SHAPE slows, but doesn't stop Hohenfels
October 18, 2014
HOHENFELS, Germany - The Hohenfels Tigers advanced to the DODDS Europe Division II semifinals after defeating the SHAPE Spartans, 33-20, during Saturday’s quarterfinal.
Before the game, Spartan coach Jay Bodine said he had one major game plan: stop David Vidovic.
It’s a plan that every team in Division II has tried to perfect over the past couple of years, usually to little avail. For two and a half quarters, though, it looked like the Spartans were going to be one of the first to keep the star running back in check.
The Spartans defense held Vidovic to “just” 72 yards in the first 29 minutes of play. Then, after the Tigers were backed up to their own 2-yard line, Vidovic showed why he was selected the Stars and Stripes football Athlete of the Year last season.
Vidovic blasted down the left side nearly untouched for a 98-yard touchdown run that put the Tigers up 19-6. Then, on the very next series, and aided by a massive block from A.J. Day, he trucked 80 yards for another score. He finished the day with 237 yards and the pair of touchdowns.
“We haven’t played them at all,” Vidovic said. “So we had to pull some tricks out of the book and it all worked out.”
Some of those tricks involved exploiting a defense focused a bit too heavily on stopping the run. Early in the game the Tigers were getting eaten up by the Spartans stifling run defense, so they had to resort to their plan B.
Plan B, as in Briscoe, Trey.
Briscoe nabbed two spectacular TD passes in the first half, softening up the defensive looks and keeping the secondary from cheating up quite so much. Quarterback Clayton Pinheiro and Briscoe still connected on one more touchdown toss before the end of the game.
“It was a pretty good day today, I’m not going to lie,” Pinheiro said. “We all played good as a team and Trey really stepped up today and played a great game.”
Gabriel Penn lead the way on defense, racking up three sacks, including one that ended a dangerous Spartan drive in the fourth quarter. Vidovic also put together an impressive defensive resume, racking up six tackles of his own.
The Spartans’ season is now over, but they can head into the offseason with heads held high. Even after giving up the two massive TD runs that put them behind 26-6, the Spartans fought back to within a score of victory in the fourth quarter.
Pablo Pereira caught a touchdown pass and speedy Reginald Kirklen scorched the Tigers on an end around for what would be SHAPE’s final score.
Early on, Bodine’s on-the-fly adjustments kept the Spartans right in the thick of things.
“I’m real proud of my guys,” Bodine said. “They fought hard. We were in it, but when you give up two big plays like that, it’s hard to come back from that.”
The Tigers now look ahead to next week’s matchup against Naples, which beat Rota 34-18 in their quarterfinal game on Saturday. Coach Larry Daffin said his Tigers will be ready.
“We played them before and they gave us a pretty good game,” he said. “I know they feel without a doubt they can beat us, so that should be motivation enough for us.”