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(Stars and Stripes)

STUTTGART, Germany – The defending European Division I champions couldn’t have asked for a much better start to their campaign to retain the crown.

Stuttgart scored twice in the first three minutes of the game Saturday on its way to a 48-6 mercy-rule victory over Kaiserslautern. Play continued in the second half with a running clock, but scores after a 39-point advantage is achieved aren’t considered official under DODEA-Europe guidelines.

Senior Trenton Jackson scooped up a mishandled snap on the Raiders’ second offensive play and ran into the end zone. Kaiserslautern got the ball back but was forced to punt and Josh Zipperer returned it for another Stuttgart touchdown.

After Stuttgart held Kaiserslautern again, two Jackson runs set up a Caiden Ray-to-Noah Farey touchdown pass.

A successful fake punt kept the Raider offense on the field longer this time and a sack of Ray put the Panthers in a hole. But Jace Holmes then burst through the right side for a 50-yard run. Zipperer scored a few minutes later on an option play and the score was 35-0.

Kaiserslautern put points on the board on its next possession, when Jayden Dayao connected with Brelan Barnes on an 80-yard pass play with about five minutes left in the half. But Holmes smothered any momentum the Raiders might have had by returning the kickoff to the end zone. Marcel Mailey ended the first-half scoring with a 53-yard run through the right side.

Levi Katzenberger was credited with three sacks for the Panthers on defense and Mailey had five tackles.

The game was the first American Conference contest played under a new alignment for D-I schools created before the season began. The Panthers, Raiders and Vilseck will play each other twice during the regular season along with three nonconference matchups against National Conference teams (Lakenheath, Ramstein, Wiesbaden).

Division III

Brussels 44, Alconbury 0: Friday at Brussels, the Brigands opened six-man football competition with a decisive victory over the Dragons.

Sawyer Ter Horst, William Pierce and Demarkus Charles each scored multiple times for Brussels. Charles returned a kickoff for a score and Ter Horst did the same with a punt. Isaiah Rivera threw for one touchdown and ran back an interception for another. Matej Marinkovic kicked or threw for five two-point conversions.

Jabirel Wells starred on defense for the Brigands with two sacks and four tackles for losses. Ter Horst had six tackles and Pierce five.

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