Aviano topples Naples to remain tied for first
NAPLES, Italy – The Aviano Saints, riding an opportunistic defense that picked off three passes, remained unbeaten in Division II-South by upsetting the previously unbeaten Naples Wildcats 16-3 on Saturday.The teams exchanged first-half field goals to go into halftime tied 3-3, Aviano coach Rick Dahlstrom said by telephone on Saturday. But the Wildcats (2-1 overall and in II-South) couldn’t dent the Aviano defense during the game’s final 24 minutes.Aviano (3-1, 3-0), meanwhile, broke running back Darien Cornett lose for a 60-yard TD run in the third quarter, and Myron McRae uncorked a 20-yard scoring scamper in the final period to clinch a playoff berth for the Saints, who kept pace with unbeaten Ansbach for the II-South lead. Ansbach battered visiting Hohenfels 60-16 on Friday.Next up for Aviano is a Friday-night date at Vicenza. The Saints are then scheduled to host Ansbach on Oct. 14 or 15 in a regular-season finale that figures to decide the league title. The Wildcats, who were coming off a 51-0 blitzing of Vicenza and are all but assured of making the D-II playoffs in spite of Saturday’s loss, find themselves in a virtual must-win situation to remain in the title chase when they visit Ansbach on Saturday.Naples is to close its regular season Oct. 15 against visiting Schweinfurt, and the top four teams in II-South then move on to the D-II European quarterfinals the following Saturday.