Monday, April 16, 2018

A Bleak Day in Sarzana, Italy

Sunday, 15 April, 2018

It will be possible in only . . .

. . . more days to . . .

. . . spend a few glorious days with my bride
somewhere on the Mediterranean, Tyrrhenian, Ionian, Ligurian
and/or Adriatic Sea Coast

So many pristine beaches to choose from with so little time left in EuroBall Adventure XII.

Speaking of EuroBall XII . . .


Despite the Red Jackets 1-3
record, I expected a tough game

Boy was I ever correct for once!

The Sarzana Red Jackets were 0-3 in what most consider one of the toughest DII groups, Group F.

Last weekend, against the then undefeated, Group D leading Monza Brianza Hammers, the Red Jackets won comfortably 14-0. On video, Sarzana looked quite formidable with a standout QB leading their attack.

Let's take a look at the two team's seasons to date:

Group F (1-3)
Lost to the Modena Vipers (4-0) 6-47
Lost to the Brescia Bengals (2-2) 16-18
Lost to Reggio Emilia Hogs (4-1) 20-35
Beat the Monza Brianna Hammers (4-1) 14-0

Group C (2-1)
Beat the Varese Gorillas (0-3) 21-12
Lost to the Busto Arsizio Blue Storms (4-0) 0-16
Beat the Sant'Agata Knights (1-4) 25-18

Skorpions players at about 8:45 a.m.
before loading the Pullman bus
for the three hour drive to Sarzana

That is U13 coach and today's "GET BACK!" coach Marianna "Tex" Tessera with her back to us.

Davide Betto taking a
snooze on the Pullman

After the first two hours of our drive,
it was time for the traditional
Autogrill stop!

We all needed some combination of a bathroom, smoking, stretching, lunch, coffee break at this point and it Italy, on a road trip, that means only one place, the Autogrill.

Lunch for all of us

Meat products for the road

Falcon (SS) Nicolas Principi
found a new friend at the Autogrill

Fully sated in one way, shape or fashion, we headed on to Sarzana.

We had a problem at the end of our journey, Sarzana's numerous ancient, twisting, narrow lanes leading to the stadium that were originally built for ox carts not for Pullmans.

This final leg even featured possibly going under a bridge that was way too short for our Pullman. Fortunately, our driver saw a warning side for the low bridge far enough in advance to be able to turnaround in an intersection safely.

Finally, we were at . . . 

Sarzana's Campo Sportivo Isoppo

Another European American football
Field of Dreams!

Pre-Game Document Check
for Simone "Ciccio" Magnarelli

As usual, there should several photos from the game posted on-line by our team photographers in the next few days that I will re-post for your viewing pleasure.

Kickoff Time!

Red Jackets Ball: Their first play was a 50 yard run, quickly establishing the tone for the entire game. A nine yard TD pass followed by a 2-point pass play gave the Red Jackets a much too easy 8-0 lead.

Skorpions Ball: Nicolas Principi had a fine KO Return out to our 42 yard line that our Offense capitalized on with a 13 yard TD pass from Omar Passera to Martino Piazzi. Our PAT holder, Gianluca Arena, audibled into a 2-point pass play that he completed to Principi. The score was tied at 8-8.

Red Jackets Ball: The boys from Sarzana ran the ball at will with a five yard Power play accounting for the TD. The Red Jackets QB completed another 2-point pass to raise the Sarzana lead to 16-8.

Skorpions Ball: Ema Marcelli's KO Return again gave us good field position and several tough runs by 17 year old Alessandro Brovelli got us deep into Red Jackets' territory as the First Quarter ended with the score Sarzana 16 - Varese 8.

Varese Ball: The promising drive that started in the First Quarter ended quickly on our first interception of the season on the second stanzas first play.

Sarzana Ball: A 75 yard TD pass followed by the Red Jackets' third successful 2-point pass play to move the marker to 24-8 in favor of the Red Jackets.

Varese Ball: RB Ema Della Bosca had a great, physical run after catching a pass followed by another physical run by ABrovelli. WR Martino Piazzi had some fabulous down field stalk blocks on this drive I must add. Passera connected with Piazzi again, this time for a nine yard TD play. Holder Arena called for another audible pass play on the PAT and hit Giacomo Micheli successfully for two more Skorpion points. The tally was now Red Jackets 24 - Skorpions 16.

Sarzana Ball: The Red Jackets mixed up their runs and passes well on this drive but CB Andrea Mora broke up a fourth down pass to save the day.

Varese Ball: QB Omar Passera showed his toughness and leadership once again on this short drive as the First Half came to a close with the score Sarzana 24 - Varese 16.

Skorpions Ball: Disaster struck as we fumbled the ball away on our first play at our own 19 yard line.

Red Jackets Ball: Wasting no time, the Sarzana QB completed an 11 yard TD pass but his two point pass was incomplete. Sarzana was in control now leading 30-16.

Alessandro Brovelli

Varese Ball: A solid drive featuring the blocking and running of RBs Della Bosca and Brovelli ended with a good punt down to the 18 yard line.

Red Jackets Ball: A key 4th and 9 pass completion led to another Sarzana TD, this time on a one yard run. The two point pass attempt was incomplete. At 36-16, things were looking good for the home team.

Skorpions Ball: Della Bosca had an excellent KO Return out to our 45 yard line that ended with a Red Jackets player making an illegal horse collar tackle, we had outstanding field position. Sixteen year old Sergio "Rodrigo Blankenship" Montalbetti entered the game at RB and ran extremely well as the Third Quarter ended with the Red Jackets in control 36-16.

Varese Ball: This drive that started in the Third Quarter ended with the Skorpions turning the ball over on downs deep in Saran's end of the field.

Sarzana Ball: Lots of time consuming running on this drive that ended with a six yard TD pass and another successful 2-point pass play. With the clock running down, the game was officially out of reach with Sarzana ahead 44-16.

Cesare Molteni
The Skorpions 16 year old
starting Left Guard

Varese Ball: With all of our back-up players in the game, we had our first Three & Out, Punt situation.

Sarzana Ball: With all of their back-up players in the game, they had their first Three & Out, Punt situation.

Sergio "Rodrigo Blankenship" Montalbetti

Varese Ball: RB Montalbetti continued to successfully pound the rock as the game mercifully ended.

We are now 2-2 as we reached the half way point in the 2018 campaign while the Red Jackets improved to 2-3 with only three more rugged Group F games left on their schedule.

We will be back in Group C play next weekend, making up a snowed out game from back in early March hosting the 1-3 Cagliari Crusaders.

After enjoying back-to-back BYE weekends, the Red Jackets will take on their Group F leading Modena Vipers (4-0) on their home field in early May.

To sum up our game, I give you the thoughts of legendary, Hall of Fame Ohio State University Football Coach Woody Hayes on a day like we had today . . .

Our souls are clean to be sure

Back to work on Tuesday night, "Hard Work WORKS!"

Now for our weekly look at the happenings at Italy's Division II of American football. Again, remember that 24 clubs compete at this level in six Groups.

As is usual, I will only devote this recap to the Skorpions and the teams that we play.

Division II - Week in Review

Week #7 Results
Sarzana Red Jackets (2-3) 44
Varese Skorpions (2-2) 16

Sant'Agata Knights (1-4) 43
Varese Gorillas (0-3) 20

Verona Mastini (2-2) 42
Cagliari Crusaders (1-3) 0

Busto Arsizio Blue Storms (4-0) 20
Isonzo Sentinels (0-4) 9

Group C Standings
1. Busto Arsizio Blue Storms 4-0
2. Varese Skorpions 2-2
3. Cagliari Crusaders 1-3
4. Varese Gorillas 0-3

Week #8 Schedule
Saturday, April 21st:
Varese Gorillas (0-3)
at Busto Arsizio Blue Storms (4-0)

Sunday, April 22nd:
Cagliari Crusaders (1-3)
at Varese Skorpions (2-2)

Sant'Agata Knights (1-4)
Sarzana Red Jackets (2-3)


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