Sunday, April 19, 2009

Reggio Emilia Hogs Game

Week #7 of the 2009 IFL season saw the 0-3 Elephants playing at home against the 2-2 Hogs.

The Hogs were the undefeated champions of the NFLI circuit last year running the Delaware Wing-T.  This offense has always given Catania problems and today would prove no different.

New Catania QB Arturo Sanchez at work

Before the game we met the two visiting American referees, Dan Romeo from the Mountain West Conference and Carl Paganelli from the Mid-American Conference. In the small world that is the IFL, Dan hails from San Francisco like our own Denver Wade and had actually worked Lowell H.S. (Denver's alma mater) games in years past.

Also before the game one of the Reggio Emilia American players, Manny Diaz, took the time to introduce himself to me and thank me for helping him find a job playing in Europe this season.  I had the opportunity to talk to several American players last fall who were looking to come over and wanted my advise.  I'm glad it worked out for Manny.

The Hogs broke a 45 yard run for their first TD of the game, Hogs lead 7-0.

Catania turned the ball over on downs.

Another 20 yard TD run extends the Hogs margin to 14-0.

The Elephants are forced to punt.

Reggio Emilia scores again, this time on a 15 yard run, advantage Hogs 21-0.

An Elephants pass is tipped in the air by a Hogs defensive end who then intercepts it and rumbles his way 60 yards for another Hogs TD, 28-0 Hogs as the first quarter ends.

Catania is forced to punt again.

Hogs score again, this time on a 20 yard run, Reggio Emilia in control 35-0.

Arturo Sanchez finds Taber LeMarr in the corner of the end zone from a yard out for a TD and Andrea Mannino adds the PAT, Hogs 35-7.

Hogs go right back to work and answer the Catania TD with a 15 yard run to make it 42-7 Hogs.

The Elephants run out the end of the first half trailing 42-7.

We are informed by the officials that IFL rules state that if a team is trailing by 35+ points at the half, the second half MUST be played with a running clock even if we get the score back under 35 points.

The Elephants have to punt for a third time.

The Elephants' defense responds and forces the Hogs to turn the ball over on downs for the first time in the game.

Sanchez hits Claudio Mangano on a 51 yard TD strike, Mannino kicks the PAT, Hogs still lead 42-14.

Reggio Emilia gets yet another rushing TD from 8 yards out to go up 49-14.

Catania is driving again but gets intercepted inside the 10 yard line.

The Hogs take a knee once and the game is over with the Hogs winning by a final score of 49-14.

This was a VERY disappointing day to be an Elephant.  Our defense which played so well the first three games was completly dominated by the Hogs.  On the plus side, our offense did show some signs of life in our final four drives of the day. 

On the left is Dwaine Hatch and his lovely bride Karen.  Dwaine as been coaching Wing-T football at Reggio Emilia for several years now and used to be the head coach at Bellvue H.S. just across Lake Washington from Seattle.

I first met Dwaine when he came down to scout his KingCo league rival Interlake H.S. who was playing our Westlake H.S. team in 1983 in southern California.  We were big on the Wing-T back then as well.  We corresponded about the Wing-T on several occasions and I visited him one time at his home in Washington when we were on a family vacation.  I had lost track of him and was pleasantly surprised to see him again today.

We are now 0-4 on the season and have a very tough home game next Saturday against the 4-1 Bolzano Giants.  We need a great week of improvement.

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