victory Friday night over Wiesbaden, avenging last season’s championship game loss to the Warriors.
The stands were packed and fans in a good mood initially as Wiesbaden's homecoming game featured a scoreless first quarter. No small feat, considering the Royals came into Friday night’s game averaging 34 points a game.
Things changed with a little over six minutes left in the first half, though, when junior quarterback Carlos Grinter was picked off by Royals junior Robert Navarro, who said “instinct took over” when he saw the ball sailing his way.
The pick set up a 12-yard quarterback keeper up the middle by senior Dylan Le Page for the first points of the day.
“I noticed right away that running up the middle was working,” Le Page said.
Wiesbaden, despite being overwhelmed up front, was able to hang tough, forcing key turnovers and stops, trailing by just seven heading into the final quarter.
“Fifteen seconds until our best quarter,” Wiesbaden senior Wyatt Sill barked at his teammates as time ran out during the third quarter.
But their best quarter wasn’t to be, as the Warriors offense couldn’t shake the relentlessness of the Ramstein defense.
The Ramstein defense, known for not giving up big plays, was led by junior Branden Simonson’s nine tackles. Navarro had two key picks and sophomore Gabriel Moreno also had an interception for the Royals. Junior Christian Elliott also pounced on a Wiesbaden fumble.
Le Page, one of three Royals quarterbacks rotated throughout the game, was able to pound away through the middle all night, as he wore down the Wiesbaden defense en route to 125 yards and two touchdowns. His second, a 20-yard fourth-quarter scramble, was set up by a 25-yard scramble by Navarro.
“Our offensive line did amazing today,” said Le Page, adding that his team also missed out on a lot of opportunities Friday night.
Wiesbaden coach Steve Jewell said there were some bright spots in his young defense’s play, a positive he hopes can carry some momentum in what may be a must win next week against Heidelberg if the Warriors hope to defend their championship.
“For us, our playoffs start this week,” Jewell said.
Junior Jon Skeesick led the Wiesbaden defense with nine tackles and a fumble recovery. Senior Daniel Mattner tallied eight tackles for the Warriors and sophomore Nathaniel Cranfield had an interception.
“I feel like we’re getting better every week,” said Grinter, a newcomer to the Warriors squad. Judging by the past two weeks, which saw the team outscored 64-6, Grinter has reason for optimism with Friday’s result, despite his team’s 1-3 record.
Ramstein senior Tyler Rood, who blocked a punt on Friday, said everyone’s now out to knock off the 4-0 Royals.
“We’re going to have to keep our heads straight,” Rood said.