Lakenheath ends regular season on a high note
WIESBADEN, Germany -- The Lakenheath Lancers gathered some more momentum for what they hope is a prolonged DODEA-Europe Division I playoff run Saturday, beating the host Wiesbaden Warriors 40-26 for their second straight win and wrapping up the regular season with a 5-1 overall record and 4-1 conference mark.
The Lancers will host the defending champion Stuttgart Panthers on Saturday; the winner advances to face either Ramstein or Kaiserslautern for the European title Nov. 3 at Kaiserslautern.
Though it was locked into the second playoff seed regardless of the outcome, Lakenheath played like it had something to prove Saturday. The Lancers overcame a 20-0 first-quarter deficit to record their second defeat of the Warriors this year, including a non-conference 48-27 decision Sept. 8.
Quarterback Maurice Thomas led the Lakenheath offense with two throwing touchdowns and two rushing scores. Teammate Ion Duenas rushed nine times for 162 yards, while Cam Franklin caught four passes for 117 yards and two touchdowns.
Will Batykefer returned an interception 80 yards for a Lakenheath defensive score.
Josh Blake threw a touchdown pass to Ben Tyler and Mark Peltier, Shawn Patton and Juan Monarjas scored rushing touchdowns for the Warriors.
While Lakenheath plots a playoff run, Wiesbaden will sit out the playoffs for the first time since 2012, and just the second time in the 17-year tenure of head coach Steve Jewell.
“We play the games and unfortunately someone wins and someone loses,” Jewell said Thursday.
Wiesbaden came up on the wrong end of that deal on two key occasions in September, taking a 19-14 loss to Kaiserslautern and a 13-7 defeat to Stuttgart on consecutive weekends. Those teams ended up claiming the division’s final two semifinal berths ahead of the fifth-place Warriors, whose only victory of the season came against winless Vilseck.
“We came up so close,” Jewell said. “If we win either of those we are locked in and fighting for seed position.”