RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany - Division I football frontrunner Ramstein was as steady as the falling snow Saturday, dispatching visiting Bristol Academy 34-0 to advance to next weekend’s DoDDS Europe championship game. The Royals will face Patch, a 30-8 victor over Vilseck in Saturday’s other semifinal, for the crown Saturday at Baumholder.
In their final home-field appearance of the season, the undefeated Royals disregarded the frigid wind and snow and played their usual methodically effective brand of football, building a 20-0 lead by halftime. Senior quarterback Dylan Le Page trotted in for two first-quarter touchdowns, a 33-yard run just over two minutes in and a goal-line dive in the quarter’s closing minute. Brennan Lege rushed from 3 yards away in the second quarter to set the halftime margin.
The utilitarian first half gave way to fireworks at the start of the third quarter. The visiting Pride mishandled Ramstein’s squib kickoff, allowing the Royals to pounce on the possession; the home team cashed in the favorable field position on Santee Jackson’s 13-yard run on its first play from scrimmage. Jackson’s score expanded the lead to 27-0 a mere nine seconds into the second half.
True to its moniker, however, Bristol remained resilient in the face of an escalating deficit. The Pride put together a sustained drive that devoured much of the third quarter and represented the squad’s best chance at cracking the scoreboard. But Ramstein proved its own mettle with a game-sealing goal-line stand, fighting off Bristol’s first-and-goal from the 5-yard line and eventually forcing a turnover on downs.
Lege, one of an array of quarterbacks utilized in the Royals system, found Zachery Boswell for a 27-yard touchdown midway through the fourth quarter to finish off the afternoon’s scoring.
With the swirling snow and wind, the ground game was a point of emphasis for both sides. Le Page rushed 11 times for 104 yards and two touchdowns for Ramstein, while teammate Jackson carried 10 times for 63 yards. Pride counterpart Tunde Akindele posted a valiant effort in defeat, collecting 52 yards on 18 carries.
Bristol Academy’s season comes to an end at 4-3. Head coach Benjamin Herod said he was impressed with the way his squad handled its challenges, including an arduous travel schedule from its England campus and a size disadvantage against many opponents, and looks forward to more forward progress in the near future.
“Most of these kids are young, and they’re coming back next year,” Herod said. “Their chins are up off their chest at the moment. They’re proud of what they’ve done. And hopefully we’re going to put this result right next year.”
The win gives the Royals (7-0) an extra measure of confidence entering next weekend’s Division I final. Head coach Carlos Amponin cited his team’s third-quarter goal-line stand - the first time the Royals have faced that situation this season - as proof that his team is ready for the rigors of a championship game.
“I don’t think it really made a difference in the game, but it made a difference for us,” Amponin said. “Our guys were able to do it.”