Monday, April 23, 2018

GAME DAY: The Cagliari Crusaders Invade Skorpion Field

Sunday, 22 April, 2018

Week 8 of the 2018 FIDAF DII season was upon us and, for the Skorpions, Sunday was . . .

. . . GAME DAY!

But this extremely hot Game Day was a little more special for me because . . .

 The Team was back together!

Note my weak attempt at a bent knee hitting stance to try to make Laurie look a bit taller.

Laurie giving me my
final pre-game instructions

 A good look at both sides
of the 2018 Skorpion Helmet

Skorpion Coordinators

That is Offensive Coordinator Gigi Bravin on the left shaking hands with Defensive Coordinator Daniele Donati.

Marianna "Tex" Tessera
Italia's #1 Get Back Coach

Four of the BEST members of the
Skorpion Family
Team Photo taking during pre-game

Fired Up and Ready!

 Last words of Wisdom

 Cagliari Crusaders (1-3) at
Varese Skorpions (2-2)

Let's take a look at how the season has gone for these two Group C clubs.

Cagliari Crusaders
1 Win -3 Losses
Beat the Varese Gorillas (0-4) 16-0
Lost to the Busto Arsizio Blue Storms (5-0) 6-31
Lost to the Modena Vipers (5-0) 17-49
Lost to the Verona Mastini (2-2) 0-42

Varese Skorpions
2 Wins - 2 Losses
Beat the Varese Gorillas (0-4) 21-12
Lost to the Busto Arsizio Blue Storms (5-0) 0-16
Beat the Sant'Agata Knights (1-4) 25-18
Lost to the Sarzana Red Jackets (2-3) 16-44

Skorpions Ball: The first drive of the game was a good one for the men from Varese. The running of Alessandro Brovelli and a clutch third down catch by Martino Piazzi set the Skorpions up for the first score of the game, a 25 yard TD strike from QB Omar Passera to Piazzi. Stefano Granelli's PAT kick was true and the Skorpions had the early 7-0 lead.

Hard charging #4 Alessandro Brovelli
 Giacomo "Jack" Micheli
about to pop out from behind a
good block by #54 Marco Fortunate

#17 Ema Della Bosca
running with the rock

Crusaders Ball: They came out in a Quad receivers formation that we had not seen before but our DC, Dani Donati, made a good adjustment on the fly and the Crusders turned the ball over on downs.

#19 QB Omar Passera running
behind some good blocking

 Omar Passera's attempt at punishing
a would-be tackler

A not so good and ill advised attempt may I add.

Ema Della Bosca headed for SIX!

Skorpions Ball: A good run by Omar Passera went to waste due to a third down Interception.

Omar under HEAVY pressure

Conferring with Omar on the sideline

He has so many great qualities that you look for in a QB. He is a hard worker that has earned the respect of all of the Skorpion Family. He is a calm, lead by example leader, the kind that I love. He gets neither too high nor too low during a game, obviously he has never been to La Scala.

The Skorpions Kick Off team
played well today

Crusaders Ball: The Defense put out the fire, Three & Out, Punt #1 of the contest.

Running to a Crusaders WR Screen

DE Tomas Pedotti applying pressure

Nicolas Principi sniffed out this

Skorpions Ball: Piazzi made a great grab and Passera had another good run as the First Quarter came to a close with Varese leading 7-0.

Looks like #75 Center Paolo Momtonati
earned himself a Dying Cockroach decal

 GREAT catch by Martino Piazzi!

Varese Ball: The Skorpions drive that started near the end of the First Quarter continued. Ema Della Bosca had some good runs before capping this drive with a one yard TD romp. Granelli's PAT kick sailed through the uprights and the Varese lead was now 14-0.

Della Bosca running with two
pulling linemen in the lead

Cagliari Ball: Great Kick Off team coverage downed the Crusader returner at the 15 yard line. A Crusader RB could not corral a toss sweep pitch but OLB Stefano Granelli did. Twenty yards later we had our first Scoop & Score of the season. The PAT was wide right but the Skorpions were cruising with a 20-0 lead.

Stefano Granelli scooping . . .

. . . and SCORING!

#87 NG Andrea Gorini

Cagliari Ball: The Crusaders return man slipped at the 18 yard line giving our Defense great field position again. After getting a couple of first downs, the Crusaders punted.
#88 WR Matteo Mozzanica for SIX!

WR Martino Piazzi had another
EXCELLENT day for the Skorpions!

Varese Ball: Big plays by first a Piazzi catch and then a Passera run, led to another Passera TD pass. This TD strike was good for 30 yards to WR Matteo Mozzanica. Granelli made his PAT and the Skorpion lead grew to 27-0.

Pressuring the new Crusaders QB

DE Tomas Pedotti to the rescue

Skorpion Swarm!

Cagliari Ball: The Crusaders made a QB switch on this drive but the First Half came to a close with the Cagliari offensive unit at mid-field. At the intermission it was Skorpions 27 - Crusaders 0.

Crusaders Ball: Granelli drove his kick off into the end zone for a touchback and the Skorpion defense recorded their second Three & Out, Punt of the game. 

 Omar Passera is loose
in the secondary again

An apparent Andrea Mora interception
was nullified by an off sides penalty

SS Nicolas Principi on the tackle

Skorpions Ball: On the first play of the drive, QB Omar Passera called his own number and scooted 49 yards to a TD! Granelli again added the PAT and it was now 34-0 in favor of the beloved home team.

This would be Omar's last play of the game as we started to clear the bench and get all of our back-up players some well deserved playing time.

On the day Omar accounted for three TDs, two through the air and one on the ground plus lots and lots of yardage.

Could not happen to a nicer or more dedicated young man!

Omar about to . . .

. . . SCORE!

Granelli Kicking Off

Crusaders Ball: The Skorpion Defense forced the third Three & Out, Punt of the game.

Nicolas Principi on a Punt Return

Same Punt return a bit later

Principi on a QB Sack-Fumble,
note the football flying to the right

Our refereeing crew today was a good one overall but did make a strange call on this play. They ruled it a QB sack indeed but that there was no fumble.


Skorpions Ball: The Red and Black turned the ball over on downs at mid-field. In retrospect we should have punted, bad call by the Head Coach.

"Don't worry Gianluca, Laurie told
me that you are doing GREAT!"

A fourth down sack by Nicolas Principi

Crusaders Ball: Nicolas Principi's fourth down QB sack snuffs out the latest Cagliari drive.

 Gianluca Arena at the helm
of the Skorpion offense

A Stefano Granelli punt

Skorpions Ball: A fumble on the first play was not good.

Pass Rush Pressure by
#66 MLB Marco Andreoli
and #11 DE Tomas Pedotti

Crusaders Ball: Our shutout bid came to an end thankfully with a nine yard Crusaders TD pass followed by a successful two point PAT to make the score 34-8 in favor of the Skorpions as the Third Quarter ended.

I said "thankfully" because of my belief that shutouts are Fascist.

Can I say that in Italia?

Varese Ball: QB Gianluca Arena connected with Emanuele Mascelli for a big play but the Skorpions would eventually have to punt.

Cagliari Ball: WR Mascelli also plays FS and intercepted a tipped pass to end this Crusaders drive.

Varese Ball: A Pick Six by the Crusaders and a missed two point pass now make the score 34-14 with Varese still in charge.

While definitely against Fascism, I am not 100% into this style of Socialism. It must stop now!

Varese Ball: Tomas Pedotti, part of our front line on our Mani (Hands) Team deftly recovered the Skorpions on-side kick.  Unfortunately we fumbled the ball back to the Crusaders a few plays later.

Cagliari Ball: The Crusaders had nothing to lose at this point and fake a punt that 16 year old LB Stefano Lusuriello sniffs out tackling the Crusaders punter well short of the first down marker.

Varese Ball: This drive was highlighted by the absolute best play call in American football . . .

. . . VICTORY formation, TAKE A KNEE!

 Skorpion WR Matteo Mozzanica
sporting a 1960s
University of Washington
Badge of Honor
a bleeding cut at the top of his nose

Updated Season Records 
Varese Skorpions 3-2
Cagliari Crusaders 1-4

Now for the post-game talks and the coveted Game Hammer presentation.

Certainly the Hammer could have gone to QB Omar Passera, OLB/K/P Stefano Granelli or SS/FB/Punt Returner Nicolas Principi, they all had tremendous games.

But I believed, as did the rest of the staff, that one player had perhaps the game of his life today.

Just one Game Hammer
to just one Skorpion . . .

NG Andrea Gorini!

Andrea is an amazing man having been a top level hockey player, an champion aerobics dancer, a horseman and now, most importantly, the owner of the team bar in Varese, the Bellavista Café. Andrea recorded close to ten tackles today and provided a lot of energy for the Skorpion defense today.

 The oldest Skorpion coach and player
posing for a cherished photo!

Speaking of cherished photos

Proseccos for everyone in the
Skorpion Snack Bar

Laurie at the Bellavita

A long Bellavita outdoor
table full of the Skorpion Family
on a hot Sunday night 

RB Ema Della Bosca,
NG Andrea Gorini and
SS Nicolas Principi

Besides all having great games today, they are the hard working backbone of the Bellvita Café.

Division II - Week in Review

Week #8 Results
Varese Skorpions (3-2) 34
Cagliari Crusaders (1-4) 14

Busto Arsizio Blue Storms (5-0) 40
Varese Gorillas (0-4) 6

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

Group C Standings
1. Busto Arsizio Blue Storms 5-0
2. Varese Skorpions 3-2
3. Cagliari Crusaders 1-4
4. Varese Gorillas 0-4

Week #9 Schedule
Saturday, April 28th:
Varese Gorillas (0-4) at Varese Skorpions (3-2)
Sant'Agata Knights (1-4) at Bologna Braves (2-3)

Busto Arsizio Blue Storms (5-0)
Cagliari Crusaders (1-4)
Sarzana Red Jackets (2-3)

The Latest DII Playoff Rankings

All six Group Champions and all six second place teams will make the DII playoffs.

Currently seeded 9th, our Skorpions would be playing a Wild Card game the weekend of June 9-10.

But in the meantime . . .

We still need to

Given the closeness of our first Gorillas game, a hard fought 21-12 Skorpions victory back in Week #1, the great effort that we saw the Gorillas put forth against the Blue Storms Saturday night and the Derby aspect of this contest, we are in for a tough game!

To sum up this glorious Sunday in Lombardia . . .

"It's GREAT to Be a Skorpion!

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