Saturday, April 4, 2009

Bologna Warriors Game

Before we chat about our 2009 season home opener today against the Bologna Warriors, I would like to give a HUGE welcome to our newest blog reader, Laney Grace Brucker!

She arrived on the scene at 10:36 a.m. on April 3rd and measured in at 19 1/2" long and weighing in at a petite 7 lbs. 5 oz.  Congratulations to her parents, Ryan and Karli, her big brother Jack, and her grandparents, and our former college roommates, Loren and Sandy Brucker!!!


Luke Tracy

The main story line of the day was the health of our QB Luke Tracy.  Unfortunately, he separated his right (throwing arm) shoulder towards the end of the Bergamo game last Sunday.  As a result his season with the Elephants is finished and he will be returning to the U.S.A. next week.  He showed a lot of toughness while he was here and will be missed.

If you are a QB and want to live in Sicily for the next few months, please give me a holler!

Peppe Strano
The Elephants' Consigliere hard at work before the game.

Sigonella U.S. Naval Air Station's Presence

We have worked very hard at getting the football starved Americans at the local U.S. NAS to get on board with the Elephants.  This pre-game BBQ was just the beginning!

Live Band thanks to the efforts of Gustavo Bonanno!

They were a local Sicilian band and they did a GREAT job covering several classic rock favorites.

Join the Navy and see the...

Laurie Says:  Wow!  The Sigonella families arrived in high spirits and set up a GREAT tailgate area, which incuded two very large grills and lots and lots of ice chests, chairs, etc .  They were really prepared and jumped right in with all types of meats, side dishes, desserts and beverages.  Everyone was really in high spirits and 'ready for some football' -- American-style.  I made many new friends who generously shared their fare and it was great to have so many people cheering.  At the first two away games, there were few Elephant supporters and I found myself an almost lone voice in the crowd (which didn't stop me from cheering) so it was great to hear so many new supporters.  I also want to thank the cheerleaders.  They were so good, and with only two practices.  Elephant supporters on both sides of the field really appreciated their hard work.  (I believe that five of the cheerleaders are actually active military!)  I look forward to our next home game in two weeks and seeing all of you again.  Thank you for your support.  

Pre-game fireworks provided by Fondo Bianco's own Attilio

"...and the rocket's red glare..."

Sigonella even got us a GREAT Cheerleading squad for the game.

A HUGE Thank You to Sigonella's Zina Herb for organizing the cheerleaders,


Favorite Football Colors

This group of newly "Crazed Elephants" showed up to the game wearing their favorite NFL or College game jerseys.  We have got to get them wearing Elephant gear for our next home game!


Pre-Game Notes: We did a document check with the officials before the game on the field, i.e., they check each player vs. his U.S. passport or Italian documents (I love that word) to make sure we aren't playing with a non-registered player.  After this happens, the team is NOT allowed to go back into the locker room for any reason for fear of slipping in a ringer.  This makes for some full bladders by half-time when I guess you could indeed sneak in a non-roster player or two.

The game started late for two reasons, first the game can not start without an ambulance present and secondly, three of the refs were late to the game.  Well not really late actually.  At our new game field, the Catania University Sportivo (CUS), the parking is a bit inadequate for the throngs of football fanatics who filled the stands so the CUS security closed the parking lot gates.  When the last three refs arrived together by car, the security man at the gate refused them entrance by car so they had to find a parking spot out on the streets, NEVER an easy job in downtown Catania!

The pre-game festivities were reaally GREAT!  I especially liked the Wild Rogue Elephant trumpeting over the P.A. system that one of our Junior team platers, Tino, played...VERY COOL! 



Bologna starts the game on offense and is promptly intercepted by Outside LB Salvo Sicali who takes it to the house 50 yards away for a TD!  Andrea Maninno kicks the extra point.  Elephants are off to a quick 7-0 lead.

Bologna's second possesion ends with an 18 yard TD pass, their two point conversion try is no good, Catania still leads 7-6.

The Elephants turn the ball over on downs.  The score after one period is still Catania 7-6.

Bologna's drive ends with a 2 yard TD run.  Their second two point conversion attempt fails, the Warriors take the lead 12-7.

The Elephant's drive ends with a punt.

Bologna is forced to punt as well.

Catania runs out of downs just as the first half ends with the Warriors winning 12-7.

Catania's offense stalls out again and punts.

The Elephants' defense plays tough and the Warriors punt.

Thanks to a great 4th down catch and run by Larry Atkinson, Catania's next drive results in an Enrico Lombardo 6 yard TD run.  The extra point attempt sails wide, Elephants regain the lead 13-12.

The Warriors are again forced to punt.  After three periods the Elephants are holding on to a slim 13-12 advantage.

Catania's drive ends with a punt that is returned into Elephant territory.

Bologna scores on a 1 yard run and misses on another two point attempt.  Warriors regain the lead 18-13.

The Elephant drive ends with an interception in the Catania red zone.

The Warriors take advantage of the turnover and pad their lead on a 10 yard TD run. Their kick is good.  Warriors are now in charge of the game, 25-13.

The Elephants mount a good drive into the Warriors' red zone but turn the ball over on downs.

The Warriors take a knee and the game is over.

Warriors (1-1) 25 - Elephants (0-3) 13

Post-Game Notes:
I was pleasantly surprised by the excellent punting by Jacopo Succi.  I thought our defense played well for the third straight week.  I can find little fault in our team's effort, we just need to come up with a few key plays at key times.  Obviously we are struggling on offense but I thought our WR Taber LeMarr did a very solid job in his roll as our emergency QB.

We have the first of our two IFL BYE weeks next weekend.  We will return to action against the Reggio Emilia Hogs on Sunday, April 19th at CUS.  I hope the week off, we don't practice until next Saturday, will give us time to find a QB, regroup and heal our bodies and souls after an unexpected rocky start to the 2009 campaign.

Post Game Meeting with our two American Counterparts

Next to me is the Warriors' Head Coach Dan Simrell and long time Warrior Assistant Coach Vinny Argondizzo.

Doug, Denver and Linda Wade
by Catania's Piazza Duomo's Fountain

Denver's parents arrived in town this afternnon.  Doug is a carpenter who works at the University of California's campus in Berkeley while Linda is the Vice-Principal's secretary at Galileo H.S. in San Francisco.

Their First Sicilian Cannoli

After enjoying a delightful dinner near the Duomo at "Trattoria La Paglia", we took the short walk over to the "Etoile d'Or" to share cannoli with our new friends.  I think they liked the cannoli.

After spending only a few hours with Doug and Linda it is easy to see why Denver is such a great young man.

Laurie and I are taking advantage of the BYE week to fly to Munich on Sunday evening to visit Bavaria and work our way into Innsbruck, Austria to visit Jason, Christie and Matt.

Auf Wiedersehen!


Loren Brucker said...

Thank you for introducing our new grandaughter to the world!  That was so nice of you.  Now she has international recognition.  Love to you.  Sandy and Loren 

DPLassen said...

Time to introduce the Wing-T to Europe?

Ryan said...


Thank you for the great announcement.I told Karli that Laney has now gone global. April 3rd is a good day!

I agree with Mr. Lassen give the IFL a taste of the WING!!!


Anonymous said...


I will give Sonny Sixkiller and Jerry "Nino" Kaloper a call and see if they are interested.