Sunday, April 8, 2018

A Return to the Game Field, Italian Efficiency and a HUGE Surprise Visit!

Saturday, 7 April, 2018

It had been a long three weeks since our last game, but finally it was . . . 

. . . GAME DAY!

Of course, there would be complications of the typical Italian organizational sort.

 Problem #1

Our game has been scheduled to start at 6:30 p.m. since the DII schedule was first published about three months ago.

I very much would have liked to have gone to see this all-star game at the big stadium in Varese, only about a 15 minute drive from the Villa Skorpion, but it was scheduled to start at 3:00 p.m. today and our players would be reporting to the field for taping at 4:00 p.m.

There was just no way for me to justify going to that game and probably being late for our pre-game preparation.

Problem #2

With our game starting at 6:30 p.m. and ending at about 9:00 p.m., I would still have time to drive about 45 minutes to the city of Desio to watch the second half our next opponents, the Sarzana Red Jackets (0-3), game against the Monza e Brianza Hammers (3-0) which did not kickoff until 9:00 p.m.

By the way, the Red Jackets would post a big upset in beating the Hammers 14-0 tonight.

Since we have no video on the Red Jackets, as they did not respond to our HUDL request for a video exchange this week, I felt that it was crucial for me to at least get a first hand look at the Red Jackets' style of play and personnel.

Now for the way these two problems became interrelated.

As it turned out three of our games officials were also officiating the all-star game at 3:00 p.m.

They contacted Giorgio Nardi, our GM, just before 3:00 p.m. to say that they would be late and to push back the starting time to 7:00 p.m.

Thus, getting to the Red Jackets game to see the second half became really difficult.

Oh, but it got better.

We got another message from the same officials at about 6:00 p.m. that they would be even later and to move the kickoff back another 15 minutes to 7:15 p.m.

So much for the Red Jackets game.

The reason for all of this was again a bizarre slice of life in Italy.

It seems that the American all-star team, as the obvious visiting squad, showed up in white, road jerseys.

The Blue Team, as all Italian National Teams in all sports are called, also came out wearing white jerseys. As I understood it, that game's kickoff was delayed until some non-white jerseys were discovered.

Meanwhile, back at Skorpion Field . . .

Sant'Agata Knights (0-3)
Varese Skorpions (1-1)

This was the first of our two back-to-back non-Group C games with the Red Jackets game in Sarzana next weekend being the other one.

As to our records to date:

Sant'Agata Knights
Members of Group A
 Lost to the Bologna Warriors (2-0) 0-34
Lost to the Palermo Sharks (2-0) 10-20
Lost to the Bologna Braves (1-2) 0-24

Varese Skorpions
Members of Group C
Beat the Varese Gorillas (0-2) 21-12
Lost to the Busto Arsizio Blue Storms (2-0) 0-16

The new Stadium addition
was completed on time and
under budget!

That Luxury Box at the top looks SWEET!

Skorpions Field was lined and ready

The Souvenir Stand was
fully stocked and ready

The coaches and players were a bit
anxious over the late start time

Nothing that a few pre-game smokes and beers couldn't calm down though.

As I sat taking the above picture, I noticed three men in game gear for some unknown team striding in from the parking lot. Since I didn't recognize the jerseys, I just assumed that they were from some other team come to watch/scout the game.

Then as they approached closer, I realized . . .

They were THUN TIGERS!

Marco Feller, Bruno Krebs and Stephan Pulver were IN THE HOUSE!

All three were excellent Offensive Linemen for us back in 2012 when I was the Head Coach of the Tigers.

They made the four hour drive from Thun to watch our game and support the Skorpions.

Talk about a touching, pleasant surprise, WOW!

When they told me that two more Tigers would be going us I was even more ecstatic to see these old teammates.

More on that later.

On to the game of which I am sure that the Skorpions Team Photographers will be posting numerous pictures in the next few days.

 Captains Out

Our Offense came to play today


Skorpions Ball: Nicolas Principi had a good kickoff return for us that started our opening drive at our 43 yard line. The big play of the drive for the Skorpions was a 25 yard pass completion from Omar Passera to Martino Piazzi. The drive ended with a ten yard TD run by 17 year old Alessandro Brovelli. A bad PAT snap led to an incomplete pass but the Skorpions were leading 6-0.

Knights Ball: Our kickoff team hustled down the field and lots of Skorpions were in on the tackle at the Knights 19 yard line. OLB Stefano Granelli made two sensational tackles for loss and we had ourselves a Three & Out Punt situation.

Skorpions Ball: We followed our impressive opening drive with a not so impressive Three & Out Punt.

Knights Ball: The Knights picked up a first down before being forced to punt.

Skorpions Ball: After the first play of this drive, the First Quarter came to and end with the Skorpions leading 6-0.


Varese Ball: Our drive that started in the First Quarter continued. Ema Della Bosca had a sparkling 20 yard run on this drive that ended with a 55 yard TD pass from Omar Passera to Martino Piazza. Another bad PAT snap led to another incomplete pass but the Skorpions were leading 12-0 and we were about to make the major mistake of relaxing during a contest.

Sant'Agata Ball: Davide Betto made a nice tackle on the ensuing kickoff but two 15 yard penalties on the Skorpions aided the Knights who scored a TD on a two yard run by their QB. We blocked their PAT attempt and our lead was now cut to 12-6.

Varese Ball: A Three & Out Punt rolled to end the First Half with your Varese Skorpions leading 12-6.

QB Omar Passera


Knights Ball: Stefano Granelli kicked the ball through the end zone to start the Second Half. The Knights ran three reverse plays for big yardage on this drive, a play that we had prepared for all week but obviously not enough. The last of these reverses was good for a 13 yard TD. We again blocked their PAT attempt but the game just got rebooted with the score now tied 12-12.

Skorpions Ball: Great blocking by our Offensive Line on this drive led to good runs by Ema Della Bosca and Alessandro Brovelli. Our Offense responded well to the Knights come back attempt as Omar Passera found Pietro Limido in the corner of the end zone for a 20 yard TD pass, Omar's second of the game. This time the PAT snap was good but the kick sailed wide left. The Skorpions led again 18-12.

Knights Ball: Good kickoff team coverage again set our defense up deep in Knights territory. A huge broken up pass by CB Dario D'Adelfio was quickly followed by a forced fumble by jubilant NG Andrea Gorini that OLB Stefano Granelli recovered setting the offense up with a short field.

Skorpions Ball: Alesandro Brovelli ran the ball tough again but we turned the ball over on downs, credit to the Knights defense on this drive.

Knights Ball: A well timed broken up pass by SS Nicolas Principe came as the Third Quarter ended with the score Varese 18 - Sant'Agata 12.


Sant'Agata Ball: The Knights' drive that started in the Third Quarter ended quickly as DE Tomas Pedotti recorded a QB sack-fumble that MLB Ivan "Swito" "The Mad Russian" Raso recovered.

Varese Ball: QB Omar Passera continued his "Mad Bomber" performance with his third TD pass of the day, this one a 20 yard strike to Martino Piazzi, his second TD grab of the day. Dario D'Adelfio added the extra point to up the Varese lead to 25-12.

Sant'Agata Ball: The Knights went on a time consuming, ground oriented drive that was aided by another Skorpion penalty and a weird no-call by the officials. Now remember that we play by NCAA rules in Italy. On yet another reverse by the Knights, their ball carrier slipped and fell flat on the ground, got up and ran for another five yards and a first down. Only all of the officials missed this obvious call. The Knights would score a TD on a one yard dive play to their full back. Their try for two points on a run failed and the score was now Skorpions 25 - Knights 18.

Varese Ball: With only ten seconds left in the game, the Hands Team was on the field for a possible onside kick. Nicolas Principi executed the recovery of the Knights' squib kick to perfection and after one play, the game was over.


We improved to 2-1 on the season and play our final non-Group C game at the home field of the Group F Sarzana Red Jackets (1-3) next Sunday at 3:00 p.m.


Sant'Agata (0-4) will host the Varese Gorillas (0-2) next Saturday at 8:30 p.m.

As for that 2012 Thun Tigers reunion . . .

The whole gang was here
after the Knights game!

Left to Right: Stephan Pulver, Marco Feller, Daniel Gygax, Mathias Krebs and Bruno Krebs. No, Mathias and Bruno are not related.

Can you guess which one is not an Offensive Lineman?

We had a great time reliving old war stories and catching up after the game in the Skorpion Field snack bar area.

Again, I was really touched by the effort they made to come to the game but it was well past 10:00 p.m and they still had a four hour drive back to Thun ahead of them.

As I've stated many times before, the best thing about EuroBall is the people that you meet and the friendships that are formed.

I could not end this post without adding this cartoon that a teammate drew of Mathias back in 2012 when he led the known universe in Dying Cockroach Blocks.

He led our team in 2012
with an astounding
29 Dying Cockroach Blocks

What a GREAT day
for American football!


David said...

I believe this is the first time I have ever seen the phrase "Italian Efficiency." I am not surprised to learn it was used in gest.

So very cool about the Thun players showing up.

George said...

These five Thun Tigers taking an eight hour round trip drive to see our game yesterday is something that I will never forget!