European H.S. football championships: Ramstein finds footing, claims Division I crown
Stars and Stripes November 8, 2009
BAUMHOLDER, Germany — Saturday’s night’s Division I championship won 35-21 by Ramstein over defending champion Heidelberg should have had one of those skidding-car road warning signs along the sidelines. Steady rain throughout contributed to 10 fumbles and plenty of skids.
“It’s tough to play on a field like that,” said Ramstein defensive back Aaron Salcido, who intercepted two passes off Heidelberg quarterback Jimmy Montfleury, returning one 75 yards for the touchdown that put Ramstein ahead to stay at 14-8 near the end of the first quarter. “You have to be really be conscious of your moves.”
Salcido was sure-footed enough to run back toward Montfleury on the play when he saw the pass was short. “I was running along with the receiver,” Saucido said, “and came back when I saw the ball was underthrown.”
Salcido then ran down the left sideline and cut back against the grain to paydirt.
Montfleury underthrew four passes that were hauled in by the Ramstein secondary.
“It was tough to throw a wet ball,” Montfleury said. “Plus, I was under pressure all night. (Defensive MVP James) Muncy just kept coming.”
Ramstein took a 7-0 lead with 2:33 to play in the first quarter on Will Canfield’s 1-yard plunge, but Heidelberg then mounted its only sustained drive of the game, covering 65-yards in steady rain in eight plays. Montfleury plunged over from the one to cap the drive, and Thomas Hogue ran in the two-point conversion when a Ramstein offside put the ball on the one for the extra-point try.
Thereafter, however, Heidelberg took itself out of the game. In their four possessions in the second quarter, the Lions turned the ball over three times and went three-and-out on the fourth.
Heidelberg’s only possession in the third ended in a turnover, and the Lions’ fourth-quarter possessions ended in two turnovers and a punt netting 10 yards.
Even so, the Lions managed to wrest two touchdowns from the carnage. Napolian Myhand, who was credited with 14 tackles and two fumble recoveries, picked up a third-quarter fumble and returned it 48 yards for a TD. And with time running out in the fourth quarter, Devon Jackson ran 80 yards with another Ramstein fumble off a bad snap in the shotgun formation.
“When we put this offense in,” said Ramstein coach Carlos Amponin, “I knew our Achilles heel would be the weather. (With the spread formation) We put the ball in the air on every play.”
Lloyd Nathan scored on a plunge, and offensive MVP Michael Wallace ran 30 yards for a Ramstein TD. Cody Stone booted five extra points for the Royals.
When he wasn’t chasing down snaps over his head, quarterback Wallace netted 115 yards on 21 carries.
“This season was dedicated to my dad,” said Wallace, whose father Michael is downrange, “and all the other deployed parents.”