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STUTTGART, Germany -- The Lakenheath Lancers continued their DODEA-Europe football surge Saturday, dispatching defending Division I champion Stuttgart 27-17 on the Panthers’ home field.

Marcus Smith carried a formidable load for Lakenheath, logging 33 rushes for 148 yards and a touchdown. But Smith had plenty of aerial support. Wide receiver Asher Cedillo hauled in four passes, including three touchdowns, for 82 yards; two of the touchdown throws came from Kenji Bernardo and the other arrived from Tyler England.

Stuttgart countered with its own accomplished passing game. Tim Rayburn threw for 234 yards and a touchdown, while receiver Sean Loeben hauled in six balls for 164 yards and a touchdown.

Stuttgart’s Trey Hernandez and Alex Ploechinger tied for game-high honors with 13 tackles; Chris Cruz had six tackles for the Lancers.

The win was yet another mile marker on the Lancers’ ongoing path to Division I viability. The long-suffering program ended a decade-long playoff drought with a semifinal berth last fall, avenged a loss in that semifinal with a win over Wiesbaden last week and now has a head start on a return postseason trip at the expense of the defending champs.


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