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

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