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Defending European Division III champion Ansbach took a 20-0 lead on three James Esters TD runs in the first quarter Saturday and coasted to the III-South championship with a 31-14 home victory over previously unbeaten Bamberg.

Esters, who carried 14 times for 196 yards, scored on a 1-yard run cleared by the blocking of Adam Golden and Vic Leeks, a 73-yard run sprung by the block of Russell Bailey, and a 36-yard run.

Jon Austin, who carried three times for 67 yards, added a 55-yard scoring run in the third quarter. Garrett Eichhorn added a 42-yard field goal in the third period for a 31-0 lead.

Bamberg scored both its TDs in the final quarter on Brian Knotts’ 1-yard run and a swing pass from Jose Urbaez to Tim Gamble for 44 yards.

Knotts led the defense for Bamberg (4-1) with 17 tackles and a sack. Christian Peel had 11 stops and Ben West 10 and a fumble recovery for the Barons, who’ll host Sigonella on Saturday in the Division III playoffs.

Ansbach, which will host Rota on Saturday, got eight tackles from Dameon Outley and seven from Mike Eqing.

Sigonella 32, Brussels 30

Quarterback Keenan Jones scrambled for three touchdowns, and fullback Jade Garth, a converted lineman, scored two Friday night as the Jaguars won at home, handing Brussels its first loss of the season.

Jones rushed for 153 yards on 26 carries, and Garth, who broke up the middle for 27- and 68-yard scores, added 130 yards on 13 attempts as the Jags (4-1) nailed down the third seed in Division III-North. They’ll open the playoffs Saturday at Bamberg, No. 2 seed in III-South after Saturday’s loss to Ansbach.

Garth’s 68-yard run, which came in the third quarter, capped the Jaguars’ rally from a 24-20 halftime deficit. The Jaguars’ defense, led by linebackers Kelly Lamb and Danny Vazquez and lineman Josh Malong, made the TD run stand up by stuffing a two-point try by Brussels later in the quarter and shutting the Brigands out in the final quarter.

Brussels (4-1), which got a pair of TD passes from Kevin Nicholson to Devell Landfair and a pair of TD runs from Bryan Isbell, retained the second seed in III-North in a points-differential tiebreaker with the Jags and London Central. The Brigands will host Giessen in Saturday’s first round of the playoffs.

Giessen 44, Vicenza 0

Quarterback Mike Waters threw three touchdown passes and ran for a fourth score Saturday as the Griffins got an early start on the bus ride back to Germany with a third-quarter mercy-rule victory at Vicenza.

Waters hit Tim Battle, Joseph Tims and Blake Seidel with scoring strikes of 6, 5 and 36 yards, respectively, and ran in from 7 yards out for the game-ending TD. Waters also ran for a two-point conversion.

Battle and Andre Cooper each added 3-yard TD runs, and Stephan Stephens recovered a Vicenza fumble in the end zone for a seventh score as Giessen improved to 3-2.

The Griffins travel to Brussels Saturday to open the playoffs. Vicenza ends its season at 0-5.

Rota 28, Menwith Hill 6

Michael Hall ran for four TDs Saturday as the Admirals claimed the fourth and final playoff slot in Division III-North with the home victory.

Rota (2-3) will travel to Ansbach to open the Division III playoffs on Saturday; Menwith Hill finished its season 1-4.

Hall rushed for 128 yards in the victory, much of it behind the blocking of Greg Kidd, and made 13 tackles on defense. Cody Wolfe added 10 stops, and Andrew Swisher had two sacks on Menwith Hill QB Andrew Huntley.

London Central 48, Alconbury 7

Jeremy Tibbetts passed for two touchdowns and ran 17 yards for another Saturday as the Bobcats improved to 4-1 earned top seed in III-North.

Tibbetts passed for scores of 7 yards to Josh Coker and 5 to Jesse Diter during the Bobcats’ 28-point first quarter.

Ben Coleman ran 52 yards for the other score in the quarter and broke a 65-yard TD run in the second quarter. The Bobcats also had a 7-yard scoring pass from Foxy Thomas to Kirk Warrior as they built a 42-0 lead.

Visiting Alconbury (0-5) answered with a 6-yard TD run by Dominik Sherenco — who amassed 104 all-purpose yards — for the Dragons’ first points of the season. The game ended in the third quarter when Nikyle Webb, a freshman, ran in from 4 yards out, exceeding DODDS-Europe’s 40-point mercy rule.

London Central will host Baumholder in Saturday’s playoff opener.

Baumholder 42, Hohenfels 23

At Baumholder, Xavier Dunford ran for three first-half TDs, as the Bucs, European Division III runners-up last season, nailed down a playoff berth by improving to 2-3.

Quarterback Caleb Adams (6-for-9 for 112 yards) threw TD passes to Sarkis Kolb and Daniel McGee, and Charles Lackley ran 36 yards for Baumholder’s final score. Dunford, who rushed 13 times for 103 yards, also completed his only pass of the day, a 13-yarder.

Hohenfels, which finished 1-4, got a pair of TD runs, covering 35 and 2 yards, from Aaron Bartlett. Matt Blancett added a 1-yard TD run and Michael McHugh kicked a 23-yard field goal.

Quarterback Tex McWillie led the Hohenfels ground game with 112 yards on eight carries.

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