Saturday’s European Division I championship football game became a rematch of last year’s contest when the defending European champion Heidelberg Lions and the Division I conference champion Ramstein Royals won their semifinal games Saturday.

Heidelberg downed Patch 14-0 at home to reach Saturday’s 7 p.m. final, while Ramstein remained unbeaten with a hard-fought 26-10 decision at home against Wiesbaden.

Ramstein 26, Wiesbaden 10“It was a great game, and much closer than the score would lead you to believe,” Ramstein coach Carlos Amponin wrote in an e-mail to Stars and Stripes.

Wiesbaden (1-6) actually led 7-0 at halftime on the strength of a 31-yard TD run by Julian James, who gained 102 yards on 20 carries. Warriors defensive lineman Mike Perry preserved the edge when he intercepted a Ramstein screen pass as the Royals were driving near the end of the half.

Two third-quarter fumbles, however, led to all the points the Ramstein defense would need. Jake Garcia forced a bobble and the Royals recovered on the Wiesbaden 10. Three plays later, Tim Ortiz crashed over from two yards out.

On the ensuing kickoff, Ramstein’s coverage team downed the Warriors inside their 5. The Warriors moved the ball to their 35, but Ste’phan James scooped up another fumble and returned it for the go-ahead score. It was the sixth defensive TD in seven games this season for Ramstein.

Ramstein (7-0) added a 44-yard TD run by fullback Joel Smith, who rushed for 70 yards, later in the period and closed out its scoring in the final frame when A.J. Hawkins, who had 78 yards rushing, scored from 13 yards out.

Quarterback Joel York complete nine of 20 passes for 172 yards. Four of the completions, for 68 yards, went to James.

John Christiansen led the Warriors’ defense with 12 tackles.

Heidelberg 14, Patch 0Shon Fisher and Cody Mallette each made 5-yard TD runs in the second quarter to lift the Lions (5-2) to their second victory over Patch in as many weeks.

Fisher helped preserve the lead with two interceptions; Sean McIntyre added 15 tackles and a sack to the defensive charge.

Patch (4-3) got 112 yards on 15 carries from Daniel Kennedy and 50 yards in 11 rushes by Sean Thomas. Nick Quinn was credited with 12 tackles for Patch, which got 11 each from Matt Gorry and Sebastian Casciarie.

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