Stuttgart three-peats after holding off Vilseck
Stars and Stripes October 28, 2023
STUTTGART, Germany — At some point, if the Vilseck football team continues to advance to the DODEA-Europe Division I championship game, it will manage to defeat Stuttgart.
But that time was not Saturday night.
The Panthers won their third straight title – all of them against the Falcons – 24-22, capping a season where both teams struggled out of the gate but came on strong when it mattered.
Vilseck turned the ball over six times Saturday and lost starting quarterback Aron Atakuzi midway through the second quarter after a hard hit. But the Falcons were still in it at the end.
After Garrett Hyten ran in his second score of the night late in the fourth quarter to bring the score close, Stuttgart recovered the onside kick and the game was over.
“All we need in this game was just two more minutes on the clock and I think we might have got it done,” Vilseck coach Eric Meade said. “I’m proud of our guys, we fought back against a tough opponent.”
After holding the Falcons to a quick three-and-out on their first possession, the Panthers attempted a fake punt on fourth down that came up well short of the first down.
But Vilseck’s bad luck began as Stuttgart got the ball back immediately on a mishandled snap. The Panthers wasted no time capitalizing on the opportunity as senior Jace Holmes ran the ball in on the ensuing play for the game’s first score.
The Stuttgart offense headed by junior QB Ty Jones made things difficult for the Falcons as they punched in another touchdown and field goal before the end of the first half to lead 18-7.
“This team has been very coachable,” Stuttgart coach Antoine Reed said when asked what makes the team special. “They do everything I need and have continued to battle all year.”
Penalty flags flew frequently. The most notable slough of yellow flags came after a small scrum started between players at the line of scrimmage early in the second half.
The Panthers seemed to be sitting quite comfortable on their lead as they put up another touchdown on a pick-six by sophomore Maurice Korie as Stuttgart led 22-7.
Then the Falcons started making the Panthers somewhat uncomfortable.
Senior running backs Gabe Mallard and Hyten traded rushes on a long drive until Hyten eventually punched in a touchdown.
After a few changes of possession, Vilseck backup quarterback Paker Wayland helmed the team’s best drive through the air.
The sophomore completed four of five passes for just over 40 yards to put the team at the 1-yard line before Hyten was able to punch in his second TD of the night. That set up the unsuccessful onside kick.