Bitburg runs over Aviano into semifinals
BITBURG, Germany -- The Bitburg Barons advanced to the DODDS-Europe Division II semifinals Saturday with an emphatic 44-0 quarterfinal defeat of the visiting Aviano Saints.
The third-seeded Barons will visit defending Division II champion and No. 2 seed Ansbach next weekend, with the winner advancing to the Nov. 7 championship game at Kaiserslautern.
Bitburg's renowned running game was in full effect from the beginning. John Blake turned in a pair of touchdown runs in the first quarter to stake the Barons to an early lead, and Curtiss Wilson stormed in from short range for a third home-team touchdown in the second. A 9-yard touchdown toss from Eli Canaan to Alex Rodriguez and Wilson's successful two-point conversion completed the first-half barrage.
The second half held more of the same. Matt Holmes scored twice after halftime, finding the end zone on a 33-yard run and a 50-yard punt return, while DJ Williams added a rushing touchdown.
Wilson finished with 193 yards on 17 carries while Holmes had 127 yards on just six rushes. Jaylon Gray paced the Baron defense with nine tackles.
The win puts the Barons a win away from their first championship game appearance since 2012.
Aviano sees a successful season end unceremoniously. The Saints emerged as Italy's best football team this fall ahead of 2014 playoff entries Naples and Vicenza, while posting a 3-2 regular season record and securing the sixth seed in the eight-team playoffs.
Tevin Wells had 11 tackles and Jimmie Montgomery made nine for the Saints.