Monday, April 15, 2019

The #8 Ranked Desio Hammers (2-1) at the #9 Ranked Varese Skorpions (2-2)

Saturday, 13 April, 2019

Anyway you looked at it, it was . . .

. . . a BEAUTIFUL day . . .

... for American football as it
was after all . . .

. . . another Skorpions GAME DAY!

And a crucial Game Day it was, let's set up the importance of today's key Italian DII contest.

The Desio Hammers
#8 Ranked in DII
2 Wins - 1 Loss
Beat the Varese Gorillas (1-2) 21-15
Beat the Busto Arsizio Blue Storms (0-4) 17-10
Lost to the Milano Rhinos (3-0) 37-9


The Varese Skorpions
#9 Ranked in DII
2 Wins - 2 Losses
Beat the Busto Arsizio Blue Storms (0-4) 7-6
Lost to the Milano Rhinos (3-0) 24-10
Beat the Palermo Sharks (1-2) 28-21
Lost to the Cernusco Daemons 20-14 in OT

Our day started early as our game did not kickoff until 6:30 p.m.

First, Mike and I took a walk into our Sant'Ambrogio neighborhood where we found . . .

. . . this pristine, classic French
Citroën 2CV automobile

Love those headlights

There is a 2CV Club in Varese

Who knew?

After a cappuccino and a brioche at Marabelli, we continued our stroll to . . .

. . . the Marcelleria Tonino

It was crowded on a Saturday morning

I held my spot in the line

Mike loved all of the hams hanging on the walls.

Walking back up the hill

We stopped into the chapel
that was built in 1653 next
to the Villa Skorpion II

Moses, I believe

Lots of symbolism here.

I wonder if this crucifix has
been up there since 1653?

Stairway to Heaven?

At Noon, we were at Skorpion Field ready to line the field and help in any other way during our Game Day field prep procedures.

I'm sure that Bill Belichick does the same thing before every Patriots home game.

By 2:00 p.m., the field
was looking GREAT!

Mike and the Simply Man Match
sign in the distance

Simply Man Match is one of our main sponsors whose men's hair grooming product line Michael completely endorses!

Lunch with the Usual Skorpion
Suspects at Skorpion Field

Besides sharing a delicious pasta based meal, they all taught Michael some key Italian phrases that should come in handy during his stay in Italy.

Being the huge baseball fan that he is, I showed Michael the baseball field that is the home of the Malnate Vikings on our way home to change.

They were setting up for
a game today as well

Using your Vespa to drag the infield

Finally, it was time to head back to Skorpion Field for the game.

With Desio Hammers Assistant Coach
Robert Bloomhuff

Robert was a teacher in San Diego for most of his adult life but has been living and coaching in Italy for many years now.

He is the Hammers Receivers Coach and one of the good guys.

Game Day Helmets

Our LB Fabio Stoppa's gear
including a pair of Newbury Park H.S.
shoulder pads complete with an
NPHS decal

Emma, Laura and Sofia were
ready to root the Skorpions
on to VICTORY!

Loving the latest sponsorship
ad placement on the Hammers' uniforms

What do you mean that one of our
players was not on the official roster?

It was one of our defensive starters and it meant that he could not play in the game. As it turned out, the Hammers had a similar problem.

Confab with the Head Ref

I do not know this ref's name but we have had him several times in the last two seasons and I have always found him to be a consummate professional in the execution of his duties.

Today would be no exception.

He volunteered to call the Italian American Football Federation's President before we got back on the field for the opening kickoff to straighten everything out.

Sure enough, both players were legally licensed and had been inadvertently left off of their respective official game day rosters. They were both good to go today.


Federica and Santa Barbara
our top notch Statisticians

Enzo and D.J.
our top notch Skorpion pranksters
and Flag Football Coaches

Pacio Cranchi
our top notch Defensive Line Coach
and the de facto Mayor of Bellagio

Going over the Kicking Game
before warm-ups

Here come the Skorpions!

It was just about time for another
chapter in the 2019 Varese Skorpions season

Captains Out

First Quarter:
Skorpions Ball: A great kickoff return by Dylan Auriema got Varese's opening drive started at our 44 yard line and signaled a great day for our Special Teams play.  Unfortunately, it looked like a Three and Out, Punt but then all of the time that we spend on our Kicking Game strategies came into play as Personal Protector/QB Giacomo "Jack" Micheli called an audible and threw a perfect strike to WR Matteo Mozzanica for our first fake punt, fourth down conversion of the day that covered more than 20 yards. Yes, there would be others. RB Ema Della Bosca ripped off a 20 yard run down to the one yard line and fellow RB Dylan Auriema raced the last three feet into the end zone. Stefano Granelli's PAT was perfect and the focused Skorpions led 7-0 early in the game.

WR Riccardo de Micheli

Hammers Ball: The Desio squad picked up a first down but were promptly forced to punt.

Down the Line

Skorpions Ball: Dylan Auriema's Counter play gained over 20 yards and set up a tough 13 yard TD run by Player/Coach Cristian "Bumba" Bianchi. PAT Holder Mathias Massini spotted a flaw in the Hammers PAT block scheme, called an audible and completed a fake PAT pass to TE Davide Vuolo for two more Skorpion points, the lead was now 15-0 for the boys from Varese. We were two for two on fake punts/kicks so far today.

Stefano Granelli and Michael Contreras
kneeling on the sidelines

Hammers Ball: Stefano Granelli parked his kickoff deep into the Hammers end zone for a touchback. We were undisciplined and jumped offsides twice on third down to gift the Desio ream two first downs. FS Manuel "Biondo" Bulgheroni had a key broken up pass on another third down followed by a huge fourth down play by LB Stefano Granelli who tackled the Hammers punter that had to retrieve a bad long snap about 20 yards behind the line of scrimmage. Another Big Play in the Kicking Game.

The Skorpions Defense had
a good First Quarter!

Skorpions Ball: Due to Stefano's big fourth down play, this Scorpion drive started at the Hammers 29 yard line. Dylan Auriema was running amok again as the First Quarter came to a close with the Skorpions ahead 15-0.

Ema Mascelli leasing the way
for a Dylan Auriema Kickoff Return

Second Quarter:
Varese Ball: The Skorpions drive that started in the First Quarter continued. Jack-of-all-Trades, Punter Stefano Granelli sensed no Hammers punt rush pressure and took off with the ball picking up about 12 yards and a first down on yet another fake punt. We were now three-for-three on fake punts/kicks on the day as our kicking game preparation was really taking over the game. Giacomo "Jack" Micheli finished this drive with a one yard QB Sneak for the Skorpions third TD in three possessions. Granelli kicked the PAT and the Skorpions were in control leading 22-0.

What is the Hammers #9
is doing on this play?

Desio Ball: Another undisciplined offsides on third down to keep the Hammers drive alive got me a bit upset but soon afterwards DE Tomas Pedotti recovered an unforced Desiuo fumble to end their drive.

This is going to hurt

Varese Ball: Another short drive thanks to Pedotti's fumble recovery started at the Hammers 29 yard line. OG Gabriele "Capo" di Stefano had a Big Play recovering one our own fumbles to keep the drive going. Ema Della Bosca's five yard TD scamper ended our clubs fourth drive of the game with our fourth TD! Granelli's PAT kick was good, the Skorpions were in complete command leading 29-0.


I can't help but wondering if Ristorante Staut is any good?

I'll have to try it the next time I'm in Cantu.

Desio Ball: DE Tomas Pedotti had a big QB Sack and FS Manuel "Biondo" Bulghheroni had a marvelous broken up pass to end the First Half with Varese leading Desio 29-0.

Matteo Mozzanica's reception
on our first fake punt of the day

Third Quarter:
Hammers Ball: We are losing our focus with the big lead as our young LB forgets to go on the field for the first play of this drive and the Hammers QB promptly hits his vacated zone with a first down pass to a dragging slotback. Tomas Pedotti's second QB Sack of the game disrupts this drive quickly to force a punt.

RB Ema Della Bosca hitting
a HUGE hole

Skorpions Ball: We switched to our back up QB Mathias Masini at this point, perhaps a bit too early. Mathias is the starting QB on our U16 team so is obviously quite young to be playing with the Prima Squadra but he has a bright future so we opted to give him a look with our large lead. We got a first down via a Hammers penalty but would have to punt. We faked another punt but this time the Hammers came up with a big play by intercepting our pass. Our fake punts/kicks were now 3-for-4 on the day.

Ema Della Bosca's TD run

Hammers Ball: Our Defense responded well to the challenge to "put out the fire" after a turnover. The Hammers decided to go for it on fourth down by getting us to jump offsides but we were disciplined for once and forced Desio to call a timeout to discuss their options. They decided to go for it but their pass fell incomplete thanks to a great pressure by our defensive linemen.

Seven Man Pressure by the Skorpions
Defense on this play

Skorpions Ball: Three and Out, Punt.

I wonder what I was thinking here?

Hammers Ball: A Three and Out, Punt drive was highlighted by a big third down QB Sack shared by DEs Tomas Pedotti and Davide Vuolo.

Skorpions Offense on the Goal Line

Skorpions Ball: The big play on this drive featured two of our younger players as QB Mathias Masini hit WR Jacopo Carletto on a perfectly executed one stop drop Fly route for a 20+ yard pickup as the scoreless Third Quarter ended with the Skorpions still up 29-0.

Sprint Out Pass on the Goal Line

Fourth Quarter:
Varese Ball: The Skorpions were continuing their Third Quarter drive with the help of RB Ema Della Bosca's recovery of another Skorpion player's fumble but would eventually have to punt.

Another of son Michael's
Line-of-Scrimmage pictures today

Desio Ball: As followers this blog know, I believe that shut outs are Fascist. They are usually based, in part, on not clearing your bench to let deserving back up players on the field. I love it when we can win and know that all of our players got into the game. I also believe that our opponents need to leave the game with a bit of dignity for their efforts. Thus I was not too upset with the Hammers 40 yard TD pass on a well executed Seam route. They went for two on their PAT attempt but we stopped them cold, the Skorpions lead was cut to 29-6.

Stefano Granelli kicking a PAT

Varese Ball: Our Hand's Team performed their duties perfectly in a possible Hammers on-side kick situation to start our drive. The Hammers played well on Defense forcing an apparent Three and Out, Punt. I say apparent because we ran another fake punt, this one a surprise to everyone including me as our Personal Protector/QB Giacomo "Jack" Micheli called for a punt as I expected. Unfortunately, our long snapper spaced out and snapped the ball to Jack not to our punter. Jack reacted well to this surprise situation and swept around the left flank for another first down. We were now 4-for-5 on the day on fake punts/kicks even when we did not call for them. RB Cristian "Bumba" Bianchi got us a key first down on a short fourth down Dive play and WR Matteo Mozzanica had a thunderous Hammer Hit on a crack back block that got our sideline excited. Eventually QB Jack hit WR Martino Piazzi on a quick Seam route that split the CB and Safety and turned into a 50 yard TD play. The Hammers blocked our PAT but we were ahead 35-6.

Skorpions Defensive Huddle

Desio Ball: Granelli's KO sailed into the end zone for another touchback and now several of our backup defenders were in the game. After many missed tackles reaffirmed why they are backup players, the Hammers scored on a 15 yard TD pass. The two point PAT attempt was thwarted and the scoreboard now read, OK, I know we don't really have a scoreboard at Skorpion Field, Skorpions 35 - Hammers 12.

Dylan Auriema in the open field

Desio Ball: Then it happened. We put our Hands Team on the field again anticipating a Hammers onside kick. Until two games ago, I had never seen this in my entire playing/ coaching career. Yet for the second time in three weeks I saw a kicker top an onside kick attempt that dribbled about three yards and then in a panic as the opponents approached kick the ball a second time, a penalty. It was our ball and as our kicker Stefano commented after Michael asked him if he had ever seen anything like that before, "Stupid." Victory Formation, Take a Knee was the call, the best play in American football and victory was ours 35-12.

Jack to Martino

Jack to Ema

Bumba rumbling with the
Hammers #54 in HOT PURSUIT!

Maybe not.

Timeout talks



WR Matteo Mozzanica may have
earned a Dying Cockroach
decal on this block

Bumba for SIX!

This snap could have been disastrous

Thank goodness that QB Jack Micheli was able to get it and throw the ball away legally to save us on this play.

Jack richly deserved his award of today's Game Hammer

Teammates celebrating Bumba's TD

FS Biondo #3 and CB Federico Zanetta
in great coverage position . . .

. . . FINISHING the play to perfection!

Playing physical Defense today

Biondo's big First Half ending
broken up pass

Halftime in the Snack Bar

The game is just faster under the lights

QB Mathias Masini launching one

Dylan Auriema is a solid RB for us

Our Offensive Line is improving
under the tutelage of 
Coach Leo Pozzato

QB Sneak for another SIX!


RB Ema Della Bosca going
out of bounds

by FS Biondo

The game was nearly over

It was a GREAT win!

That was enjoyed by all!

Mike as our guest "priest"
for our post-game
Victory Communion

Checking Mike's Credentials


Martino and Bumba
in the warm, after-glow of Victory

We shared our locker room and beer
with the Hammers

With Hammers LB Tony Mitrano
who played for the Skorpions in 2018

A great guy that I miss not having on our sidelines this year.

After the game the heavens opened

It was a OK as we were all off to the Bellavita Caffé for some more post-game revelry.

Mike an old school hockey mask
at the Bellavita

It was indeed a BEAUTIFUL
night for American football!


David said...

Congratulations! And wow, that’s some impressive special-teams play: 3 for 4 on planned fakes, 1 for 1 on accidental ones. Lots of helmet decals for that group, I suspect. And full credit to that referee for sorting out the player ineligibility questions.

If you do go to Ristorante Staut, I’d suggest the rump roast.

George said...

Rump roasts it is!