HOHENFELS, Germany - An Aviano field-goal try with 39 seconds left in the game sailed just wide to the right Saturday, and Hohenfels clinched a berth in this week’s European Division II quarterfinals with a 14-12 victory.
The Tigers, who finished the regular season in a three-way tie with Naples and Bamberg at 3-2 in Division II-South, scored early and held on against the visiting Saints, who ended their season at 1-4. Playoff pairings will be set after various tiebreakers are resolved.
According to Hohenfels coach Ed Lynch, John Aquino was in the process of sacking the Aviano quarterback when he stripped him of the ball and ran it in from 12 yards out in the first period.
“He got his arms around him and dragged him about six yards,” Lynch said by telephone Saturday. “Then he ripped the ball away and stormed in.”
Just as big was the ensuing snap. Xavier Davis completed the two-point pass to Jamie Thompkins for what eventually would be the game’s deciding points.
Aviano cut the gap to 8-6 in the second quarter on a 25-yard scoring pass from Andrew Bert to Myron McRae, who ended the game as Aviano’s leading rusher with 80 yards. But the Hohenfels defense stuffed the two-point try to keep the Tigers on top.
Hohenfels made it 14-6 5:27 before halftime on a 2-yard run by Mike Dongus. Aviano answered that one in the second half on a 1-yard run by Corey Webb. Once again, however, the Hohenfels defense came up big on the conversion try.
James Robinson led Hohenfels with 82 yards rushing in a game played in cold, mud and rain.
“Both teams banged the ball inside between the tackles,” Lynch said.