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SPANGDAHLEM AIR BASE, Germany -- The race for the 2018 Division II title is fully underway. And it’s already extremely interesting.

The Aviano Saints earned the signature win of the season on Saturday, thoroughly dominating the defending champion Spangdahlem Sentinels in a 35-0 shutout victory.

The visiting Saints scored 14 points in each of the first and fourth quarters to bookend their comprehensive win.

Ferious Nieves threw for two touchdowns while Donavin Robinson ran for three scores in a prolific Saints attack. Dylan Fresquez had four sacks and recovered a fumble, Daniel Merrill had 12 tackles and Kohl Mattes added 10 tackles to lead the Aviano defense.

Deon Montgomery gathered 84 yards on 20 carries for the Sentinels, while Chartez Wiley led the defense with seven tackles.

The Sentinels are trying to keep their footing in the Division II playoff picture after a summer of personnel changes. Spangdahlem lost considerable talent, including dynasty-leading head coach Mike Laue, from last year’s championship team and brought barely enough players to camp to field an 11-man squad rather than a six-man Division III outfit.

Aviano, meanwhile, remains on an upward trajectory in Division II. The Saints enjoyed an undefeated regular season and semifinal berth last season and appear headed for similar success after Saturday’s triumph.

The Saints’ scheduled Sept. 8 opener against International School of Brussels was postponed due to travel issues, a situation DODEA-Europe has yet to fully address.

Aviano is due to host SHAPE next weekend. Spangdahlem, which was idle in Week 1, continues its season-opening homestand against Naples.

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