Warriors hold off Lancers for shot at title
October 31, 2015
WIESBADEN, Germany – The Wiesbaden Warriors erupted for two touchdowns in the game’s first 10 plays Saturday en route to a 27-16 victory over Lakenheath in the DODDs-Europe Division I semifinals.
On the Warriors third offensive play, tailback Keyshaun Green took a pitch from quarterback Eric Arnold and raced down the left sideline for a 42-yard touchdown. The point after made it 7-0 three minutes into the game.
Wiesbaden made it 14-0 just three plays later when a Lakenheath ball carrier couldn't handle a pitch from the quarterback on second down. Warriors’ defensive tackle Daniel Williams picked the ball off the runner's shoulder pads and rambled 42 yards to the end zone.
It was the Warriors’ first defensive touchdown this year, coach Steve Jewell said after the game.
“Those kind of touchdowns are breaks.” Jewell said. “That was huge.” And it seemed the rout was on.
The Warriors took a 21-0 lead into the locker room when Arnold avoided the Lancers' pressure and found Liam Steininger in the end zone for a 26-yard score.
“That was all my quarterback,” Jewell said. “I thought he was just going to run, but our receiver slid in and made a great catch on a nice throw.”
Lakenheath caught a break to start the second half, when the Wiesbaden returner – thinking he was in the end zone – mistakenly knelt at the 3-yard line on the kickoff. The Lancers swarmed a Warrior running back in the end zone on the next play for a safety, making the score 21-2.
But Wiesbaden answered with a nine-play, 84-yard drive in the middle of the third quarter. Arnold hit Green on a little dump-off pass, and the senior tailback raced through defenders 22 yards for the score.
Heading to the fourth, it was 27-2 in favor of the home team.
The Lancers did try to make a game of it by scoring twice in the final quarter. With 8 1/2 minutes to play, tailback Marcus Smith scored on a 2-yard plunge.
The two-point conversion was good, cutting the Wiesbaden lead to 27-10.
After recovering a beautifully executed onside kick, Lakenheath drove 48 yards in 11 plays, with backup quarterback Riley Palmer scoring on a keeper from 3 yards out.
The Lancers were without their first-string quarterback due to injury, coach Josh Kueter said.
But Palmer did “a really good job coming in,” Kueter said. “We were really impressed.”
By the end of the game, Jewell said he was just trying to hold on.
“The second half was kind of sloppy and ugly. At that point, we had such a lead … I thought let’s be smart and play a little conservative, and it almost cost us.” he said. “It went from a game where I thought we were going to run them out of the building to a game where, in the end, I just wanted us to hold on to the ball.”
For the game, Green rushed for 115 yards, while Arnold added 102 on the ground. Arnold also threw for 59 yards and the two scores.
“I was real happy with our effort,” Jewell said. “We got a lot of heart.”