Super Six III features stellar matchups of European grid reams
Five dollars will buy you a lot less gas than it did when the Super Six high school football championship triple-header debuted in Baumholder in 2003, but that same $5 — $3 for students — still covers the admission price for all three title games.
And given the quality of this year’s matchups, Saturday’s Super Six III will be worth whatever the gas costs to get there.
The action begins at 1 p.m. with history on the line. Three-time defending Division III champion Ansbach will try for an unprecedented four-peat. Standing in the way is unbeaten Hohenfels, the team that rallied to snap Ansbach’s DODDS-Europe record 28-game winning streak three weeks ago. The Tigers are itching to end another Ansbach streak.
The second course, served at 4 p.m., is for the Division II crown. It matches fast-rising Bitburg, which pulled out a miracle quarterfinal victory at Naples and then beat SHAPE on the road last weekend, against unbeaten Hanau, perhaps the most talented team of the six.
The day ends with the Division I showdown pitting the league’s biggest rivals at 7 p.m. Unbeaten Ramstein, the sons of the airmen and women of the USAFE headquarters, will face off against Heidelberg, the sons of the USAREUR headquarters families.
Here’s a look at each game with analysis provided by a coach who played both teams this season.
Division III“Hohenfels has the experience, 20-plus kids are juniors and seniors,” said Jim Davis of Bamberg. “They have size, speed and talent. It showed when they came back” from 12 points down in final quarter in the first game against Ansbach. “Ansbach had momentum and the lead, but Hohenfels rallied.
Ansbach coach Marcus George “has had to rebuild and reload at the same time.”
Davis said Hohenfels running back Stephen Washington — “he’s so fast” — and Ansbach quarterback John Willis-Morris — “he’s so athletic” — are both playmakers, but he gives Ansbach the edge in that area.
He also said both teams have stingy defenses and are confident after semifinal blowouts.
“It doesn’t get any better than this — two great teams, two great coaches.”
Division II“Given the way they won at Naples (24-22 on a last-play field goal) and turning a 28-8 loss at SHAPE on Oct. 1 into a 31-24 win there on Oct. 29, Bitburg must see themselves as the team of destiny,” Vilseck coach Tim Connolly said.
“The game in Naples emboldened them. They took control of the game on SHAPE’s field.”
Connolly said he considers Hanau running back Malcolm Lane the premier player in Europe. “He’s more than just fast. We came up to stop him on a run and he threw a 65-yard touchdown pass,” Connolly said.
He also said that Hanau had three of the five fastest players at the Europe-wide summer camp, a feat evident in its defense, where speed is even more important. As a result, Hanau has been able to shut down teams.
“To beat Hanau, Bitburg must gain control of the ball, march down the field and see how [Hanau] deals with being behind,” he said. “Bitburg has to keep Hanau’s offense off the field. If that means going for it on fourth down, then that’s what they have to do.
“Hanau is a wonderful team. They have a good fullback and a good quarterback, too. All the pieces are there.”
Division I“The teams are more similar than different. Both are well-coached, disciplined teams that stay within their game plans,” Wiesbaden coach Steve Jewell said. “They have the top two defenses and top two lines in our league.”
Jewell said both teams have “mammoth” lines. He said Ramstein, behind Michael Schafer, Daniel Haven, Eric Oyan, Michael Kelly and Marcus Cherry, rams the ball down the throat of the opposition. He said Joel Smith forces defenses to respect the fullback dive, which opens the outside for shifty running back Cyril Borden.
Heidelberg, behind Brandon Simmons, Blair Wagner, Greg Waagenaar and Jordan Fackler, focuses on getting the ball to Lewis Allen. But, Jewell said, the Lions also have a good wingback in Andrew Spellman and short passes to him on the outside present real problems.
“Both defenses are tough. Ramstein scored its touchdown against Heidelberg on an interception,” Jewell said. “It should be a low-scoring game. It’ll be interesting to see who pulls it out.”
Super Six matchups and statsDivision III
Ansbach (6-1) vs. Hohenfels (7-0)
Head-to-head: Hohenfels 25, Ansbach 24, Oct. 15 at Hohenfels.
Key stats, Hohenfels: RB Stephen Washington 68 rushes, 788 yards (11.5 avg.) 10 TDs; QB Jason Parks 24-for-34 for 564 yards, 9 TDs, 1 interception. Team averaging 300-plus yards per game behind line of Wes Arnold, Tyler Arnett, Jeremy Crook, Eric Vandal and Alex LeMasters, according to coach Shawn Rodman. Defense has allowed fewer than 10 points per game.
Key stats, Ansbach: QB John Willis-Morris is 61-for-103 for 786 yds, 10 TDs, 3 INTs and 37 rushes for 231 yards, 9 TDs; RB Xavier Sheppard, 647 yards, 9 TDs; RB Charles Melton 502 yards, 7 TDs; WR Zach Harmon, 21 catches, 479 yds, 5 TDs. Cougars average 39 points per game, while yielding fewer than 11.
Bitburg (5-2) vs. Hanau (7-0)
Head-to-head: None in 2005.
Key stats, Bitburg: RB Corey Legister, 118 rushes, 725 yds, 8 TDs; RB Simon Shaw, 69 rushes, 541 yards, 3 TDs; QB Al’quel Hodges, 58 rushes, 287 yards, 8 TDs. Team rallied from 1-2 in September behind improving line led by Randall Pellitier and Nick Brown, according to coach Mike Laue. Defensively, Hodges and Josh Collett each have 3 interceptions.
Key stats, Hanau: RB Malcolm Lane, 12 yards per carry; WR T.J. Shulson 13 receptions, 5 TDs; DB Ronderio Perry, 5 INT. Average margin of victory is 25.6 points.
Heidelberg (5-2) vs. Ramstein (7-0)
Head-to-head: Ramstein 10, Heidelberg 7, Sept. 24 at Ramstein
Key stats, Heidelberg: RB Lewis Allen 112 rushes 893 yds, 11 TDs; WB Andrew Spellman, 32 rushes 316 yards, 2 TDs; QB Matt Howard, 42 rushes 142 yards.
Key stats, Ramstein: RB Cyril Borden 98 carries, 790 yds, 9 TDs; RB Greg Anderson, 73 carries 435 yds, 4 TDs; FB Joel Smith, 61 carries, 359 yds, 3 TDs.