Patch outlasts Heidelberg for triumph
Patch's Mike Jacobson receives a touchdown pass from quarterback Jeff Kaczmarek in the second quarter of a game against Heidelberg. Patch won the game 20-6.
STUTTGART, Germany – Patch football coach Brian Hill said his team’s strategy Saturday was to wear down Heidelberg’s players.
It took until the third quarter to accomplish that.
Fullback Michael Mineni’s 3-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter gave the Panthers a cushion and helped spoil the Lions’ season opener in the school’s final year of existence as Patch prevailed 20-6.
The score was 10-6 in Patch’s favor going into the second half.
“They were physical on the defense end,” Hill said. “And it took everything we had to plow through them.”
It was an almost entirely running game for both teams. One of the few passes of the day by Patch quarterback Jeff Kaczmarek was an 11-yard pass to Mike Jacobson to score a touchdown with nine seconds left in the first half.
“There’s too many things that can go wrong when you throw,” Hill said. “But sometimes you need to do it to shake it up a bit, like we did on that touchdown.”
Patch kicker Christian Rauschenplat had two successful field goals and extra points in the game. Jacobson also intercepted a Heidelberg pass in the second quarter. Jack Smith had two sacks in the game for Patch and blocked a punt in the fourth quarter.
Hill and Heidelberg coach Larry Daffin said the Lions struggled because the team is young and low on players. The school has lost enrollment in its last year of existence – and is now the smallest school in Division I – and the football program doesn’t have enough players to even have a junior varsity team.
“We’re young and we’re thin so we gotta stay healthy,” Daffin said. “And we gotta play beyond our maturity because we’re a young team.”
“My hats off to Coach Daffin and his staff for really doing a good job with their guys,” Hill said. “They put a good team out on the field and they’re playing hard. So if anyone takes them lightly I think they’re gonna be hurting.”
The crowd was well aware of the history surrounding Heidelberg football.
“We’re all in this DODDS family and when you go back and look at the history, Heidelberg being one of the first DODDS schools ever, it’s kinda sad to think about it,” Hill said.
“We’re going to make sure that we give the people a good show,” Daffin said. “And that we try to do the best we possibly can to represent the lineage that’s been established here.”