Monday, June 3, 2019

Let the Italian National U17 Flag Football Championship Tournament BEGIN!

Saturday, 1 June, 2019

June 1st already? How did that happen?

Our time in Varese is growing short.

Thank goodness that we still have lots of action packed days ahead of us in our final seven weeks on the Continent!

Starting with . . .

. . . FIDAF's 2019 Italian National Youth
Flag Football Championship Tournaments

There would be three tournaments going on simultaneously in Grosetto, as Italy's eight best U13, U15 and U17 teams were assembled to complete their quests for the Gold.

During the regular season FIDAF fields 16 U13 teams, 18 U15 squads and 19 U17 clubs. Through a process of regional tournaments during the regular season the best eight teams at each level earned their way to the beautiful facilities in Grosetto to battle Under the Tuscan Sun for glory.

Each division had their own separate,
manicured area with two game
fields for constant use

Our 6-0, #2 seeded U17 team
was ready to rock and roll!

The eight U17 teams assembled in Grosetto were dived into two Groups on Saturday for round robin pool play.

Group A consisted of the #1 seeded Milano Rhinos (6-0), the Busto Arsizio Blue Storms (5-1), the Ferrara Aquile (4-2), and the Vicenza Hurricanes (4-2).

Group B was composed of our #2 seeded Varese Skorpions (6-0), the Bologna Warriors (5-1), the Palermo Sharks (4-2) and Roma Gladiatori (4-2).

Our first Group B game started at 8:00 a.m. against the 4-2 Palermo Cardinals.

It was a BEAUTIFUL day for
American Flag football!

Dario about to pull a flag or two

Game action vs. the Cardinals

Flavio had an amazing day today

Filippo weaving his way through
the Cardinals Defense

Filippo's got hops!

Tosco was a QB Sack Master today

The Skorpions (1-0, 7-0) were up to the early morning task, taking care of business in dispatching the Cardinals (0-1, 4-3), 42-14.

We had a couple of hours before our second Group B game so Laurie and I decided to explore the massive Fattoria La-Principina Wellness Park Hotel's grounds where the tournament was being held.

The Hotel even had a small church

There it is

Nice tile work

I wonder if Stefano was in any way
related to our star Westlake H.S. (1978-80) linebacker Anthony Ponticelli?

It was as quaint inside as
you would expect

We were thirsty, so we sought out a small bar near our team's set of rooms.

The Bar San Luigi it was!

It looked good from the backside

We continued our exploration on our way back to the game field.

A Wellness Park for animals too?

BIG rabbits

This donkey was not shy
about braying during our games

The Skorpions took over the field's
Press Box during our games

Our second Group B game started at 11:00 a.m. against the Roma Gladiatori (0-1, 4-3) who had lost to the Bologna Warriors (1-0, 6-1) in their first Group B game by a score of 38-23.

The Gladiatori, in white, were Grotto's
spartan team playing with only five
players suited out this weekend

Italian Flag football is played with five players on each side, so the Roma squad would get no rest during their games.

Playing with great heart would have to overcome their numbers issue.

It did.

D.J. pulling a flag and maybe
this Roman's shorts too

The Gladiatori QB was a beast!

Perhaps related somehow to former NFL QB Jared Lorenzen and/or to the current Milano Rhinos Senior Team QB.

Filippo wide open in
the Roma secondary

The Gladiatori closing in
on Filippo

Filippo went high in the air,
tipped the ball up . . .

. . . and caught it flat on his back
for a Skorpions TD!

Note the football still in mid-air just above Filippo's head.

The bad part of this play is that Filippo hurt his wrist on this play which greatly limited his play the rest of the day.

One big U17 QB!

Flavio at it again

Flavio is elusive and had a
great day!

Volo about to catch a ball
to stow away the win

It was not easy by any stretch as the Gladiatori (0-2, 4-4) greatly impressed me with the courage they showed in battling to the end with only five gritty players. The Skorpions (2-0, 8-0) were definitely not focused in this game. It was largely the Skorpions superior numbers that paved the way to a hard fought 34-32 win.

In the other Group B game played at 11:00 a.m., the Bologna Warriors (2-0, 7-1) defeated the Palermo Cardinals (0-2, 4-4).

Grosetto has really small snails
as it turns out

Il Giro d'Italia grinds and dine on

The last two stages of this year's classic Italian bicycle road race are today and tomorrow.

On to our final Group B game of the day as our Skorpion U17 team (2-0, 8-0) were playing Group B's other undefeated team the Bologna Warriors (2-0, 7-1) at 4:30 p.m.

U15 player Melissa was wearing
her lucky socks for the occasion

Niño to Chico worked well
all day today

Filippo Zanon closing in quickly

Uh-Oh, a Warrior getting open DEEP!

Niño finding an open receiver
in a back and forth, wide open game

Flavio doing it again

Volo for SIX!

Sack Master Tosco at it again!


Filippo's shoes

One of our best receivers, Filippo Petrillo, played sparingly while nursing his bruised wrist. 

I was pleased to see our other receivers really step up their games in his absence in this contest.

The Warriors QB
was excellent tonight

Volo and D.J. with tight coverage

Flavio does it again!

Volo for another TD!

Tough play on the Goal Line
and a tougher result in the game

The game ended with the score tied at 31-31.


The ball is placed at midfield to start your possession, each team gets a drive, repeat if still tied.

The Skorpions scored first but were denied the extra point by the fired up Bologna defense.

The Warriors scored quickly and made their clutch extra point to win the game 38-37 in OT.

The Warriors (3-0, 8-1) thus earned Group B's top spot while the Skorpions (2-1, 8-1) had to settle for Group B's second spot. 

Both teams advanced to Sunday's Final Four made up of Group A's and Group B's top two teams.

In the other Group B game, the Palermo Cardinals (1-2, 5-4) outlasted the Roma Gladiatori (0-3, 4-5) by a final tally of 50-46.

For our team, the loss was tough on many levels. The bulk of our team is made up of players who played on last year's undefeated U15 National Championship Flag Tournament.

Thus, for many our our youngsters, it was their first loss in a long, long time.

We had to remind them that the goal at the start of the weekend was to win a National Championship. This tough loss did not really change our goal.

Had we beaten the Warriors, we would have needed two wins on Sunday to bring home the Gold.

We did not beat the Bologna squad but still qualified for the Final Four. On Sunday we would still need to win two games to be National Champions.

In order to overcome our depression from the overtime loss, there was a only one thing to do . . .

. . . mangia, Mangia, MANGIA!

After enjoying a little pasta at the hotel's buffet, I rejoined Laurie and the Skorpions for a spot of Tuscan grilling. 

Vitto and Nonno were at it again

It's GREAT to be a Skorpion!

Here were the standings in the U17
Tournament after Saturday's games

Sunday's Final Four games would start at 9:15 a.m.

Group A's #1 team, the Milano Seamen (3-0, 9-0) would play Group B's #2 squad, our Varese Skorpions (2-1, 8-1) in one Semi-Final game.

The other Semi-Final game would be a battle between Group B's #1 team, the Bologna Warriors (3-0, 8-1) and Group A's #2 club, the Ferrara Aquile (2-1, 6-3).

The winners would play for the National Championship at 2:45 p.m. on Sunday.


I got a ton of exercise
today in lovely Grosetto!

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