Sunday, June 8, 2008

A Trip to Bologna

Our day started with another great breakfast at Malibu prepared by Christie and served on the lower patio with another gorgeous view of the Ionian Sea. We had to be at the Catania International Airport at noon to catch our 1:00 p.m. Windjet flight to Parma and almost missed it due to very heavy traffic in town.

From Parma, we boarded a recliner bus, or a Pullman as it is called in Italy, to make the 45 minute drive down to Bologna. At our usual mid-point Autogrille/smoke break we ran into next week's opponents, the undefeated, 7-0 Bolzano Giants. All the players knew each other so a mandatory round of hugs and kisses was required by protocol!

The reason for the trip was our game against the 4-2 Doves.

Pino Anello

Pino was scheduled to start for us at DE vs. the Doves. Here he is seen talking to a policeman upon our arrival at the Parma airport. It turned out to be just a friendly chat and we could all breath easier.


The Bologna stadium is located in a beautiful, large city park. As we parks everywhere, there was a lot of graffiti on the walls. The guys on the team said that this represents a female teacher in the Bologna public school district.

I wonder if they need a Social Science teacher?

An interesting fountain on the wall of the stadium.

The Field

The view from the visitors side.

Just Killing Some Time

We arrived at the stadium about 3 hours before our 8:30 p.m. kickoff. The reason we arrived so early is that traveling on Windjet you have to allocate time for possible flight delays and then for potential traffic issues on the ground. Neither of these occurred.

I decided to check out the park for the first hour or so to see how the locals live. A very popular thing anywhere in Italy is just simply sitting and enjoying a good conversation with friends.


Saturday afternoon, a warm summer day, a basketball court, a couple of girls...what more do you want out of life.

I think the coring went 1 point if the ball hit the rim, 3 points for a basket and 5 points if you hit a shot from beyond the normal 3 point arc. I watched for about five minutes, it was still tied 1-1 at that point.

Relaxing Before the Game

Outside the locker room were these 4 benches arranged in a square. We used them to first tape the players ankles and then to just sit and mentally prepare for he task at hand.

From left to right: CB Mario Ravida', Falcon (SS) Fabio "Foca" Russo and OLB Gianmarco Pecoaro.

Rigel Roundtree

We are desperate on defense so this week we added Rigel "Shaft" Roundtree to the roster. He is from Michigan, works at the U.S. Navy base in nearby Sigonella and is a friend of our WR Lucky Fortunato. He has been playing rugby the last eight years and after a practice and a walk-through was ready to start at Strong Safety. Did I mention that he has not played football since high school?

Unfortunately, he pout on a pair of red socks over his Pippy Longstockings. It was too bad because we are all about style. He actually played well all things considered.

Another MAC Official

On the left is an Italian official whose name I do not know that has done a good job working several of our previous games. On the right is another Italian ref who is working his first Catania game of the season I believe.

In the middle is Dennis Jackson from Indiana who is our latest ref from America as part of the Mid-America Conference-IFL referee exchange program and a blog reader. 

The Johnsons

Jason's proud parents, Jim and Holly, were able to fly in from their home in Puyallup, Washington to see "J Twice" in action.

Stefano Mengoli

One of the fun things with this blog is hearing from players on the other teams, the refs and fans how much they enjoy reading it.

Early in the season I received an e-mail from Stefano who lives in Bologna. He is an avid reader of both Jason and my blogs and decided to be a Catania fan for the 2008 season. He even sent me a list of Bologna dining tips when he found out I was staying here for a few days after our game.

After the game we had the chance to finally meet Stefano and his bride, Paola.



Catania has the ball to start the game and ends the drive with Jason hitting Gregorio Barbagallo on an 8 yard TD pass, Andrea Mannino kicks the PAT, Elefanti 7-0.

Bologna answers with a 25 yard TD run, 7-7.

We end our next possession with a 4th and Goal interception.

Bologna hits a slant pass that turns into a 75 yard TD, Doves 14-7.

Jason finds Gregorio again from 30 yards out, 14-14.

Bologna is forced to punt.

Jason hits Salvo Persano for a 50 yard TD, Catania 21-14.

Bologna has to punt again!

After a long pass completion, we fumble away the ball inside the 5 yard line as we are being tackled from behind.

Bologna scores on a 27 yard TD pass, 21-21.

Jason scrambles 23 yards for a TD, Catania 28-21.

Bologna hits yet another TD pass from 41 yards out, 28-28.

After a great kickoff return by Enrico Lombardo, we run out of time as the first half ends tied at 28 all.

Bologna turns the ball over on downs.

The Elephants have to punt and Bologna takes it to the house from 50 yards out, Doves 35-28.

The doves recover an onsides kick but we force them to punt, GOOD JOB DEFENSE!

Greg catches a 60 yard bomb from Jason\, setting up a 1 yard TD run by Enrico Lombardo, 35-35.

The Doves answer with a 1 yard TD run of their own, Bologna 42-35.

The Elephants turn the ball over on downs.

Bologna kicks a 37 yard Field Goal, Doves 45-35.

Catania turns the ball over on downs.

Bologna enjoys a 1 play, 48 yard drive with a TD rush, Bologna 51-35.

Jason hits Enrico twice, first for a 12 yard TD and then for a 2 Point PAT, Doves 51-43.

We don't get the onside kick and the Doves again score in 1 play, a 38 yard TD run to go up 57-43. Claudio Mangano blocked their PAT.

The Elephants are intercepted and Bologna kills the clock to end the game.

Final score: Bologna (5-2) 57 - Catania (6-3) 43.

This loss was a big blow to our playoff chances, since we have lost to all three teams that currently have only 2 losses and undefeated Bolzano looms ahead in next week's final regular season game at home, we are going to need some help from other teams to make the 2008 post season. Stay tuned!


DPLassen said...

Sorry to hear about the loss ... I take it Matt is still sidelined.

Hope you like Red Bologna, though. Have a little extra gelato for me, will you?

George said...

Matt has died a thousand deaths on the sidelines the last two games. He IS a difference maker!