Sunday, March 10, 2019

Milano Rhinos Game

Saturday, 9 March, 2019

It was Game Day for the Skorpions and our home opener which meant that it was going to be a long day.

Because of the depth of pride in the Skorpion Family, many of us were at Skorpion Field at 9:00 a.m. to start the process of getting our stadium and field ready for the day's festivities.

Kickoff was scheduled for 6:30 p.m., so we had plenty of time to prepare.

Locker Room Pride

 Skorpion Field at 9:00 a.m.

 Giorgio Nardi getting the paint
ready to line the field as our LBs watch

 The first line is done!

 What are the LBs up to?

 Ah, the LBs are adding numbers
to the venue

 Three hours later, at noon,
Skorpion Field was both pristine
and ready for action

Of course, in true Skorpion tradition,
food and beverages were frequently part
of the work force's labor routine

We all headed home for a few hours to have a proper lunch and rest a bit before returning to Skorpion Field for our second game of the 2019 season.

Upon our return, we found our
flag football teams hard at work

Our opponents, the Milano Rhinos,
arrived early for the contest

Skorpion QBs warming up

 Our players like warming-up
and stretching sans shoulder pads

 Document Checks

 What, me worry?

 QB Giacomo "Jack" Micheli
loosening up

A good leader, Jack played much better today than last week.

Almost time for kickoff

A reminder about the Kicking Game
with LB Stefano "Lusu" Lusuriello

It was finally time for the game . . . 

Milano Rhinos (0-0)


Varese Skorpions (1-0)

This figured to be a tough game for two reasons.

First, since the Rhinos had not played a game yet, we had no real idea of what exactly to expect from them and their current roster of talented players.

Of secondary concern was the fact that the Rhinos have been a long time DI team that dropped down to DII this season. Their players were used to playing at, by definition, a higher level of competition. The Rhinos had as recently as 2016 won the DI Super Bowl and played in the DI Super Bowl again in 2017.

Stefano Granelli starting the game
with a great kickoff

First Quarter:
Rhinos Ball: Our kickoff team provided great coverage and tackled the Milano returner at the 15 yard line. The Rhinos kept us off balance by mixing running and passing plays. They hit a perfectly thrown bomb for a 48 yard TD, the PAT was good and the Rhinos had the early lead 7-0.

Skorpions Ball: Three and Out, Punt. Stefano Granelli's punt was a good one, he had a terrific day both punting and kicking the ball against the Rhinos.

Rhinos Ball: With the aid of penalties on the Rhinos, our defense forced a punt.

Defense running to the ball

Skorpions Ball: We had an excellent sweep run by Emanuele "Masch" Mascelli to keep the drive alive but would eventually have to punt.

Rhinos Ball: The Rhinos broke off a long run but FS Simone Tettamanti hustled to the ball, stripped the ball carrier and the resulting fumble was recovered by hustling DE Davide Vuolo. BIG PLAY!

#87 NG Andrea Gorini and
#22 CB Andrea Mora on the tackle

Too many big chunk run
plays by the Rhinos today

Skorpions Ball: The Skorpions were driving as the First Quarter ended with the score Milano 7 - Varese 0.

 #58 LB Ivan "Swito' Raso blitzing

Second Quarter:
Varese Ball: The drive that started in the First Quarter continued as QB Giacomo "Jack" Micheli found WRs Martino Piazzi and Matteo "Mozza" Mozzanica for big gains. The drive stalled but Stefano Granelli drilled a 39 yard Field Goal. The Milano lead was now 7-3.

Stefano's FG would have been good
from at least another 10 yards

Milano Ball: A long pass on a Seam Route and a ten yard, precision option play led to another Rhinos' TD. The PAT was perfect and the Rhinos widened their lead to 14-3.

Varese Ball: Mozza's excellent kickoff return was for naught, Three & Out, Punt.

Milano Ball: We were on our heels for much of this drive but eventually came around and made a fourth down stop.

Varese Ball: We showed some positive signs on this possession but a penalty hurt us and we punted to end the First Half with the score Rhinos 14 - Skorpions 3.

The Pit

Third Quarter:
Skorpions Ball: Another solid kickoff return by Mozza gave us good field position at the 40 yard line. QB "Jack" Micheli made an absolutely perfect pass on our first play connecting with WR Martino Piazzi and 60 yards later we had ourselves a TD! Granelli's PAT was automatic and the Skorpions now trailed by a mere four points, Rhinos 14 - Skorpions 10.

Rhinos Ball: Their QB's scrambling hurt us and their drive ended with another option based TD from five yards out. The PAT was good as the Rhinos responded well to our TD. The score was now Milano 21 - Varese 10.

Skorpions Ball: A fine pass play for over 20 yards from Jack to Mozza was wasted as two consecutive bad shotgun snaps effectively killed the drive and forced a punt.

 #92 DE Davide Vuolo pass rushing

Rhinos Ball: Thanks to a huge QB Sack by Ivan "Raso" Swito, the Rhinos drive was of the Three and Out, Punt variety.

Skorpions Ball: Nil, nada, zip. Three and Out, Punt.

Rhinos Ball: LB Stefano "Lusu" Lusuriello made a key tackle for loss as the Third Quarter came to an end with the score Rhinos 21 - Skorpions 10.

WR Mozza on a Big Chunk play

Fourth Quarter:
Milano Ball: The Rhinos' drive that started in the Third Quarter continued. Their passing game made necessary plays but our defense held them to a 30 yard Field Goal that hit the upright and glanced inside. The Rhinos were now leading 24-10.

Our Defense was under duress but
kept fighting all game long

Varese Ball: We moved the ball well after another outstanding kickoff return by Mozza. We lost out on a huge WR screen play when we were called for a lineman downfield. It was a SCREEN PASS for goodness sake with the WR catching the ball about four yards behind the line of scrimmage which, according to the rules of American football, means that linemen can be downfield. The ref just looked at me as I stated our case and said nothing. We eventually punted.

Milano Ball: Our defense showed great courage, Three & Out, Punt!

Varese Ball: Three and Out, Punt.

Milano Ball: Three & Out, Punt.

 Our offense was inconsistent tonight
but showed many signs of improvement
including ZERO turnovers after five
turnovers last week

Mozza again on a key pass reception

Varese Ball: With time running out, we went for it on fourth down and were sacked.

Milano Ball: The Rhinos ran the ball a couple of times to end the game, the Final Score was . . .

Sometimes you win,
sometimes you learn

The result was not what we wanted but I was encouraged by our effort and consistent displays of courage throughout the night.

We can continue to build on these two principles.

 A disappointed Matteo "Mozza" Mozzanica's
efforts earned him the coveted
Game Hammer

We have a bye next weekend and are then scheduled to play the Palermo Sharks (1-0) at home on Saturday, March 23rd at 11:30 a.m.

Now, let's take a look at . . . 
. . . what happened this weekend
in Italian DII action


Group A

Group A Week #3 Results
Milano Rhinos (1-0) 24
Varese Skorpions (1-1) 10

Cernusco Daemons (2-0) 24
Busto Arsizio Blue Storms (0-2) 9

Brescia Bengals (1-1) 41
Varese Gorillas (0-2) 35

Group A Standings
1. Cernusco Daemons 2-0
2T. Milano Rhinos 1-0
Monza Brianza Hammers 1-0
Palermo Sharks 1-0
5T. Brescia Bengals 1-1
Varese Skorpions 1-1
7. Canavese Mastifs 0-1
8T. Busto Arsizio Blue Storms 0-1
Varese Gorillas 0-1

Group A Week #4 Schedule
Saturday, March 16
Palermo Sharks (1-0) at
Varese Gorillas (0-2)

Brescia Bengals (1-1) at
Canavese Mastifs (0-1)

Busto Arsizio Blue Storms (0-2)
Cernusco Daemons (2-0)
Milano Rhinos (1-0)
Monza Brianza Hammers (1-0)
Varese Skorpions (1-1)

Group B

Group B Week #3 Results
Isonzo Sentinels (1-1) 20
Castelfranco Cavaliers (0-1) 17

Group B Standings
1. Verona Mastini 2-0
2. Padova Saints 1-0
3. Isonzo Sentinels 1-1
4. Castelfranco Cavaliers 0-1
5. Ferrara Aquile 0-2

Group B Week #4 Schedule
Saturday, March 16th
Padova Saints (1-0) at
Verona Mastini (2-0)

Sunday, March 17th
Ferrara Aqulie (0-2) at
Castelfranco Cavaliers (0-1) 

Isonzo Sentinels (1-1)

Group C

Group C Week #3 Results
No Games Scheduled

Group C Standings
1T. Bologna Braves 1-0
Reggio Emilia Hogs 1-0
Roma Pretoriani 1-0
4. Modena Vipers 0-1
5. Sarzana Red Jackets 0-2

Group C Week #4 Schedule
Saturday, March 16th
Roma Pretoriani (1-0) at
Reggio Emilia Hogs (1-0)

Sunday, March 17th
Sarzana Red Jackets (0-2) at
Modena Vipers (0-1)

Bologna Braves (1-0)

Reading Is FUNdamental!

Started slow,
finished FAST!

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