Monthly Archives: July 2015

Razorbacks vs. Trier

Razorbacks vs. Trier #5The league championship was clinched against Geissen, so the regular season finale at home was more coronation than game. The Trier Stampers weren’t expected to be much of a match for the Razorbacks, coming in with a record of 3-6 and facing relegation to the fourth division. For the Razorbacks the goals were more about pride than anything.
1) A win would secure a perfect 10-0 record; a rare feat and something I’ve never experienced in 25 years of coaching. This also would be a first for our import players.
2) 38 points would put us over 400 points on the season. This means nothing important, but a nice round number (and a 40 point average over ten games).
3) We’d given up one fewer point than Geissen leading the league. A good performance could make us the top-ranked defense for the season.
4) Most important, this was a chance to celebrate our championship at our home in front of our fans. This was going to happen regardless of Saturday’s result, but it would sure be a better celebration after a convincing win, showcasing that we were deserving of a championship.

Razorbacks vs. Trier #1
Any drama about a perfect season ended early in the first quarter. The Razorback offense struck first on a 30 yard touchdown run by quarterback Garret Coleo. The Stampers fumbled on their first offensive play, three plays later Coleo hit Micki Mayer from 25-yards for a second score. 14-0. The Stampers failed to recover the ensuing kickoff. Ravensburg quickly capitalized on the sloppy play. Again Coleo hit Mayer on the third play, this time from 15-yards and the Razorbacks were up 21-0 before Trier had taken a successful offensive snap.
The rest of the game was more of the same. The Razorbacks dominated the Stampers all afternoon. Offense, defense and special teams all showed why we were the best team in the Regionalliga Mitte. During the second half, the Razorbacks cleared the bench but still hit the 400 point mark in the 3rd quarter. The defensive goal was clinched in the final minutes then the Stampers failed to get on the board. Final score: 43-0.
It was a great ending to a great season for the Razorbacks but, for me, it was also a depressing day. Instead of being there celebrating with the team, I was home in Reno, “watching” the game on the live ticker in my bathrobe (The game started at 6 AM for me).
Unsure of the schedule and the release of my upcoming book, we had set my return date from Europe at July 18th. With my book coming out in September, I could have changed my ticket and stayed, but it became obvious weeks ago that the title would be decided at Geissen. I felt this game would be a great opportunity for our other coaches to do the jobs they’d return to next season.
From this standpoint, it was the correct move. My absence wasn’t a factor. The coaches did a great job preparing the team and the Razorbacks cruised to victory. But, watching the film and looking at the pictures of the celebration on Facebook, I badly wished I was still in Germany. A perfect season championship celebration on the field, complete with 400 free liters of beer, Champagne and cigars is not something I’ve ever experienced. It looked like a great time. Medals were awarded, championship tee-shirts were given out, a trophy was presented and Garret Colao was named league MVP. I’m proud that I was a part of this season and am very excited for the success we had, but I wish I’d been there.

Razorbacks vs. Trier #3
What’s next?
For me: It’s time to start working on the book about the amazing season I spent in Germany, I will also start promoting the upcoming release of Big and Bright: Deep in the Heart of Texas High School Football in September.
For the Razorbacks: Playoffs maybe, but right now, a strange limbo. The entire purpose of Regionalliga play-offs is to choose a qualifier for entry in the GFL 2. Two issues put everything on hold for now.
First- Many teams don’t want to go to move up to the tougher GFL 2. It’s a longer season, with a heftier entry fee, more travel and tougher competition. The Razorbacks want to make the move, but even with our success this season, it was something that was debated within the program.
Second-If both teams want to make the move; the playoffs won’t begin until Mid-September. Assuming playoffs are held, the format will be strange. Two games against the same opponent, the team who scores more total points advances to GFL 2. For now though, it’s wait and see. Teams have until August 1st to declare their play-off plans.

Razorbacks vs. Trier #4

Advertisements
Categories: Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Razorbacks vs. Giessen Golden Dragons–Regionallia Mitte Championship Game

Big & Bright/ Texas AND Euro Football Roadtrip

Razorbacks vs. Geissen #1A huge cloud hung over my head during the past two weeks. If I’d been told when I arrived in early March that I’d leave Germany undefeated or with only one loss, I would’ve been satisfied with either scenario.
At 8-0, a single loss shouldn’t be worth crying about, but a perfect season… In 25 years of coaching I’d never accomplished this. Making it even more urgent, to me, is that I’m leaving before the season finale against last place Trier. The Razorbacks season will almost assuredly end with a victory, but a loss would destroy the perfect season, give Giessen the championship and send me home with an awful taste in my mouth.
I had reason to worry. The Giessen Golden Dragons were 7-0-1; only a tie away from perfection. They had the top defense in the league, allowing less than 14 points per game. They lack our…

View original post 708 more words

Categories: Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Razorbacks vs. Giessen Golden Dragons–Regionallia Mitte Championship Game

Razorbacks vs. Geissen #1A huge cloud hung over my head during the past two weeks. If I’d been told when I arrived in early March that I’d leave Germany undefeated or with only one loss, I would’ve been satisfied with either scenario.
At 8-0, a single loss shouldn’t be worth crying about, but a perfect season… In 25 years of coaching I’d never accomplished this. Making it even more urgent, to me, is that I’m leaving before the season finale against last place Trier. The Razorbacks season will almost assuredly end with a victory, but a loss would destroy the perfect season, give Giessen the championship and send me home with an awful taste in my mouth.
I had reason to worry. The Giessen Golden Dragons were 7-0-1; only a tie away from perfection. They had the top defense in the league, allowing less than 14 points per game. They lack our talent or strength, but are well-coached and play fundamentally sound football. The Golden Dragons were a dangerous and confident group. After watching their film, I believed that we should beat them, but knew we’d have to play well.

razorbacks vs. geissen #6
We scored first, but had to work for it, ten plays culminating in a 33-yard TD pass to Micki Mayer. Giessens ‘ offense came out strong as well, scoring a field goal on their first possession and a touchdown on their second, to take a 10-7 lead early in the second period.
Our defense stiffened, and a bubble screen to Mayer for a 50-yard touchdown gave us a 14-10 lead at halftime.
The Dragons were giving us a game. I was frustrated by our execution on offense. We’d made mistakes on each of our three non-scoring drives and against a good defense, this cost us. I was encouraged though, that our defense seemed to have solved the Giessen offense.Razorbacks vs. geissen #5
After the break, our defense continued to play well, quickly forcing a punt. A score now would give us a huge momentum edge… and a two-score lead. Unfortunately, two poor plays set up a 3rd and 5.
I doubt anyone casually watching the game would recognize how pivotal this situation was. Even coaches watching the film would likely overlook this as a turning point. But at this moment I was very nervous. A three-and-out would give the Dragons confidence and frustrate both our offense and defense, so quickly having to return to the field to hold a 4-point lead. We desperately needed a first down.
Football is full of subtle, overlooked actions separating victors from the defeated. The third-and-five conversion early in the second half won’t make any highlight films, but to me, this play set the tone for rest of the game.
Split receiver, Andi Lo Meo streaked off the line, representing a deep route. The Dragon corner took the bait, giving too much cushion, when Lo Meo abruptly cut off his route and hitched at five-yards. Quarterback, Garret Coleo was throwing before the cut and hit Lo Meo perfectly, who caught the ball, turned outside and was tackled falling forward; Six yards and a first down. A modest play, but perfectly executed by Lo Meo and Coleo, accomplishing exactly what we needed.
Two plays later, a quarterback counter put the knife in the Golden Dragons. Well-blocked at the point of attack, Garret had a big gain already when he reversed his field at the ten, crossing from sideline to sideline to score. 21-10 Razorbacks.
The Golden Dragons would never stop the Razorbacks again. On four second half possessions, the offense scored four touchdowns, pulling away for a 41-18 victory.
What a gratifying way for me to leave Germany, after arguably our best offensive half of the season. This was truly a great team effort. Every unit owns a piece of the championship win. Our receivers ran great routes and caught the ball, the backs ran well, Coleo ran and threw well and made the correct reads, the O-line played outstanding, dominating the line, opening holes and allowing no sacks or hurries. Our defense shut down the Dragons for most of the game, stuffing the run and blanketing the pass routes.
A great feature of European football is that coaches can celebrate with the team in ways that wouldn’t be appropriate in the US. Most enjoyed a few beers directly following the game, and many more during the six-hour bus ride back to Ravensburg.
I’ll leave Germany on Saturday with a championship and a perfect season, following our best offensive game of the season. There’d be something wrong with an offensive coordinator who couldn’t celebrate this.
The celebration is bitter-sweet though. I’ve loved the time I spent here. I’ve gained friends and experiences far greater than the sacrifices made by leaving home. The Razorback players, coaches and management have been a pleasure to work with. The family I live with has become like a second family. Southern Germany is beautiful. It’s been a wonderful time and as excited as I am to get home I’m very sad to leave. I am so thankful though, to have had this opportunity and look forward to many return trips in the future.

Razorbacks vs. Geissen #9Razorbacks vs. Geissen #10

Categories: Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Razorbacks vs. Montabaur Fighting Farmers

Razorbacks vs. Mont #1Football isn’t supposed to be easy. For me, what makes this such a rewarding sport is the struggle it sometimes takes to come out on top. Winning requires a fight that begins with watching the films, continues through the practices and reaches a crescendo during the three hours at game time. When it’s right it’s mentally, emotionally and physically exhausting. It’s from these draining games that the greatest rewards come.
Vince Lombardi put it better than I ever could, “I firmly believe that any man’s finest hour, the greatest fulfillment of all that he holds dear, is that moment when he has worked his heart out in a good cause and lies exhausted on the field of battle – victorious.”Razorbacks vs. Mont #2
On paper, our game against the Montabaur Fighting Farmers should have been a cakewalk, but that’s why games are played on the field. The Razorbacks entered undefeated after a convincing win against Albershausen. The Farmers have won just three games, but are effective on offense with a talented quarterback and other good skill players. We were missing several of our best defensive players due to injury, so I feared this game could become a shootout.
Early, it seemed as though my worries would be unfounded. Our running and passing game work well. A 53-yard touchdown run by running back Steve Spagnuolo on our third play from scrimmage is followed by short TD passes to receivers Micki Mayer and Joris Strobel. A one-yard dive by Kevin Keinzle makes the score 28-0 in the second. But there is a lot of football left to play.
The Fighting Farmers find the cracks in our defense and quickly get on the board. 28-7. A scary omen occurs just before the half. After a catch across the middle, Mayer is stripped near midfield, squandering a chance to extend our lead and sending us into the half-time locker room with the memory of failure fresh on our minds.
The Farmers quickly score after the break to make it 28-14. The momentum further turns on the following series. Quarterback Garret Coleo throws an uncharacteristic poor pass and is intercepted on the 10. The Farmers take advantage of our mistake, to close our lead to one score. Our offense responds; several long runs by Spagnuolo set up a second Mayer TD to increase our lead to 33-20.
The Fighting Farmers keep the pressure on, scoring again; 33-27, early in the 4th. We’re in the shootout I’d feared. On the second play of our next possession, Coleo fumbles on a QB run. Montabaur scores again and we’re tied at 33, with just over 5 minutes to go.
The Farmer defense hasn’t stopped us yet, our only unsuccessful drives ended with turnovers, but for the first time this season, we face a do-or-die offensive drive to win a game. The offense responds with Coleo and Spagnuolo methodically running the ball, finishing with an 18-yard touchdown run by Spagnuolo to put us in front, 39-33.
Our defense finally gets a stop and we take over on downs. We need a 1st down to end it and on 3rd and 1, Coleo breaks though the line for a touchdown; 45-33 final.
It wasn’t easy, but this was the game I will likely remember most when I return to the US in a few weeks. We overcame changes in momentum and costly mistakes to secure this win. It’s the hard-fought wins that we play and coach for; games where players and coaches give all they have to succeed, where you shake the opponents’ hands afterwards, say “good game” and mean it.
I’m proud of Micki Mayer and Garret Coleo for overcoming mistakes and making big plays with the game on the line. Players aren’t always perfect, but that I could still count on these two playmakers after they’d screwed up was big. Steve Spagnuolo had a huge game rushing for 268 yards and two touchdowns on 16 carries. Strobel also played well, scoring once, with several punishing runs after catches.
The often unnoticed offensive line deserves a lot of credit for our success Friday. The best center in the league, Martin Kreh was injured on the second play. Backup Patrick Maier did an outstanding job the entire game, as did the rest of the line.
Without the contributions of tackles–Sebastian (Trabbi) Trabold and Tobias Dreher, guards–Christian (Bam Bam) Bromund and Stefan Kretz as well as Maier, we could not have won this game. We rushed for 428 yards and averaged 14.75 yards a carry. It’s with some pride that I say we have the best offensive line in the league and they are a huge reason we are 8-0.
However, our toughest test comes next Saturday when we travel to Giessen. At 7-1-0, the game against the Golden Dragons is for the championship. To beat them we will have to play better on offense, defense and on special teams. But… football isn’t supposed to be easy, I can’t wait!Razorbacks vs. Mont #3

Categories: Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Blog at WordPress.com.