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D-I football semifinal

Stuttgart a game away from perfect season

By STARS AND STRIPES Published: October 28, 2017

STUTTGART -- The Stuttgart Panthers played like DODEA-Europe’s undefeated No. 1 seed on Saturday, dispatching the visiting Lakenheath Lancers 41-12 in a lopsided Division I football semifinal.

The Panthers will face the Ramstein Royals for the Division I European title Nov. 4 at Kaiserslautern High School.

A heavy favorite entering the game, Stuttgart tilted the odds further in its favor with a dominant shutout effort in the first half. The Lancers managed two second-half scores after the outcome was all but assured.

Quarterback Chris Magalona powered the Panthers offense, completing nine passes for 189 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions and also rushing for a score. Sabriel Ashley caught an 82-yard ball for one of those scores; Gabe Simpson and Jackson Zimmerman also handled touchdown passes.

Devon Burton totaled 83 rushing yards, Trey Hernandez ran for a touchdown and William Russell made all five of his extra point attempts to provide ample offensive support.

The Panthers were equally overwhelming on defense. Alex Ploechinger made a game-high 15 tackles, Clayton Sheffield scored a touchdown on a fumble recovery and Lisle Babcock and Will Green snagged interceptions to lead the way. Collectively, Stuttgart limited the Lancers’ vaunted rushing attack to 99 yards.

Mike Nighbert completed a pair of touchdown passes to Manny Cordero to provide Lakenheath’s points, while Peyton Wilson paced the Lancers with eight tackles.

The Lancers see their season end a week after they secured the division's final semifinal berth with a 14-7 defeat of Kaiserslautern.

Stuttgart will attempt to wrap up a perfect season next weekend against Ramstein. The Panthers beat the Royals 22-9 in their Sept. 15 regular-season meeting.

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