Monday, July 8, 2019

Another BLISTERING Day for the DII and DI Italian National Championship Games of American Football

Saturday, 6 July, 2019

It was the biggest day on the 2019 Italian American football calendar, the DII and DI National Championship doubleheader to be staged this year in Milano's Stadio Breda.

 Throw in the DIII Championship
Game last night and you had every
die hard fan of American football
in Milano for the weekend

The 26th Annual DII Silver Bowl
would kickoff at 4:00 p.m.

The 39th Annual DI Italian Bowl
would follow at 9:00 p.m.

We had a lot of time before heading to the games about an hour drive from the Villa Skorpion, so let's take a look at some things non-National Championship Games related that happened today.

First, Bennie, one of our crackerjack Skorpion team photographers, posted more photos from our Fourth of July BBQ/American football extravaganza.

The Love Couple
framed by Old Glory

A happy Laurie who loves
her time living in Italy

 Young Pass Rush Phenom
Pietro Migliori

Helping a new Skorpion recruit

Bennie getting artsy

Good shot of Laurie through
a plastic cone

This morning we made a quick trip to the Varese Public Library and then roamed the mean streets of our adopted city before it got too hot.

The Bell Tower looked
stunning as always

Where did that come from?

I'd never noticed this ornate business' street number before.

Varese street art abounds

Wait, what's that high above this statue?


And I'd never noticed this either.

One of Varese's best
historic central district windows

 What if you don't understand
English at all?

 A bird cage in front of a small,
up scale bookstore

The cage is full of books and origami birds.

This article from a newspaper's
Soccer and Politics Op/Ed today

The headline reads: "Trump, the Wall, His Hatred for Latinos goes beyond the USA-Mexico Gold Cup Game."

Damn, I really dislike this President of ours.

If I ever do buy a motorcycle,
this will be my helmet!

On to Stadio Breda . . .

The 10-0 Milano Rhinos
The 9-1 Roma Pretoriani

The Rhinos had dropped down from DI this season while the Pretoriani were the DII Silver Bowl runner-ups in 2018.

We missed a great
back-and-forth game

Because of the oppressive heat and my advanced age, we had decided to sit this game out and just concentrate on watching the DI Italian Bowl game at 9:00 p.m.

The Rhinos are headed back to DI!

They were a fine squad to be sure
and beat our Skorpions 24-10
earlier this season

The now completed 2019 DII
Silver Bowl playoff bracket

When we arrived at Stadio Breda, there was about two minutes left in the Silver Bowl game.

We headed straight to the shade of the Food Truck Alley behind the end zone stands.

So did a lot of other
American football fans

Neon Milano Seamen jerseys
were on sale

I like the seamen's knot on the shoulders.

 No, I did not take my shirt off
but many other plus sized men
had no qualms about it

With Giovanni Ganci

Giovanni is one of the really positive people who constantly promotes American football in Italy.

A good man.

Fabio Franzini, seated, talking
with an old teammate about
the glory days of Spaghetti football

With Milano Seamen Head Coach Mike Wood
and Desio Hammers WR Coach
Robert Bloomhuff before the game

Mike is one of EuroBall's best coaches. A defensive specialist, he does a good job balancing his team's roster needs and making sure that his club is ready to play week in and week out.

Robert does a great job with the Hammers' WRs in their high flying offense.

With one of the Skorpions best assets,
Coach Marco Santagostino

The Milano Seamen Cheerleaders

OK, time to take a quick look at the combatants in Italian Bowl XXXIX.

 8-2 on the season

What the heck is a Guelfi you ask? 

A Guelfi, during the 12th and 13th-centuries, were supporters of the Popes in their struggle against the Holy Roman Empire for power during Firenze's/Florence's medieval history.

The Guelfi's two regular season losses were to the Milano Seamen 34-28 on a last second Hail Mary pass and to the Bolzano Giants 36-32.

The Firenze squad avenged their loss to the Giants in their playoff Semi-final game played in Bolzano with a 42-39 win.

The Guelfi are coached by embattled former Baylor University Head Coach Art Briles.

Could they avenge their loss to the Seamen?

8-1 on the season

The Seamen are currently the dominant team in Italy's DI having won four of the past five Italian Bowls. 

In 2014 and 2015 they beat the Parma Panthers for National Championship by scores of 33-3 and 24-14.

In 2017, the Seamen beat the Rhinos in an all Milano title game, 37-29.

In 2018, it was the Bolzano Giants who stood between the Seamen and another Championship Ring but to no avail, the Seamen won again 28-14.

Could they make it three in a row with another win over the Guelfi?

Just before the Kickoff . . .

. . . the torrential, tropical rains came

Seamen fans used that huge
blue and white banner for shelter

Fortunately, the rain subsided
quickly and would have no
effect on the game

We had a good group of fans in attendance that pretty much filled up Stadio Breda.

The Seamen were entering first

The Seamen storming Stadio Breda

In the middle is #21, our former
Varese Skorpion Nicolas Principi

He started the game at Strong Safety tonight in his rookie season in DI.

It is only Nicolas' third season playing American football, needless to say he is a fast learner and, more importantly, a hard worker.

The hard charging Guelfi

Flags and Smoke Bombs

Lining up for the Italian
National Anthem

Usually, this is only sung at sporting events if it is either a National Championship Game or an international competition.

It gives the singing of the National Anthem more validity and importance I think.

Italian pop star Dolcenera
say the Italian Anthem tonight

Finally, the game was afoot!

 Seamem QB #7 Luke Zahradka
was amazing going 17 for 19 passing for
349 yards, four TDs and no interceptions

Gianluca Santagostino's GREAT
catch to open up the scoring

Same catch, different and
much more professional view

Gianluca, an Italian, played for the University of Chihuahua against our Europe Warriors club last August in Mexico.

He is a great player and a class act.

Speaking of the Europe Warriors, there were five former Warriors on the Seamen's roster.

Head Coach Mike Wood has been the Warrior's Defensive Coordinator in all three of our previous Warrior contests in Mexico.

Defensive lineman Claudio Nicola played for our 2017 Warriors in a game in Mexico City vs. the UNAM Pumas in the capital city's Olympic Stadium.

At our 2018 Warriors' game in Chihuahua, we had Seamen SS Nicolas Principi, WR/K/P Stefano Di Tunisi and DB Alberto Garaschelli on the team.

Guelfi KickerFrancesco Camorani
in action

Stefano Di Tunisi's
excellent TD catch!

What a BEAUTIFUL night for
American football!

Guelfi Kick Returner Steve Franco
being chased by Milano's Nicolò Fonti

Empty backfield for the Guelfi

Guelfi QB Silas Nacita

He was 18 for 29 passing, for 241 yards and a TD. He also ran the rock 27 times for 178 exciting yards and three TDs.

That's 419 yards of Total Offense and four TDs!

One of Nacita's quick passes to
WR Lynx Hawthorne

WR Ismail Lamamra on
a 33 yard pick up

American import player Xavier Mitchell
about to lower the boom on Silas Nacita

Guelfi Lynx Hawthorne
in the open field

During the First Half, we had been treated to a highly entertaining Offensive shootout with the score 27-21 in favor of the Milano Seamen.

The Seamen had scored on all five of their First Half possessions with three TDs and two Field Goals.

The Halftime entertainment
included a performance by the
Kilgore College Rangerettes
from Kilgore, Texas

I'm not sure why they were in Italy but, what the heck, let's just sit by . . .

. . . and enjoy their performance

As I said earlier,
we had a good crowd on hand

Guelfi defenders swarming
the Seamen QB

One of Seamen WR/DB
Xavier Mitchell's two TD grabs

Guelfi QB Silas Nacita's
creativity in action

Milano WR Filippo Fiammenghi
caught a TD pass tonight

In the Second Half the Seamen
Offense just kept rolling

Four Second Half possessions, four Second Half TDs.

DE #99 Claudio Nicola and DB #14
Xavier Mitchell led a stout Milano Defense
that made great adjustments at Halftime

The Guelfi only scored one TD in the last two periods and the Seamen defense scored the final TD of the game on a 53 yard scoop and score fumble recovery by veteran FS Marco Aletti to put an exclamation point on their performance.

WR/K/P Stefano Di Tunisi

A great all-around night for DiTu as he caught two passes for 57 yards and a TD.

He was two for two on Field Goal attempts from 26 yards twice.

He was a perfect eight for eight on PATs.

He did not get a chance to punt tonight as the Seamen's offense was, quite literally, unstoppable!

RB #1 Danilo Bonaparte
had 14 carries for 149 yards
and a TD

A Guelfi Jet Sweep

In the Fourth Quarter, the Seamen wisely slowed down the pace of the game and started feeding the ball to #83 Fullback Antonio Raffaele.

Antonio is a chef by trade and I was fortunate to get a taste of his culinary skills when I attended a Super Bowl party at his home in 2018 when the Philadelphia Eagles beat the New England Patriots.

Which reminds me of the old saying, "NEVER trust a skinny chef!"

I trust Antonio in the kitchen and
with the ball late in a game!

Antonio scored two TDs in the game and had several bruising, will breaking runs late in the game.

 What a Second Half
performance by the Seamen!

DI Champions of Italy
for the third consecutive year!

The complete DI Italian Bowl Bracket

Milano Seamen celebrating
a well deserved DI Championship

Our man Nicolas Principi
celebrating the Italian way
with girlfriend Marta Crosta

Post-game moment between
Guelfi QB Silas Nacita and
Seamen Head Coach Mike Wood

Two class acts before, during and after the game to be sure.

Congratulations Milano!

Milano Rhinos (11-0)
DII Silver Bowl Champions
Milano Seamen (9-1)
DI Italian Bowl Champions

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