Lancers emerge triumphant from muddy trench battle with Vilseck

Lakenheath running back Marcus Smith rushes against Vilseck during a varsity football game at RAF Lakenheath, England, Saturday, Oct. 1, 2016. Smith rushed for 200 yards and one touchdown in the game.


By WILLIAM HOWARD | STARS AND STRIPES Published: October 1, 2016

RAF LAKENHEATH, England ― The Vilseck Falcons brought two buses full of players across the English Channel to take on the undefeated Lakenheath Lancers.

But only 11 can take the field at one time. And the Lancers, despite being vastly outnumbered on the sidelines, came out on top on the scoreboard when it was all over.

Hunter Landsberger’s 2-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter broke a 7-7 tie and Lakenheath improved to 2-0 in DODEA-Europe Division I play and 3-0 overall with a 14-7 victory Saturday.

Lakenheath star running back Marcus Smith had his usual stellar game, with 200 yards rushing. He was almost offset by Vilseck’s Cameron Downs, who compiled 142 yards on 24 carries.

Rain began to pour down as soon as players took the field.
An early touchdown by Smith in the first quarter didn’t stand up very long as Vilseck immediately responded to with a 92-yard kickoff return by Xavier Scott to tie the game.

The game became a battle at the line of scrimmage for both teams, who shared turnovers in the sloppy weather conditions.

Strong defenses also helped keep the scoring down, with players such as Lakenheath’s Christopher Cruz (eight tackles and one quarterback sack) and Vilseck’s Dillon Burns (121/2 tackles, Roman Rosas (121/2 tackles) and Derek Davis (111/2 tackles) repeatedly stopping drives.

But the Lancers had just enough for a final drive to win it.

“The boys always find some kind of way to get momentum back on their side and just at the right point change the game,” offensive coordinator Brian Rutlege said. “The boys always come through at the right time.”

Lakenheath might have lost a few players to injuries as well, just a week ahead of playing perennial power Ramstein.

“We are not a deep team so we’ll scrap something together, go down to Ramstein and give them a football game” Rutlege said. “These wins are expensive and they take their tolls.”


Lakenheath football player Tyler England runs a bootleg against Vilseck during a game at RAF Lakenheath, England, Saturday, Oct. 1, 2016. After their win against Vilseck the Lancers are undefeated in the conference.

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