VILSECK, Germany — Darius Whitehead ran for 134 yards and three touchdowns Saturday as Vilseck downed Patch 24-6 on opening day of the wide-open Division I-South race.

Whitehead scored on runs of 6, 70 and 6 yards to put the Falcons on the top shelf of a four-team, home-and-home race from which only two teams will make the playoffs. According to preseason observers, any of the four – Vilseck, Patch, Heidelberg and Wiesbaden – is capable of reaching the Division I semifinal on Oct. 30.

After a scoreless first period, Miles Smiley got the Falcons on the scoreboard with a quarterback sneak. Whitehead’s 6-yard run made it 12-0, but Justin Johnson-Rich brought Patch back in a hurry, scurrying for a 40-yard gain to inside the Vilseck 5-yard line, then scoring from 4 yards out with 39 seconds left in the half.

Whitehead got that one back on Vilseck’s next play from scrimmage, however, bursting 70 yards for the score that allowed the defense to take over the game.

That unit was led by Sean Peebles (eight tackles, an interception and a fumble recovery), Dexter Smith (8½ tackles), Denis Thomas (6½ tackles and a sack) and Daniel Arroyo, who made a leaping, one-handed interception to put an exclamation point on the effort.

Kenny Hall led Patch with 65 yards and contributed on the other side of the ball with nine tackles and two assists. Bryson Frary, who recovered a fumble, and Bryson Davis each posted nine tackles and five assists.

Patch goes on the road again next week, with a Saturday date at Wiesbaden in a nearly must-win duel. Vilseck is scheduled to host Heidelberg the same day.

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