DODDS-Europe football: Title-game tripleheader offers impressive stats, intriguing stories
Stars and Stripes November 6, 2009
Saturday’s Super Six high school football championship tripleheader will offer spectators the chance to see a 1,400-yard rusher, a possible unprecedented fourth straight European title and several of DODDS-Europe’s best quarterbacks.
Not bad for a $5 ticket.
The first to take the field will be the 1,410-yard rusher, Devin Pryor of Alconbury, who’ll lead his team in the Division III title game against Menwith Hill at noon. Pryor, who has exploited the wide-open spaces of nine-man football 123 times in six games for a breathtaking 11.46 yards per carry and 12 rushing touchdowns, will have to come up big one last time if his Dragons are to reverse an early-season loss to the Mustangs.
Menwith Hill has a couple of game-breakers of its own — quarterback Scottie Setzer, coming back from an injury in the second game of the season, and running back Chris Jackson. It also has fullback Andrew Breeding, who will loom large if the Mustangs want to keep the ball out of Pryor’s hands.
Rota coach Robert Stovall, whose Admirals fell twice to Menwith Hill and downed Alconbury at home during the regular season, said Monday the title game should create lots of fireworks.
"Both teams have explosive offenses," Stovall said. "I would put my money on big plays to decide this game."
Those plays are likely to come, he said, from guile and speed.
"If Scott is healthy," Stovall said, "expect misdirection (on the run) and crossing patterns. If Menwith Hill plays tight on defense, Pryor will win the footraces."
The second game, the D-II championship between Ansbach and Bitburg at 2:30, should come down to "speed and finesse versus size and power," according to Baumholder coach Carter Hollenbeck, whose Bucs lost to both teams last month.
"Ansbach has speed and uses a finesse offensive system, while Bitburg has the size and uses a power offensive system," he said.
The game will match two of Europe’s top quarterbacks, wishbone operator Matt Less of Bitburg and Dominic Barrale of Ansbach, an all-Europe selection last year.
And if the mano-a-mano aspect of the game isn’t enough to get you headed toward Baumholder, try this: Barrale has never lost a high school football game. His Cougars are taking a DODDS-Europe record 31-game winning streak into the finale in quest of an unprecedented fourth straight European title.
It won’t be easy, Hollenbeck pointed out. Since losing its first two games this season, Bitburg has won five straight.
"Ansbach won the previous matchup, but Bitburg is now rolling. ... I think a lot of it has to do with the ‘wonderful’ weather at Baumholder in early November," Hollenbeck said. "Good weather has to be an advantage for Ansbach, as mud and rain would slow down their speed."
That might well happen. Saturday’s forecast is for afternoon rain with a high of 41 degrees. And if the weather holds down the scoring, another Bitburg weapon, Brandon Massie, might prove decisive. He’s kicked two field goals of more than 40 yards this season.
As fierce a rivalry as there is in DODDS-Europe reignites at 5 p.m., when defending champion Heidelberg takes on unbeaten Ramstein in the D-I showdown. The teams have appeared in the past four D-I title games, with each prevailing twice. Heidelberg won last year’s game, 9-6, with another of this year’s stellar quarterbacks, Jimmy Montfleury tossing the decisive pass.
This year, Montfleury’s counterpart is Ramstein’s spread-formation standout, Michael Wallace.
Vilseck coach Jim Hall, whose Falcons fell twice to Heidelberg and once to Ramstein this season, thinks it’s Ramstein’s turn to win.
"I think this game will be different than last year’s in a couple of ways," he said in an e-mail Tuesday.
"1. Ramstein has the speed this year over Heidelberg. They play a wide-open offense and will be hard to catch if they break a run.
"2. Heidelberg has the passing game over Ramstein. Montfleury is the passer, Wallace is the runner, but this could change if (76 percent-passer Shane) Foley is inserted at QB.
"3. Defensively, Ramstein has better linebackers and defensive backs. They’re harder to get outside on and they put better pressure on the pass.
"4. Special teams [favor] Ramstein, with organized returns and blocking schemes, and speed to burn!
"I believe that Ramstein has the physical advantage, the running game (with 4-5 backs coming at you), and the speed. Heidelberg will make that up with running plays that are designed to give the offensive line an advantage up front. Montfleury has the advantage in the passing game, but if Wallace goes to a receiver and Foley to the quarterback position, Ramstein will be hard to stop."
This year’s Super Six offers something new. AFN-Europe will be televising all three games live on the Pentagon Channel and on its Web site, afneurope.net. Moreover, the last two games will be broadcast on AFN radio — Ansbach-Bitburg on FM 107.3 and 105.1 and Heidelberg-Ramstein on AM 1107 and 1143.
Two-minute drillWhen: SaturdayWhere: Minick Field, Smith Barracks, BaumholderWhat’s at stake: European D-I, II and III championshipsAdmission: Tickets good for all three games are $5 for adults, $3 for studentsRadio-TV-Web: All games to be televised live on the Pentagon Channel beginning at noon and on the Internet at afneurope.net. The Ansbach-Bitburg D-II finale will be aired on AFN-FM 107.3 and 105.1; Heidelberg-Ramstein will be aired on AFN-AM 1107 and 1143Weather forecast: Rain, winds around 6 mph. High 41, low 39
Division IRamstein (6-0) vs. Heidelberg (6-1)Kickoff: 5 p.m.Last meeting: Sept. 19 at Heidelberg — Ramstein 7, Heidelberg 2Ramstein key players: QB Michael Wallace (76 rushes for 927 yds.., 13 TDs, 32-for-53 passing for 587 yds., 8 TDs, 3 INT), RB Will Canfield (69 carries for 587 yds., 7 TDs; 12 recs for 181 yds., 2 TDs) WR Aaron Salcido (24 recs for 441 yds., 6 TDs)Heidelberg key players: RB Thomas Hogue (113 carries for 739 yds., 6.5-yd. average), RB Sterling Jones (52 for 346, 6.7-yd. avg.; 8 rec for 103 yds.), QB Jimmy Montfleury (37-for-71 passing for 581 yds., 7 TDs, 1 INT), WR Aaron Tribble-Knowles (5 recs, 118 yds., 2 TDs)
Division IIBitburg (5-2) vs. Ansbach (7-0)Kickoff: 2:30 p.m.Last meeting: Sept. 19 at Ansbach — Ansbach 44, Bitburg 17Bitburg key players (stats unavailable): QB Matt Less, RB Derek Waters, RB-PK Brandon MassieAnsbach key players: QB Dominic Barrale (39-for-70 for 601 yds., 5 TDs, 4 INTs; 40 rushes for 303 yds., 5 TDs), RB Alex Moya (96 rushes for 923 yds., 15 TDs), RB Carter Gunn (60 rushes for 592 yds., 3 TDs); DL Dan Brooking (10 tackles for losses, 4 sacks)
Division III(Nine-man)Menwith Hill (4-2) vs. Alconbury (2-4)Kickoff: NoonLast meeting: Sept. 26 at Alconbury — Menwith Hill 49, Alconbury 39Key Menwith Hill players: QB Scottie Setzer (95 KO ret for TD); HB Chris Jackson (66 carries, 768 yds., 9 TDs), FB Andrew Breeding (57 rush, 461 yds.), RB Jeremy Smith (32 rush, 325 yds.)Key Alconbury players: RB Devin Pryor (123 rushes for 1,410 yds., 12 TDs; 7 recs for 230 yds., 1 TD; 88-yd punt return TD; 90-yard int ret TD); FB Kerry Kuheana (354 yds. rushing, 9 TDs); QB Jeff Black (341 yds. passing, 1 TD)