Ramstein routs Patch for place in finals
October 25, 2014
RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany — Ramstein’s Royals battered visiting Patch 48-7 Saturday to advance to the DODDS-Europe Division I football final against defending champ Wiesbaden.
The Patch-Ramstein matchup was the same as last year, played on the same field and ended with a similar lopsided score in the Royals’ favor.
Despite those similarities, Ramstein coach Carlos Amponin didn’t see many parallels to last year’s rout.
“Honestly, I don’t think this is nothing like last year. My God. Those guys. I don’t even know where to start.”
Patch cobbled together 213 yards of total offense, 112 of them through the air, more than quadrupling their total output in last year’s semi. After watching Patch practice the day before, Amponin couldn’t help but worry about the Panthers’ quick offense.
But the Royals’ speedy defense proved more than a match for the visitors, whose game plan was ripped to strips by turnovers and poor tackling.
Ramstein’s Ben Ciero scored on the Royals’ opening possession, which started near midfield after a muffed kickoff. Patch responded with a first-play fumble, which Ramstein recovered 23 yards short of the goal line. A little over five minutes into the first quarter, Ciero ran for his second score to put the home team up 13-0.
Starting deep in their own territory on their next possession, Patch was able to make some room and was awarded a penalty to give them a first down. But just shy of their own 25, Patch lost a second fumble to the swarming Royals.
Ramstein again capitalized on the short field when junior quarterback Tyler Dotson looped to his right and bolted 16 yards into the end zone without a single Patch player laying a hand on him. The point after attempt was good, putting the Royals up 20-0 with more than three minutes left in the first quarter. Down three touchdowns, the Panthers’ nerves seemed to settle on their next possession. Stsrting from their own 34, they advanced to the Royals’ 35 before turning the ball over on downs.
Dotson hit Antonio Ortiz to put Ramstein back in the red zone midway through the second quarter. A few plays later, Ortiz fooled Patch on a misdirection, blasting 25 yards down the right sideline for another touchdown.
Down 27-0, Patch found its first real glimmer of hope. Panther quarterback Holten Sparling targeted fellow sophomore Sean Loeben with a deep ball that fell short of its mark. It looked to be an easy pick, but a Ramstein defender instead tipped it back to Loeben, who ran it in for Patch’s sole score of the day.
Rejuvenated by the touchdown, Patch held Ramstein on its next possession. The stop was soon squandered when Ortiz picked off Sparling with a minute left in the half.
After Patch punted on its first possession of the second half, Ramstein responded with a long strike to Gabriel Moreno, who found himself wide open in the end zone to widen the Royals’ margin to 27.
With less than a minute left in the third quarter, Ramstein’s Kyle Glenn picked off Sparling again. The point-after brought the score to a daunting 41-7.
Glenn got another pick in the fourth quarter, leading to Ramstein’s final scoring drive. Ortiz poked it in again, ending his day with two touchdowns, 127 yards rushing, 31 yards receiving, an interception and two fumble recoveries to pace the Royals.
“They made the plays when they needed to and we didn’t,” Patch coach Bill Ratcliff said. “We turned the ball over. You can’t do that against good teams. That’s why they’re in the championships and we’re not.”
“Every play we’re flying to the ball,” Ortiz said. “Instead of having three seconds, they have one and a half, and they’ve got to make that quicker decision and rush into errors, and I think our defense is great at capitalizing on those errors.”
Still, Amponin was surprised by the lopsided score, which was in large part a result of his team’s four interceptions and the pair of fumble recoveries.
“I don’t want to take anything away from my guys,” Amponin said. “I don’t want to say I’m surprised that we’re here. But I’m surprised at the way it’s worked out.”
He doesn’t expect the same kind of game against Wiesbaden, which has only had one close game this season – an overtime victory over Ramstein. The Royals could regain the crown they lost last year if they can “play keep-away from that [Wiesbaden] offense.”
“They’re coming in undefeated, and yeah, I’d like to be able to turn the tables on them. Because that was us last year.”