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The DODDS-Europe football season comes to a fitting conclusion Saturday with six of the consistently best programs vying for titles at Baumholder’s Minick Field.

“The playoffs are a different animal,” Heidelberg coach Brad Shahan wrote in an e-mail Monday. “If you only prepare for them as you do for a regular-season game, it will be a long day.”

Whether the teams prepare properly or not, it will be a delightfully long day. In a spectator’s overdose worthy of New Year’s Day, the Super Six tripleheader pits five conference champions, four of them unbeaten.

Division IINaples Wildcats (7-0) vs. Bitburg Barons (6-1), 1 p.m.

Bitburg is chasing a D-II-record fifth European crown, and has played in two of the past three title games. While Naples has yet to win a European title, the Wildcats are 21-5 since their last appearance in the final in 2002 — with one of those defeats a 24-22 playoff loss to Bitburg in 2005 on a field goal with no time left.

That this year’s contest is virtually a home game for Bitburg, the Division II-North champ, hasn’t escaped Naples coach Jim Hall, the man responsible for building the Wildcats into a perennial contender.

“Bitburg will have a considerable advantage,” he wrote Monday in an e-mail. “This championship game is in their backyard — 30 minutes of travel.”

On the other hand, Naples, which relies on a three-tailback rotation of B.J. Taylor, Ryan Fitzgerald and freshman Ryan Lastrella and four-year starting quarterback Tyler Terronez, will be on the bus for 20 hours or so to get to Baumholder.

But Hall says he has the key to success for his D-II South champs: “Naples has to execute, play hard, and continue to play our style of football,” he wrote.

Coach Mike Laue of Bitburg is counting heavily on his team’s experience in last year’s Super Six.

“It is always helpful to have played in big games,” he wrote in an e-mail.

Division IIIAFNORTH Lions (7-0) vs. Ansbach Cougars (7-0), 4 p.m.

“We will be giving up 40-, 50-plus pounds per man and will face the best backfield we have seen this year,” e-mailed Ansbach coach Marcus George, who’s taking his Cougars to their fifth-straight European finale.

He said AFNORTH running backs Sascha Miller and Brock Blankenship[/BODY], and quarterback Brandon Wilson make up an outstanding backfield, and they play behind a very physical line.

Ansbach is seeking its sixth European crown. AFNORTH last won a European title as a Division II school in 1994, when it was known as AFCENT. The Lions, this year’s D-III-North champs, last won the D-III crown in 1975.

For all his team’s offensive prowess, AFNORTH coach Greg Blankenship is pinning his hopes on the defense.

“Our defense is the key to the contest,” he wrote in an e-mail. “I believe Marcus George will want to rock us back a bit with his rushing attack (Xavier Sheppard, Josh Hale and Shane Williams) and then open up the great play-action passing attack (QB John Willis, also a running threat).”

Blankenship also put much of Saturday’s burden on those walking the sidelines.

“The Super Six is an event that I believe causes coaches to make more mistakes than players do,” he wrote. “I … have watched coaches from all divisions lose the rhythm of the game and make play calls that confused blocking and coverage assignments.”

Division IRamstein Royals (7-0) vs. Heidelberg Lions (5-2), 7 p.m.

This game features the revenge factor and a clash of two of the most successful programs in Europe. Either Ramstein or Heidelberg, or both, have played for the title 12 of the past 14 years. Ramstein has won five; Heidelberg, which downed Ramstein 12-7 last year, has won four.

Ramstein, the regular-season champs, won both meetings between the teams this season — 21-0 on Sept. 16 at Ramstein and 14-7 at Heidelberg on Oct. 7.

Both games were close, Ramstein coach Carlos Amponin said Tuesday.

Since those games, Heidelberg has gone to Shon Fisher as a replacement for injured quarterback Matt Howard-Darling.

“He is our best athlete, and it will be interesting to see what we can do with him,” Shahan wrote.

Both coaches found positives in having to play each other for the third time.

“They stopped our [victory] run last year,” Amponin said. “If we win this year, it would be a little bit empty not having done it against Heidelberg.”

Asked Shahan, “Do I look forward to playing Ramstein for the third time this year? No, but our kids want to play in the championship game and they will play whoever is waiting.”

By the numbersDivision I

Ramstein (7-0)Offense (27.3 ppg): RB Joel Smith, 52 rushes, 324 yds., 2 TDs. QB Joe York, 43-of-86 passing, 798 yds., 7 TDs, 3 ints. WR Scott Sublousky, 16 recs., 310 yds. 3 TDs. WR Aaron Jones, 14 recs., 304 yds., 2 TDs.Defense (8.9 ppg allowed, 1 shutout): Marcus Cherry, 77 tackles; Smith, 57 tackles; Jake Garcia, 5 sacks; Subousky 3 ints.; Stephan James, 4½ sacks, 3 ints.; Michael Kelly, 4½ sacks.

Heidelberg (5-2)Offense (18.1 ppg): QB Shon Fisher, 9-of-14, 160 yds., 2 TDs, 2 ints; 37 rushes, 276 yds., 4 TDs. RB Cody Mallette, 136 carries, 585 yds., 3 TDs. WR Zachery Tapp-Wilson, 12 recs., 198 yds., 2 TDs. WR Ryan Brlecic, 7 recs., 118 yds., 4 TDs.Defense (10.4 ppg, 2 shutouts): Sean McIntyre, 90 tackles, 2.5 sacks, 1 int.; Justin Anderson, 60 tackles, 9 sacks; Will Battle, 60 tackles, 2½ sacks; Shali Thompson, 54 tackles, 1 sack; J.C. Sharer, 51 tackles., 5 sacks, blocked punt.

Division II

Naples (7-0) Offense (40.4 ppg): RB B.J. Taylor, 105 rushes, 947 yds. QB Tyler Terronez, 47-of-81 passing, 637 yds.Defense (7.7 ppg allowed, 4 shutouts): Phillip Perez, 72 tackles; Will Carrico, 5 ints.

Bitburg (6-1) Offense (38.7 ppg): QB Josh Collett, 9-of-30 passing, 129 yds, 1 TD, 1 int.; 52 rushes, 477 yds., 10 TDs. RB Anton Harris, 142 rushes, 1,171 yds., 18 TDs. RB Jason Bush, 42 rushes, 275 yds., 3 TDs. RB Chris Ramos, 41 rushes, 179 yds., 4 TDs.Defense (5 ppg allowed, 5 shutouts): Collett 6 ints., 3 returned for TDs. Leading tacklers: Ramos, Harris, Collett, Rob Ferguson, Jamie Watts, Frank Moya, Randall Pelletier.

Division III

AFNORTH (7-0)Offense (24.9 ppg): RB Sascha Miller 72 rushes, 838 yds., 13 TDs. RB Brock Blankenship, 60 rushes, 557 yds., 7 TDs; 2 TD passes thrown. WR Chris Eden, 3 TD recs.Defense (5 ppg allowed, 4 shutouts): Miller, 31 tackles, 2 sacks; Blankenship, 77 tackles, 7 sacks; Alex Reynolds, 21 tackles, 3 ints., 2 sacks; Eden, 6 ints, 21 tackles; Anthony Poole, 9 tackles, 5 ints., 2 returned for TDs; Aaron Kash: 37 tackles, 9 sacks; Justin Lammert, 41 tackles, 8 sacks.

Ansbach (7-0)Offense (34 ppg): QB John Willis, 29-of-49 passing, 511 yards, 2 TDs, 1 int.; 30 rushes, 317 yds, 8 TDs. RB Xavier Sheppard, 63 rushes, 726 yds., 8 TDs. RB Josh Hale: 31 rushes, 308 yds., 2 TDs. RB Shane Williams: 24 rushes, 271 yds., 5 TDs.Defense (2.6 ppg, 3 shutouts): Baraka Waweru, 62 tackles; Hale, 57 tackles; Jacob Burnside, 56 tackles; Storm Freeman, 45 tackles.

Super Six football championships

When: 1, 4 and 7 p.m. Saturday

Where: Minick Field, Smith Barracks, Baumholder, Germany

What’s at stake: European championships in Divisions II (1 p.m.), III (4 p.m.) and I (7 p.m.)

Admission: $5 for adults, $3 for students. Tickets valid for all three games.

Getting there: Baumholder is off Autobahn 62 between its junction in the north with the A-1 and its junction in the south with the A-6 just west of Ramstein. To get to Smith Barracks, exit A-62 at Friesen and follow the turn toward Baumholder. Stay on an unnumbered road east (uphill) away from Friesen for 11 kilometers, then turn at the sign to Baumholder. Remain on that road until reaching a stoplight just past an Esso station on the right. Turn left at the light and continue a short distance to another traffic light. Go straight across that intersection to the main gate of Smith Barracks. Once inside the gate, continue straight uphill past the 1st Armored Division museum to a traffic circle in front of the post exchange. Exit the circle three-quarters of the way around and continue past a parking lot on the left. At the end of the lot, turn left and Minick Field is on the left. To reach the nearest parking lot, go past the field, turn left and continue straight behind the end zone and up the hill to a parking area on the right. Parking also is available in the lots in front of the museum, the Hall of Champions gym and the base theater.


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