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European edition, Sunday, September 23, 2007

HEIDELBERG, Germany — The scoreboard stopped at 37-0, but the scoring topped out at Heidelberg Lions 49, Marburg Mercenaries 0 on Saturday in the first matchup between the Division I Lions and a German youth team.

“They actually knew the nuances of the game very well,” said Heidelberg linebacker and running back Thonda Taylor, who rushed 11 times for 77 yards and a touchdown. “They hit hard and made their blocks.”

But not enough blocks or hard hits to stop Taylor, a 5-11, 195-pounder.

“They weren’t used to guys like Taylor coming through there,” Heidelberg sponsor Rom Merriwether said of the Mercenaries.

“It’s like when guys go from college to the pros — they have to adjust to the speed on the next level.”

Heidelberg quarterback Chris Frazier, a junior, rushed for 68 yards and three TDs in sparking the Lions to a 37-0 lead at halftime. He gave way to backup Michael Bremer in the second half.

“We were very consistent,” Heidelberg volunteer head coach Sal Katz said. “We played our first team in the first half and our second team in the second half. We have a lot of depth at every position.”

Senior Romonno Washington made the score 43-0 with a seven-yard TD run with 2:51 to play in the third quarter, but his TD was ignored by the scoreboard operator since it put the Lions ahead by more than 39 points and in violation of the school system’s courtesy rule. Throwing away the TD also benefited the Heidelberg cheerleaders, who do one pushup for every point in Heidelberg’s score after each touchdown.

“The DODDS mercy rule requires us to keep the score under 39 points,” the public address announcer told the crowd. “So you cheerleaders get a break. You only owe us 37 pushups.”

Although it didn’t make the scoreboard, Washington’s TD did spark officials to use a running clock for the rest of the game. Chris Cuthbert’s 30-yard interception return set up one final phantom TD, this one on a 37-yard run by senior Quentellas Wynn.

While the scoreboard ignored the final two scores, the fans didn’t. One, walking home, was asked by a passer-by how Heidelberg did. “They beat a German team 49-0,” the fan said.

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