Barons hopeful for championship game
By Staff Sgt. Nathanael Callon, 52nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs
/ Published October 30, 2012
BITBURG ANNEX, Germany --
Editor's note: American Forces Network Europe will air the championship game between the Bitburg Barons and the Naples Wildcats on the Pentagon Channel Nov. 3. Live coverage begins at noon CET.
The Bitburg Barons defeated the Hohenfels Tigers 56-14 in Bitburg's final home football game of the season at Rik Carr Field Oct. 27.
The Barons' decisive victory earned them a spot in the Department of Defense Dependents Schools Europe Division-II championship game against the Naples Wildcats Nov. 3 in Baumholder.
The game also propelled the Barons to their 29th consecutive victory, and it will be the fourth time in four years that they have made it to the championship.
Bitburg senior Bryson Randall is making his second appearance in the championship game and is optimistic of the outcome.
"This is what we're here for, these games," he said of his team. "We play every team like they are the champions, regardless of what their record is."
Randall's aggressiveness on the field first developed in eighth grade when he tried out for his school's football team in Arkansas. He had never played or seen the game, so his first experience opened his eyes to the sport.
"The coach put me in as a left guard and told me, 'block the linebacker,'" he said with a smile, reminiscing of what was to come next.
Not knowing anything about how the game is played, Randall tackled the linebacker, much to the surprise of the coaches.
"Coach told me to go home, play some video games, and come back and try again," he said with a laugh.
And that is exactly what he did.
He came out every day with the determination to get better. He set his goals of playing football, and with encouragement from his friends and family, ended up starting on varsity every game of his freshman year.
Randall developed an intense and aggressive persona on the field. The 200-pound linebacker led his team in tackles his sophomore year and when he showed up at Bitburg's doorstep, he quickly proved to be a defensive threat.
"I love being aggressive and releasing everything on this field," he said. Although he isn't fighting 300-pound linemen like in the States, he uses that prior experience to make Bitburg's defense a menace for any offense.
Randall proved a nightmare for the visiting Tigers, leading his team with 12 tackles and 10 assists. The defense rallied to shut down the Hohenfels offense.
Teams and fans alike braved below-freezing temperatures and frigid winds to watch the game. The Barons set the tone for the rest of the game early in the first quarter, forcing a safety and quickly putting two points on the board.
Bitburg senior Corey Evans rushed for 185 yards in the first half before leaving the game due to an ankle injury.
Still, the Barons accumulated 497 rushing yards throughout the game and holding the Tigers to just 14 points on the scoreboard.
Randall even got the ball on offense eight times and scored three touchdowns.
Bitburg's 29-game winning streak is at stake Saturday against Naples, who is also undefeated this season, but Randall is hopeful that his team will end up with another victory.
"The competition isn't as severe but the fight, the morale and the family is still built and we're still a team, regardless of what happens," said Randall.