European H.S. football championships: Bitburg stops Ansbach’s bid for fourth straight Division II title
Stars and Stripes November 8, 2009
BAUMHOLDER, Germany — Using a hard-nosed running game, Bitburg toppled previously undefeated Ansbach, giving the Barons a 19-6 victory Saturday in the DODDS-Europe Division II football championship game.
Bitburg’s victory kept Ansbach from an unprecedented fourth straight European title and ended its record 31-game winning streak. The Barons were led by senior Derek Waters, who rushed for 135 yards, and a stifling defense that shut down Ansbach’s normally high-powered offense.
“That’s exactly what we wanted to do,” Bitburg coach Mike Laue said. “We have strong, athletic kids.”
The Barons struck early, marching the ball down the field on their first possession. Senior quarterback Matt Less connected with senior wide receiver Cameron Jackson on a short pass to give the Barons a 7-0 lead.
The score stayed that way for the rest of the half, as the Bitburg defense stopped Ansbach twice inside the 20. Ansbach had trouble moving the ball against Bitburg’s massive defensive line, and also had a costly penalty that nullified a long TD run in the first half.
In the third quarter, Ansbach took advantage of a Bitburg fumble, and Cougars quarterback Dominic Barrale finished the ensuing drive with a touchdown pass to senior tight end Carter Gunn.
The Cougars missed the two-point conversion, leaving Bitburg up 7-6.
On the ensuing possession, Waters led the Barons back down the field. Running out of the wishbone formation, Bitburg’s big running backs continually ran the ball up the gut behind their blockers, who pushed around the smaller Ansbach offensive line. Waters ended the drive with a TD run for a 13-6 lead.
The fourth quarter was more of the same with the Barons moving the ball on the ground and scoring on a short TD run by Waters, while Ansbach, which had scored more than 40 points in each game this season except for opener against Bitburg, was unable to get into a rhythm. Barrale, who had never lost a high school football game, finished with 106 yards passing and the one TD.
“On defense, we knew we needed to shut down their run,” coach Laue said, “and we worked real hard to be able to do that.”
Meanwhile, as a group the Bitburg running backs rushed for almost 300 yards, often in five- and six-yard bursts. When the final whistle sounded, the Barons huddled together, with jerseys muddied, and pointed their fingers to the sky, indicating that they were, indeed, number one.
“All the hard work, every day in the gym, led up to this,” said Waters. “We’re the best and we’re proud of it.”
Laue cared less about ending Ansbach’s win streak than celebrating his team’s victory. “Our goal was to win the championship and we did it,” he said. “It feels great.”
But senior linebacker Kirk Miller made it clear stopping Ansbach’s streak meant a lot.
“They’re 31 and 1 now,” he said.