DODDS-Europe Division I playoffs
Lions thump Ramstein to advance to finals
Heidelberg sophomore Jimmie McBride pulls away from Ramstein defender Justin Pendergrass during the Lions' 36-7 win over the visiting Royals Saturday in Heidelberg.
HEIDELBERG, Germany — The Heidelberg Lions had to wait almost a year, but got revenge against the defending Division I championship Ramstein Royals by hammering them 36-7 Saturday in a Division-I semifinal playoff game.
Next up: A championship game Saturday against the Wiesbaden Warriors, who stunned Filton, 29-21, in the other semifinal game.
The title game will be part of the DODDS-Europe Super Six championship at Baumholder, where the Lions lost to Ramstein, 35-21, in 2009.
“We came back for revenge,” said Heidelberg senior Sterling Jones. “Last year, we lost to this team. We wanted to come back and redeem ourselves and just do what we had to do.”
Jones started it off on the second play from scrimmage. It came in the form of an 87-yard touchdown run that launched a Lion attack that never seemed to cease. The run put Jones over 1,000 yards rushing on the season, according to team statistics.
“[The run] gave us huge momentum,” he said. “Next week we hope to do three times better — score at least 60 points.”
After a penalty on the extra point, Heidelberg elected to go for two and senior Chris Cuthbert ran it in. It was the Jones-Cuthbert combo that would lead the Lions charge for the rest of the game.
In the Royals’ first attempt to answer, Cuthbert tipped and intercepted a pass, giving his team great field position inside the Royal 40-yard line. Heidelberg marched downfield with Jones getting most of the carries, including one for a 4-yard TD run. With less than three minutes gone, the Lions led 15-0 and Jones had scored two touchdowns while rushing for more than 100 yards.
“Obviously, that is a great way to start a game,” said Lions coach Brad Shahan. “Any time you can get up on a team 15-0 it gives you options to do things and try things that you might not normally try.”
The Lions made it 22-0 by halftime as Kevin Gray scored on a quarterback-keeper with 14 seconds left. They added another score on a 16-yard TD pass from Gray to Christopher Paez Lopez in the third quarter, one play after an interception by a Josh Holan. Gray completed six of eight passes on the day for 76 yards.
Cuthbert, who gained 80 yards on 17 carries, got the final Lion score on a 23-yard run at the start of the fourth quarter.
The Lions defense, lead by Jones, Holan and Davon Loney, held the Ramstein offense scoreless until its last drive of the game when junior Jon Groteleueschen scored on a short run.
The Royals defense was lead by Young Oh, Nick Rush and Spencer Sandifer, who combined for 31 tackles and an interception.