ECJ2000: Germany defend title against Russia

Category: - published 2000-08-05 by EFAF

Germany retained the European Junior Championship with a hard fought but deserved 19-0 victory over Russia in the 2000 Wilson final and quarterback Dennis Zimmermann celebrated the triumph when he was named tournament MVP.

Austria clinched third place when they triumphed 10-0 over Finland with all their points coming inside the final five minutes of a tense affair. France edged Great Britain in the fifth place playoff with a 32-27 win after the Lions had enjoyed their first lead of the competition going into the final quarter.

Just as they had in two group games Germany got off to a flying start when they scored an early touchdown having won the coin toss and elected to receive the ball.

Sebastian Judis justified the decision to take the ball with a 56-yard return, but Finland proved far from a first half pushover and when the tournament's leading quarterback Dennis Zimmermann stepped up to the line of scrimmage, he was immediately intercepted by defensive back Maxim Pankov.

Deadly running back Anton Paramonov immediately scampered for 15 yards, but then Russia went three and out and were punished when the reigning champion chipped away on the ground before Bjorn Dreier charged down the left sideline for a 45-yard touchdown. Michael Klemme's extra point flew wide of the uprights.

The dual rushing threat of Paramonov and Evgueni Chekhov took eight plays to move the ball 19 yards against a resilient German defense, then both teams traded punts to end the first quarter.

Germany also found their opponent's defences too tough to break, then Russia should have levelled the score, but were held at the Germany two-yard line. Quarterback Dmitri Savriko hit receiver Alexandre Khokhlov for a crucial third down conversion and added Kirill Makourine to his twin backs to advance to the two-yard line, but his pass to Andrei Iassenovski fell short on fourth down.

Germany mounted a drive from their own 22-yard mark to end the half, but with no timeouts remaining and in possession at Russia's 20, Zimmermann was unable to take a snap before the clock ticked down and held just a slender 6-0 halftime lead.

After a tense opening to the second half Germany got the break it was looking for when Russian wide receiver Khokhlov fumbled a high punt and Patrick Hamid recovered, giving Germany the ball at the 35-yard line. One pass interference and a 14-yard connection with tight end Feiko Nurnburg later, Zimmermann took two quarterback sneaks to break the goal line and make it 13-0.

Russia then held a pair of goal line stands bought about by errors and penalties that aided the already competent Germans, who had to settle for field goals of 23 and 20 yards by Michael Klemme for a 19-0 lead.
(Michael Preston)

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