WIESBADEN, Germany – With one a 42-34 victory over Kaiserslautern on Friday night, the Wiesbaden football team accomplished multitudes. The Warriors ensured a festive homecoming celebration and sent an overflowing Warrior crowd streaming into the night satisfied. They salved the sour taste of the their only loss of the season, suffered last week versus Vilseck. They saddled Kaiserslautern with its first loss of the year, knocking a resurgent rival down a peg. Most significantly, the Warriors clinched a winning season and a playoff berth, consummating a remarkable turnaround from last year’s one-win effort. To do so, all they had to do was survive a vastly improved Kaiserslautern team that did anything but cooperate. “We outlasted them,” Warriors coach Steve Jewell said. “We had a lot of guys step up.” They needed every one of them. The Raiders moved the ball with impunity early, scoring on a Tristan Daily run on the opening drive of the game and again on the first play of the second quarter on a sharp slant pass from Dailey to receiver Antwan Haynes. Wiesbaden kept pace on two touchdown runs by Daivon Poole, the latter tying the game at 14 midway through the second quarter. But the first-half fireworks weren’t over. Daily found Kilian Knight for a deep touchdown pass down the sideline with 1:05 to go. Wiesbaden responded to even this painful blow, answering with its own long ball from Reymoi Lewis to Andrew Murray to tie the game at 21 at halftime. The offenses briefly sagged in the second half before Lewis restarted the scoring. His quarterback keeper gave Wiesbaden its first lead at 28-21. Kaiserslautern had a reply at the ready as Daily connected with Haynes for another score. Entering the fourth quarter, the score was tied for the third quarter in a row, this time at 28. Buoyed by its homecoming crowd, Wiesbaden crafted its decisive run. Brayden Lamb hammered a short touchdown in from two yards out, and he intercepted a ball moments later to return possession to the Warriors. They made good on a touchdown pass from Lewis to Alfred Freed, building a seemingly safe 42-28 lead. Still Kaiserslautern resisted. Daily found Haynes one more time with 6:13 to play, and the Raiders were threatening to tie the score late when another Lamb interception finally subdued the Raiders. Even in defeat, the fierce Division I battle placed further distance between Kaiserslautern’s winless last two seasons and the respect and relevance it enjoys now. The Raiders can clinch the playoff berth they were denied Friday with a win next week against last-place Lakenheath. “My guys are here to battle,” Raiders coach Aaron Scalise said. “We’re surprising a lot of people, and we will continue to surprise a lot of people.” While the Warriors have been buttressed by an influx of talent from closed Heidelberg, it’s Patch transfer Lamb that played a central role in this key win. The hard-hitting two-way standout fit in immediately with the Warriors, as he proved in Friday’s fourth-quarter heroics. “I saw the brotherhood of the football team, and I felt like I could be a part of that,” Lamb said. Lewis transferred from Heidelberg in time to absorb last year’s one-win season, but he was confident things would turn around in his senior year. “I’m not surprised,” Lewis said. “We just had to find the right building blocks.” Twitter: @broomestripes

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