One day soon, the classic DODDS-Europe rivalry between Kaiserslautern and Ramstein might sway in the Raiders’ favor.

It’s unlikely, however, that Saturday will be that day.

The archrival Raiders and Royals match up in three different sports this weekend, all of them on Ramstein turf. But that’s not the only reason the Royals have the edge.

Start on the gridiron, where Kaiserslautern appeared to be closing the gap with Ramstein. The Raider arrow pointed upwards, with a long-awaited playoff berth boosting spirits and a fresh core of impact players coming online. The Royals were supposedly descending a peg after a title-game loss to Wiesbaden ruined a dominant season and a cruel summer skimmed their talent base.

Then reality intervened, and the status quo reasserted itself. Kaiserslautern saw its position as up-and-coming fringe contender usurped immediately when Patch handed the Raiders a 41-20 opening-night defeat. That was chased a week later with a crushing 40-3 drubbing at the hands of defending champ Wiesbaden.

Meanwhile Ramstein is not just 2-0, it’s the most emphatic 2-0 possible.

The Royals started the season by obliterating Patch’s momentum with a 45-0 shutout win; a week later, they hung 54 unanswered points on overwhelmed Lakenheath.

A volleyball upset looks equally unlikely for the Raiders.

Ramstein has been far from perfect in defending its European championship, losing to Patch twice and struggling to put away Black Forest Academy, Lakenheath and Bitburg.

It’s not that the Royals aren’t vulnerable to an upset; it’s just that the Raiders probably aren’t quite ready to pull one off. The young team is still finding its way and has won just one set in its 0-4 start.

The Raiders’ third chance to land a blow against Ramstein will come on the cross country course, but the numbers caution against that as well.

Royal contenders John Casey and Aaron Schlosser have posted times placing them in the DODDS-Europe boys top 10 this season; Madison Morse and Katelyn Schultz have done the same on the girls side. No Raider runners have joined them on that list of the elite.

For now, Kaiserslautern is overmatched in the DODDS-Europe game of thrones. And winter can’t come soon enough.

Twitter: @broomestripes

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