Bitburg's win streak at 27 as Aviano falls
Bitburg's C.J. Evans cuts back against the field, throwing the Aviano defense into confusion Saturday in the Barons' 50-6 victory over the Saints. Evans had 288 yards rushing and scored five touchdowns.
AVIANO AIR BASE, Italy – It’s beginning to look like the only way to stop the Bitburg Barons would be a decision by the Pentagon to shut down Spangdahlem Air Base.
Unfortunately for the rest of DODDS-Europe Division II football, that call hasn’t been made.
The Barons earned their 27th straight victory Saturday, moving into sole possession of third on the all-time list, by running over Aviano 50-6.
Coach Mike Laue said after the game that he’s not keeping track.
“We haven’t talked about it even once since the streak started,” he said. “That might seem like a line, but it’s true. We have other things on our agenda.”
“Winning every game we play.”
If the Barons keep doing that, they’ll move into second place on the all-time list by season’s end. A victory over AFNORTH on Saturday would move Bitburg into a tie with Ansbach for the second-longest streak in DODDS-Europe history. But even if the Barons win both their playoff games, they’ll still be a game behind Ansbach’s 31-game winning streak at season’s end.
Saturday was all about the Barons’ punishing ground attack. Bitburg only attempted one pass. It was intercepted, but the play was nullified.
Senior running back C.J. Evans scored five touchdowns and rushed for 288 yards. Junior Kenny Love rushed for 110 yards and another score. Sophomore Larry Jackson scored the other touchdown.
“They’re really good and you can’t make mistakes and expect to beat a team like that,” Aviano coach Rick Dahlstrom said.
Two penalties and a sack forced Aviano deep into its own territory on its first possession. Bitburg, 5-0 this year, took over on the Aviano 29 after the resulting punt. Three plays later, Jackson scored from 9 yards out.
After the teams held each other on downs, Aviano got onto the scoreboard with three quick plays. Alex Ramos broke free for a 43-yard run and quarterback Mike Trujillo connected with Elijah Smith on a 38-yard pass play. That set up Trujillo’s 6-yard touchdown pass to Andrew Bert.
But the Saints failed to make a two-point conversation and the rest of the scoring was by Bitburg.
That included scoring runs of 25, 70, 13, 2 and 13 yards from Evans, who often seemed to be in the Aviano backfield before the first tackler made contact.
The Saints, 2-3 on the season, only rushed the ball 11 times, choosing to air it out when they had possession. Trujillo connected on 4 of 17 passes in the first half for 93 yards. He only attempted three passes in the second half and two of those were intercepted by the Barons.
Each team had multiple scores called back by penalties. Aviano was penalized 11 times for 102 yards and Bitburg seven times for 75.
Aviano finishes the regular season at Hohenfels on Saturday. A Saints win would knock the Tigers out of the playoffs. A victory could also move Aviano into a second-place tie in D-III South with Ansbach if it loses to Naples. But since Aviano lost to Ansbach earlier this season, it would still miss the playoffs.