Bitburg dominates clock in routing Vicenza
By DAN STOUTAMIRE | STARS AND STRIPES Published: October 22, 2016
BITBURG, Germany — The Bitburg Barons capitalized on turnovers and dominated the clock with their rushing attack Saturday as they shut out Vicenza 40-0 in a DODEA Division II football quarterfinal matchup.
The Barons, 5-1 overall in the regular season, ran the ball 52 times for a total of 302 yards and five touchdowns – all scores coming after the first quarter.
Junior quarterback Eli Canaan punched it in the end zone three times on the ground and threw for another score to Trey Bowles, and junior running back Tyriq Zvijer was the Barons’ leading rusher with 115 yards and two scores on 15 carries. Junior Jimmie Montgomery and sophomore Javian Rouse rounded out the formidable Barons ground game with 109 and 62 yards rushing, respectively.
Rouse was playing DODEA golf this time last year but was talked into trading clubs for pads by his current teammates, something he is happy for.
“The contact is way different, it’s a lot more intense than golf, but I really like football,” he said. “We blocked well today and when we were down, we picked each other up. We also communicated well, when you can talk to each other it makes things a lot easier.”
While the offense controlled the clock for large portions of the game with an efficient ground game, Barons head coach Mike Laue was particularly happy with his defense, which pitched a shutout and forced several key turnovers, including two in the second quarter that saw his team jump out to a 20-0 lead at halftime.
(“It’s good) whenever we can hold a team to zero, especially a one with so many good athletes,” Laue said. “We were able to corral them, they weren’t able to do much and we’re pleased with that.”
Ansbach’s 32-0 victory over SHAPE means the Barons will travel to Bavaria to take on the two-time defending champion Cougars next weekend in a rematch of last year’s playoff game.
“Just like always — especially at this level — you try to decrease the amount of errors,” Laue said of his team’s practice emphasis next week.
“That’s what we work on every week, and look at the other team, try to take some of their wrinkles away. We want to keep playing, to keep ourselves rolling.”
Though disappointed to come away with nothing from their 10-hour trek north, Vicenza’s John Silbaugh said he was happy with his team’s season and attitude overall.
“I feel pretty good, actually. At the end of the day, every Monday we worked hard and conditioned, all of us threw up, we had some good times – this is probably the best year of football I’ve had in my life,” he said. “We were a family, we were so close. There was no fighting going on, nothing. It was amazing.”
Silbaugh said that it was likely a sense of complacency that hurt the Cougars, who ended the regular season 3-2 overall.
“I think the main thing is we were overconfident coming in, we didn’t have that skepticism that we needed,” he said. “I thought we were a little asleep (early) and we lost the first half because of that.”
Arthur McDonald of Vicenza brings down Trey Bowles of Bitburg following Bowles' interception during a DODEA-Europe Division II quarterfinal matchup, Saturday, Oct. 22, 2016 at Bitburg, Germany. In addition to his interception, Bowles was Bitburg's primary receiving threat on offense in its 40-0 win.
DAN STOUTAMIRE/STARS AND STRIPES