Sunday, February 25, 2018

2018 Varese Skopions DII Season Opener

Saturday, 24 February, 2018

At last, our 2018 Italian DII season opening road game had finally arrived on my 40th day living in Italy . . . 

. . . and it was a DERBY to boot!

Our kickoff was not scheduled until 8:30 p.m. so I had some time to kill during the day. 

Political Party Tent at my local
supermarket, the National Elections
are next weekend

The Gorillas' Home Field . . .

. . . a.k.a., "The Jungle"

As is my habit upon arriving at a road site, I walked the field to check for anomalies.

Interesting Dimensions

The Jungle had a 90 yard field, not the usual 100 yards. This field length is quite common in Europe although the Skorpions' home field is indeed a rare 100 yards long.

As for The Jungle's field width, I stepped it off at 61 yards, significantly larger than the regulation 53 1/3 yards.

 Interesting surface

It was an unusual mixture of dirt, sand and dead grass.

Funky Goal Posts

The Jungle's Automated
Snack Bar

On the entry door to the
Gorillas' Dressing Rooms

Gorilla Game Gear

Skorpions Early Outs

Gorillas warming-up

Skorpions warming-up

Captains Out


Gorillas Ball: After placing our first two kickoffs out of bounds, the Gorillas advanced our third one to their 40 yard line. Our Defense played tough, it would all night, and we had our first Three and Out-Punt (3&O-P) of the young season.

Skorpions Ball: 3&O-P #1

Gorillas Ball: 3&O-P #2, our Defense was looking GOOD!

Skorpions Ball: We continued to have poor field position due to our opening kickoff, 3&O-P #2, the Gorillas Defense was playing well too.

Gorillas Ball: LB Nicolas Principi registered our first QB sack of the season, 3&O-P #3 but then it happened. We had applied excellent pressure on the Gorillas' two previous punts and this time the long snap was high and over the punter's head. DE Tomas Pedotti scooped the ball up and picked up another ten yards before being tripped up by the punter. We had the ball at the Gorillas' five yard line!

Skorpions Ball: With an extremely short field to work with, the Skorpions wasted no time as RB Ema Della Bosca scampered in for a TD from three yards out. Dario D'Adelfio's extra point was good, Skorpions 7 - Gorillas 0.

Gorillas Ball: On their first play, the Gorillas run a well executed reverse for a 20 yard gain and the first first down of the game as the First Quarter ended with the Skorpions leading 7-0.


Gorillas Ball: The home team continued their drive that started in the First Quarter. After the good Gorillas' reverse play, the Skorpions' Defense stiffened and forced another pressured punt.

Skorpions Ball: Back-to-back holding calls on first down led to the Skorpions 3&O-P #3.

Gorillas Ball: After surrendering a first down, the Skorpions' FS Simone Tettamanti intercepted an errant Gorillas pass.

Skorpions Ball: We continued to struggle, 3&O-P #4 and still no first downs despite our 7-0 lead.

Gorillas Ball: A good punt by Skorpion Stefano Granelli gave the Gorillas poor field position and veteran CB Dario D'Adelfio recovered a fumbled option pitch to set up our Offense with another, much needed, short field.

Skorpions Ball: A good eight yard run on our first down ended with a lost fumble.

Gorillas Ball: A tackle for a 5 yard loss on third down to force a punt was wasted due to a dead ball personal foul penalty on one of our defenders. Eventually the Gorillas scored on a one yard TD run.

The ensuing PAT was an adventure. 

Their first attempt was good, but they were holding.

Their second attempt was good but they had a personal foul. 

Their third attempt was a fake pass that fell incomplete but we were called for pass interference away from the intended receiver.

Their fourth and final attempt was blocked by SS Stefano Granelli, Skorpions 7 - Gorillas 6.

Skorpions Ball: An excellent Kickoff Return by Dylan Auriemma reached the Gorillas' 42 yard line with 12 seconds left in the First Half.

On first down, QB Omar Passera threw an absolutely perfect pass to WR Martino Piazzi for a 42 yard TD! Dario A'Delfio's PAT split the uprights and the Skorpions now led 14-6 despite still not having a first down to our credit.

Gorillas Ball: There was only time left for the kickoff which we covered extremely well.

At Half Time the score was Skorpions 14 - Gorillas 6.

DC Daniel Donati
making some hal-time adjustments

A good crowd was still on hand
even though the Second Half was
kicking off at about 10:15 p.m.

 Skorpions in white on Defense


Skorpions Ball: Another great kickoff return by Dylan Auriemma set us up deep in Gorillas territory but our drive, after picking up a few previously elusive first downs, our drive stalled at the ten yard line where we missed a 32 yard field goal.

Gorillas Ball: Our Defense rose to the occasion again, 3&O-P #4 but then it happened again. The fierce punt block rush throughout the First Half had gotten into the punter's head. He rushed his punt and shanked it only 12 yards past the line of scrimmage.

You can win a lot of football games if you are solid on Defense and emphasize the Kicking Game for at least 20 minutes at every practice.

Skorpions Ball: A decent drive once again bogged down and we turned the ball over on downs at the Gorillas' 12 yard line.

Gorillas Ball: They were able to get one play off before the period ended with the score still Skorpions 14 - Gorillas 6.

 The LOS


Gorillas Ball: Their Third Quarter ending drive continued but was snuffed out by a fumble recovery by SS Stefano Granelli.

Skorpions Ball: QB Omar Passera finished the drive with a five yard TD run, Dario D'Adelfio's PAT was perfect again and the Skorpions extended our lead to 21-6.

Gorillas Ball: Easily the best drive of the game by the home team, the Gorillas were aided by back-to-back Skorpion pass interference and horse collar penalties. The Gorillas QB scored on a one yard keeper. The Gorillas two point conversion attempt turned out to be an incomplete pass. The Skorpions lead had been cut to 21-12.

Skorpions Ball: There was just a little over two minutes left in the game so we trotted out our Hands Team on the ensuing kickoff expecting a Gorillas on-side kick. The Gorillas kicked it deep and our well-coached deer return man executed a short return before going to a knee to end the play without any chance of a fumble in this late game situation.

We kept the ball on the ground to eat up both the clock and the Gorillas remaining timeouts but we were still faced with 3&O-P #5

Stefano Granelli uncorked a dandy of a punt and Dylan Auriemma made a fine open-field tackle to keep the Gorillas deep in their own territory with only seconds left.

Gorillas Ball: The Gorillas ran one harmless play and it was over.

Our Hammer Time

Stefano, a Defensive Co-Captain, had an excellent night punting, kicked off well, recovered a Gorillas fumble and made several key tackles to earn the coveted Red Hammer tonight.

 Still lots of work to do but it
was a good Derby win for your

 QB Omar Passera did lots
of good things tonight

He was keen on telling me that he knew he could play better and I tend to believe that he will.

Having a post-game beer with
LB Tony Mitrano

And sporting my traditional "Victory Vest."

I heard later that Milan fashion critics were at the game and they were raving about the avant-garde "Victory Vest."

Look for them on the Giorgio Armani runways soon1

Tony Mitrano's football tattoo

Bt the time that the game was over, the players showered and the beer gone, it was well after midnight.

Only one thing to do . . .

Continue the celebration at
the Team Bar!

Outstanding Skorpion NG
Andrea Gorini runs the Bellavista Café

CB/K Dario "Acqua Santa" D'Adelfio
is a player!

QB Gianluca Arena was enjoying
the celebration

With Dario, the Vest and Gianluca

It is great coaching TEAM FIRST
people like Gianluca

By the time I got back to the Villa Skorpion, it was well after 3:00 a.m. Sunday morning!


Division II
Week #1 Results

As a reminder, in 2018 there are 24 teams in Italy's Second Division. These 24 clubs are then divided into six, four team conferences named Groups A, B, C, D, E and F.

During the course of the season, each club plays its three Group rivals twice and also has two non-Group games.

This opening weekend of the campaign featured eight games involving obviously only 16 of the 24 DII clubs. Byes are a staple of schedules in all EuroBall countries.

For ease in our weekend updates, I will only deal with games involving our Group C teams and our two non-Group C opponents the Group A Sant'Agata Knights and the Group F Sarzana Red Jackets.

Saturday, February 24
Varese Skorpions (1-0) 21 - Varese Gorillas (0-1) 12

Sunday, February 25
Modena Vipers (1-0) 47 - Sarzana Red Jackets (0-1) 6

Busto Arsizio Blue Storms (0-0)
Cagliari Crusaders (0-0)
Sant'Agata Knights (0-0)

1. Varese Skorpions 1-0
2T. Busto Arsizio Blue Storms 0-0
2T. Cagliari Crusaders 0-0
4. Varese Gorillas 0-1

Saturday, March 3
Sant'Agata Knights (0-0) at Bologna Warriors (0-0)

Sunday, March 4
Cagliari Crusaders (0-0) at Varese Skorpions (1-0)
Varese Gorillas (0-1) at Busto Arsizio Blue Storms (0-0)

Sarzana Red Jackets (0-1)



David said...

I count eight penalties in your game report, incluidng three sets of back-to-back. Active officiating?

George said...

In fairness to the refs, it was their first game of the season too.