Monday, May 20, 2019

Varese Derby Day

Saturday, 18 May, 2019

The day for the Varese Derby was finally here!

The Varese Gorillas (2-4) were
hosting your Varese Skorpions (4-2)

Before going over the particulars of the hard fought Derby, we had ourselves a full day as the Derby did not kickoff until 9:00 p.m.

The Il Giro d'Italia culinary guide
to today's stage

The stage today would take the bicycle racers from Pesara to Tortoreto Lido or, as I like to think of it, from truffles to fish broth.

As for us . . .

. . . we were happy sharing breakfast
at the Pasticceria Marabelli again with
Susie and Mark Johnson

Mark loved their deep, rich, thick hot chocolate!

Off to Varese's Saturday morning
flea market in a slight drizzle

This trio from Spain was playing
in the heart of Varese's historic core

I liked them a lot,
how about you?

For Mark, it is never too early
for a gelato

The Italian elections are just around
the corner, vote Communist?

Mark and Susie at the top of
Varese's Sacro Monte

Laurie, ever the model

Inside the Santuario di
Santa Maria del Sacro Monte

Silvio Berlusconi

The 83 year old, four time Italian Prime Minister is at it again.

Think Donald Trump without the nuclear codes.

Now, as for that Derby . . .

It got pretty heated on this play
last year with some extracurricular
business on the part of both parties

It would be a hard fought, emotional game tonight just as a rivalry game should be every time it's played!

Only one more game for both teams
in the 2019 regular season after tonight


The Varese Skorpions
#7 Ranked in DII
4 Wins - 2 Losses

2019 Results
Busto Arsizio Blue Storms (0-7) 7-6
Milano Rhinos (6-0) 10-24
Palermo Sharks (3-3) 28-21
Cernusco Daemons (5-1) 14-20 OT
Desio Hammers (2-3) 35-12
Brescia Bengals (3-4) 58-43


The Varese Gorillas
2 Wins - 4 Losses

2019 Results
Desio Hammers (2-3) 15-21
Brescia Bengals (3-4) 35-41
Palermo Sharks (3-3) 35-20
Canavese Mastifs (2-3) 40-54
Busto Arsizio Blue Storms (0-7) 21-6
Milano Rhinos (6-0) 7-33

The Gorillas aptly named
home field

 It's a jungle out there!


Duct tape fixes EVERYTHING!

Up to and including the Gorillas' one man sled.

Pre-game with Skorpions and Gorillas
greeting each other as they arrive
at Jungle Field

There is nothing better than beating your friends to earn a year's worth of bragging rights!

The Gorillas were ready to do battle 

So were the Skorpions!

Checking my Kicking Game Charts
one last time

Our Leaders


A special GRAZIE to Laurie Contreras for taking all of these game night pictures.

First Quarter:

Gorillas Ball: Stefano Granelli's kickoff sailed into the end zone to set the tone for our team's dominance in the all important Kicking Game tonight. On the Gorillas' second play they fumbled the ball and DE Davide Vuolo pounced on the ball to give the Skorpions excellent field position. 

Touchbacks are good things!

Skorpions Ball: This drive started at the Gorillas 18 yard line but a chop block penalty pushed us back. No problem as QB Giacomo "Jack" Micheli threw a perfect 25 yard TD pass to WR Riccardo De Micheli for the game's first score. Stefano Granelli split the uprights on the PAT and the Skorpions had the early lead 7-0.

Gorillas Ball: The Gorillas returned the Kickoff to their 32 yard line and their drive was aided by three 15 yard penalties on the Skorpions. Fortunately, our Defense stiffened deep in the Red Zone and forced the Gorillas to turn the ball over on downs at our five yard line.

Go Defense GO!

Skorpions Ball: Rivalry games have unlikely heroes. Tonight ours was back-up RB Sergio "Mizu" Montalbetti. He was forced into the action due to injuries at the position and responded with a fine game tonight. "Jack" and Riccardo De Micheli made another big play together on a perfectly executed Hitch and Go route as the First Quarter came to a close with the Skorpions leading 7-0.


Second Quarter:

Skorpions Ball: The Skorpions' First Quarter drive continued as the second stanza opened but the Gorillas' defense was up to the task and forced the Skorpions to try a 32 yard Field Goal that sailed wide right. Nuts! Did I mention that a Derby is usually hard fought game?

Gorillas Ball: CB and Co-Captain Andrea Mora made a tremendous play on a hitch pass out of the Gorillas wild formation with both offensive tackles flanked out wide with two wide receivers to each side. That led to a Gorillas punt that faced great pressure by the Skorpions. The result was a 12 yard Gorillas punt. Loving our Kicking Game so far in the game.

Skorpions Ball: Our only bad snap of the night came on third down which "Jack" recovered deep in our own end of the field. On fourth down, Stefano Granelli boomed a 62 yard punt that we downed at the Gorillas four yard line! Loving our Kicking Game so far in the game.

#92 Davide Vuolo on the
Fumble Recovery

Gorillas Ball: The Gorillas drove the ball down the field on their best drive of the night, hitting a 15 yard post route for a TD with 6 seconds left in the First Half. Their PAT attempt was blocked by Stefano Granelli. The Skorpions' lead was cut to 7-6Loving our Kicking Game so far in the game.

Skorpions Ball: The Skorpions only had time for one play as the First Half came to a close with the Skorpions ahead by the slimmest of margins, 7-6.

 It was a BEAUTIFUL night
for American football

Third Quarter:

Skorpions Ball: The Gorillas squib kick was recovered easily by Giulio Bonfanti at our 39 yard line to give us excellent field position once again.  Loving our Kicking Game so far in the game. RB Dylan Auriema entered the game for the first time and responded with some solid runs. WR Matteo Mozzanica had a good reception on this drive but once again we had to settle for a 41 yard Field Goal attempt that had plenty of distance but sailed wide right. I was not happy with our inability to finish drives since the game's opening possession.

FB Cristian "Bumba" Bianchi blocking
on a Sweep for RB Ema Mascelli

Gorillas Ball: Back-to-back QB Sacks by DEs Tomas Pedotti and Davide Vuolo led to a Three and Out, Punt situation. Pedotti was back at it and made a huge play by blocking the Gorillas punt.  Loving our Kicking Game so far in the game.

A beautiful TD pass from
Giacomo "Jack" Micheli to
Riccardo De Micheli

Skorpions Ball: With the ball at the Gorillas' 20 yard line after the blocked punt, our Offensive frustration continued as we turned the ball over on downs without making a first down.

Gorillas Ball: The Tomas Pedotti Show continued on this drive as he first batted down a pass and then, on the next play, sacked the QB again. This led to another Three and Out, Punt situation where our Punt Block team's great pressure led to a seven yard Gorillas punt.  Loving our Kicking Game so far in the game.

We were leading but neither team
was lacking in effort

Skorpions Ball: Starting this drive at the Gorillas' 24 yard line, a crucial Cristian "Bumba" Bianchi fourth down run after catch kept the drive alive for "Bumba's" eventual one yard TD plunge. Stefano Granelli's PAT was true and the Skorpions had a little breathing room now leading 14-6.

Gorillas Ball: Stefano Granelli's kick found its way into the end zone for a touchback as the Third Quarter ended with the Skorpions leading 14-6 Loving our Kicking Game so far in the game. 

DC Dani Donati coaching up
our Defense

Sergo "Mizu" Montalbetti
with the Rock!

Matt and Susie Kataoka from
Seattle were at the Derby

Matt and Susie were joined by
fellow Seattle visitors Susie and
Mark Johnson

That's a lot of Americans at an Italian DII American football game if you ask me.


Fourth Quarter:

Gorillas Ball: Their Third Quarter drive continued with a solid drive and the game still in the balance. DE Tomas Pedotti knocked down a Gorillas' fourth down pass attempt to end the drive.

Skorpions Ball: WR Riccardo De Micheli made one of the most amazing diving, twisting catches that I have ever seen at any level of American football. WR Matteo Mozzanica added a fine reception of his own but our time consuming drive eventually turned the ball over on downs deep in the Gorillas end of the field.

"Jack" about to lunch another pass

Gorillas Ball: The Gorillas racked up a couple of first downs  but CB Andrea Mora broke up a Gorillas fourth down pass to end the threat.

Skorpions Ball: A penalty that we could not overcome led to our only Three and Out, Punt of the night. Stefano Granelli got us out of the hole with a 42 yard punt that was not returned. Loving our Kicking Game so far in the game.

Action in "The Pit"

Gorillas Ball: CB Andrea Mora came up with another Big Play as he intercepted a Gorillas pass with about 90 seconds left in the game.

OL Coach Leo Pozzato urging
on the troops at the end of the game

Skorpions Ball: All that we needed was to get a first down to end the game while the Gorillas were trying to use their three remain timeouts to prolong the contest. On third down "Bumba" came through with one of his patented tough, hard nosed, all heart efforts to get us the needed first down. 

"Bumba's" key run to clinch
the victory

Derby Winners again!

Let the celebration begin!

Being 5-2 is a good thing!

The Celebration continues

Tonight's Game Hammer

QB "Jack" was paying attention
after winning the Game Hammer
the past two games

DE Tomas Pedotti was the
Man of the Moment

It was just as hard fought a game as I expected it to be. Hats off to the Gorillas and their coaches for battling for the full 48 minutes.

A great Derby to be sure!

After retreating with our four friends visiting from Seattle to the team bar in the heart of Varese, the BellaVita Cafè, to celebrate into the wee hours of Sunday morning with many of the Skorpions and their loved ones, we returned to the Villa Skorpion II to de-brief over . . .

. . . 500 gram packages of
Müller yogurt

Laurie, Susie and Mark agreed that Müller yogurt at 2:00 a.m. is good for the body.

What a BEAUTIFUL day
for American football!

Time again for our weekly update of what happened across Italia in DII American football action.

Their was a full slate of eight games
on this Saturday, the next to last
weekend of the 2019 DII regular season


Group A

Group A Week #11 Results
Varese Skorpions (5-2) 14
Varese Gorillas (2-5) 6

Milano Rhinos (7-0) 38
Canavese Mastifs (2-4) 12

Brescia Bengals (4-4) 35
Desio Hammers (2-4) 14

Cernusco Daemons (6-1) 31
Palermo Sharks (3-4) 20

Group A Standings
1. Milano Rhinos 7-0
2. Cernusco Daemons 6-1
3. Varese Skorpions 5-2
4. Brescia Bengals 4-4
5. Palermo Sharks 3-4
6T. Canavese Mastifs 2-4
6T. Desio Hammers 2-4
8. Varese Gorillas 2-5
9. Busto Arsizio Blue Storms 0-7

Group A Week #12 Schedule
Wednesday, May 23rd
Week #9 Make Up Game
Canavese Mastifs (2-4) at
Desio Hammers (2-4)

Saturday, May 25th
Canavese Mastifs (2-4) at
Varese Skorpions (5-2)

Busto Arsizio Blue Storms (0-7) at
Milano Rhinos (7-0)

Varese Gorillas (2-5) at
Cernusco Daemons (6-1)

Palermo Sharks (3-4) at
Desio Hammers (2-4)

Brescia Bengals (4-4)

Group B

Group B Week #11 Results
Padova Saints (6-1) 34
Castelfranco Cavaliers (1-6) 0

Ferrara Aquile (4-4) 29
Isonzo Sentinels (1-6) 28

Group B Standings
1T. Padova Saints 6-1
1T. Verona Mastini 6-1
3. Ferrara Aquile 4-4
4T. Castelfranco Cavaliers 1-6
4T. Isonzo Sentinels 1-6 

Group B Week #12 Schedule
Saturday, May 25th
Castelfranco Cavaliers (1-6) at
Verona Mastini (6-1)

Sunday, May 26th
Isonzo Sentinels (1-6) at
Padova Saints (6-1)

Ferrara Aquile (4-4)

Group C

Group C Week #11 Results
Roma Pretoriani (6-1) 42
Modena Vipers (1-6) 6

Sarzana Red Jackets (3-5) 14
Bologna Braves (2-5) 12

Group C Standings
1T. Reggio Emilia Hogs 6-1
1T. Roma Pretoriani 6-1
3. Sarzana Red Jackets 3-5
4. Bologna Braves 2-5
5. Modena Vipers 1-6

Group C Week #12 Schedule
Sunday, May 26th
Bologna Braves (2-5) at 
Roma Pretoriani (6-1)

Modena Vipers (1-6) at
Reggio Emilia Hogs (6-1)

Sarzana Red Jackets (3-5)


David said...

Congratulations! Kicking game has been huge all season, it seems.

And I have long suspected your Communist sympathies, based on that game "Hammer" you give out.

George said...

You're definitely on to me David!