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VILSECK, Germany -- A pair of game-changing special teams plays produced a special result for the Vilseck Falcons on Saturday.

Vilseck set up a touchdown on a fumble recovery in the first half and Zavier Scott returned a punt 45 yards for the winning score in the fourth quarter to give the host Falcons a 14-6 win over the defending DODEA-Europe Division I football champion Stuttgart Panthers.

A persistent rainstorm produced a sloppy game on both sides as the teams combined for 16 fumbles, and strong defensive efforts on both sides further suppressed the scoring. But the teams managed just enough moments for a competitive season opener.

Stuttgart struck first on a first-quarter touchdown run by Isaiah Phillips. But the Panthers offered their hosts an opportunity by mishandling a second-quarter punt near their own goal line, and Derek Davis cashed it in as the Falcons claimed a 7-6 halftime lead.

The second half was rendered largely uneventful by the weather, but Scott’s late punt return sealed the Falcon victory.

Vilseck’s Dylan Burns led all players with 111/2 tackles, while Alex Ploechinger led Stuttgart with 11.

The win marks the second time in as many years that Vilseck has turned in an encouraging performance in its non-conference season opener. The 2015 Falcons played defending champion Ramstein to a 7-7 tie to start last season.

Next weekend’s games are the first to count towards Division I playoff seeding. Vilseck hosts Ramstein, while Stuttgart welcomes Lakenheath.


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