Sigonella runs past Brussels into playoff contention
Stars and Stripes
Just more than a year after having to suspend their football program for lack of players, the Sigonella Jaguars clinched at least a tie for the fourth and final berth in the 2012 European Division III semifinals with a 48-6 victory Saturday over the visiting Brussels Brigands.
Jose Serna ran for two touchdowns and Jon Gasporra passed for two as the Jaguars put up 48 unanswered points after spotting their guests an early 6-0 lead.
Christian Javier, who would end the game with 100 yards rushing, ran into the end zone to put winless Brussels up early, but D’Ontrell Harrington returned the ensuing kickoff 70 yards to the Brussels five-yard line to set up the equalizing TD. Gasporra converted the opportunity by hitting Gunnar Smith with a five-yard TD pass on a tackle-eligible play to even the score at 6-6, according to Sigonella coach Matt McKown.
McKown said Sigonella dominated the game thereafter, eventually totaling 312 yards of offense, 269 of them on the ground. Antonio Garcia added 12 of those rushing yards on a touchdown run, one of five the Jaguars tallied Saturday.
Defensively, Eli Lagger made eight tackles and recovered a fumble for Sigonella, which also benefited from 5.5 tackles, two sacks and a blocked punt by Peter Swisshelm, McKown said in a Sunday telephone call.
The victory let Sigonella complete its conference schedule with a 2-3 record and firmly in the hunt for the final D-III playoff berth. The Jaguars are scheduled to host the Woodham Warriors of the English league Saturday in a non-conference, regular-season finale.
Brussels fell to 0-5 overall and 0-4 in D-III. The Brigands are scheduled to be involved in the playoff chase again Friday, when they are to host Alconbury.
A victory by Alconbury would tie the Dragons with Sigonella at 2-3 in conference play. Since the teams didn’t play each other during the season and each lost to Bamberg, Baumholder and Rota, the playoff participant will be determined by tiebreaker procedures put into place before the season by DODDS-Europe athletic director Karen Seadore.
Whichever team wins the berth will journey to Baumholder on Oct. 20 to take on the unbeaten Bucs in the European D-III semifinals.