Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Barcelona Dragons 4 - Germany 0

Sun. & Mon., June 26-27, 2022

Sunday was yet another another BEAUTIFUL day for American football in Germany for your Barcelona Dragons!

In 2021, when the eight team European League of Football started operating, the general thoughts were that the six teams in Germany would dominate and that any team from Spain would struggle.

As it turned out, those thoughts were fairly correct as three of the four playoff teams were indeed from Deutschland. Poland's Wroclaw Panthers were the other playoff team in that inaugural campaign.

As for our Barcelona Dragons, the 2021 season was the struggle that was predicted as they finished with a 3-7 record. Only one other ELF club, the Stuttgart Surge, had a worse record at 2-8.

In 2022, the ELF expanded from eight to twelve clubs by adding powerhouse teams from Austria, Turkey and a seventh German team. This made the 2022 season look ever so much tougher for the Dragons.

Opening the year with four games against the German teams, three of them on the road, was not a good thing on paper.

But you plays the game on the field, not on paper . . .

Dragons 4 - Germany 0

Now flying high at 4-0, the Dragons continue to be the surprise, gritty club of the ELF.

There four wins have included handing the 3-1 Hamburg Sea Devils and the also 3-1 Rhein Fire their only losses of the season.

After Week 4, there are
only two 4-0 teams left

Those two teams are, of course, the Dragons and the Vienna Vikings.

This coming Saturday, in a Week 5 contest, the Dragons (4-0) will host the Istanbul Rams (0-4) in a possible trap game.

Barcelona has to be careful not to get feeling too good about themselves and possibly overlook the Rams while looking forward to their Week 6 huge home game against the Vienna Vikings (4-0) the following Saturday.

GREAT catch by a Dragon WR

It ALL starts in the trenches!

I'm so happy and proud of the magical job that good friends Bart Iaccarino (CEO/GM) and Jesús Sánchez (Head of Football Operations) are doing guiding the club from their from office positions.


Northern Conference
Hamburg Sea Devils 3-1
Wroclaw Panthers 2-2
Berlin Thunder 1-3
Leipzig Kings 1-3

Central Conference
Vienna Vikings 4-0
Frankfurt Galaxy 2-2
Tirol Raiders 2-2
Stuttgart Surge 0-4

Southern Conference
Barcelona Dragons 4-0
Rhein Fire 3-1
Cologne Centurions 2-2
Istanbul Rams 0-4

ELF Week 5 Schedule
Istanbul Rams (0-4) at Barcelona Dragons (4-0)
Wroclaw Panthers (2-2) at Vienna Vikings (4-0)

Rhein Fire (3-1) at Hamburg Sea Devils (3-1)
Franfurt Galaxy (2-1) at Tirol Raiders (2-2)

Berlin Thunder (1-3) at Cologne Centurions (2-2)
Stuttgart Surge (0-4) at Leipzig Kings (1-3)

In other ELF news . . .

Former Europe Warriors star
Cody Smith is playing for the
Vienna Vikings like his hair is on

Meanwhile, in Italy, the celebration continued . . .


Isn't it always Prosecco Time with the Skorpions?

The Skorpions DII Championship Trophy

Some really good Skorpions
Championship Game photos

Battle for the Ball

The Joy of Winning

More good graphics from the
Italian Federation's PR machine

A nice article about the Silver Bowl
game and a great opportunity to
practice your Italian if you click
on the link below

As if the Skorpions didn't already have enough to celebrate this week . . .

The 2022 Flag Football World
Games are coming up in Alabama

These World Games will be played in Birmingham's venerable Legion Field, the scene of numerous Alabama-Auburn Iron Bowl games in years gone by. The Flag Football portion of the World Games will take place over a five day period from July 10-14.

Birmingham will be hosting a 2022 World Games total of 36 different competitions/tournaments from July 7-17, that include:

The three Artistic Sports of Dance Sport, Gymnastics and Roller Sports

The 11 Ball Sports of Canoe, Fistball, Flag Football, Floorball, Handball, Korfball, Lacrosse, Racquetball, Softball, Squash and Wheelchair Rugby

The six Martial Arts of Ju-jitsu, Karate, Kickboxing, Muaythai, Sumo and Wushu

The four Precision Sports of Archery, Billiards, Boules Sports and Bowling

The two Strength Sports of Powerlifting and Tug of War

And finally, the ten Trend Sports of Air Sports, Canoe, Duathlon, Finswimming, Flying Disc, Lifesaving, Orienteering, Roller Sports, Sport Climbing and Waterski/Wakeboard

Over 100 countries will be represented by 3,600 athletes in these, at times, obscure sports. It should be a great experience for all in attendance. 

Three of the Skorpion Women are on the
Italian National Team that will play in
the Yellowhammer State

The eight countries represented in the Women's Tournament are Austria, Brazil, France, Italy Japan, Mexico, Panama and the United States.

The Silver Bowl MVP is the
lone Skorpion on the Men's Italian
National Team

On the Men's side, there are also eight countries vying for world domination. They are Austria, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Mexico, Panama and the United States.

Anyone up for a Road Trip?

Finally . . .

What do you think about the
Romagna Roosters white jerseys?

The Roosters (6-0) play in Italy's nine man football level, the CIF9 (DIII), and will compete against the Roma Pretoriani (6-1) on Saturday in a semi-final playoff game.

They are seen here in an earlier season game against the Pesaro Angels (1-4). The Roosters won this game, 28-12.

Saturday, June 25, 2022

The 2022 Italian Silver Bowl/DII Championship Game

Fri. & Sat., June 24 & 25, 2022 

A great week of crescendo building hype leading up to the playing of the Silver Bowl which would determine the final supremacy of the 2022 Italian DII American football season was finally over.

It was time to play the game, Bergamo Lions (7-1) vs. Varese Skorpions (7-1)!

I liked this one a LOT!


In the Fall of 2017, I was first contacted by Enzo Petrillo of the Skorpions about becoming the Skorpions Head Coach for the 2018 campaign.

He clearly stated that the people in charge of the Skorpions had a vision of where they believed the team was headed.

The goal was to win the DII National Championship and thus move up to DI in five years.

A lofty goal considering that Varese had gone just 3-6 during the 2017 season in the 24 team Italian DII campaign that finished with a 63-6 Wild Card playoff loss to the Barbari Roma Nord. 

Still, Enzo and his equally determined right hand man, Giorgio Nardi, had a vision and a plan on how to reach this goal the right way through lots of hard work and Barnum & Bailey like promoting.

Nice graphic from the
Italian Federation

Tale of the Tape

Contrast and Compare

Even the referees were being hyped!

With Laurie's all important approval, I agreed to become the Skorpions Head Coach in 2018.

My goals for my first year were simple and to the point, double the 2017 win total from three to six and win a playoff game.

In that 2018 season there were again 24 teams in DII and we finished 5-4, one game short of our win goal. As for the playoff game, we lost to the Modena Vipers 40-33 in overtime in another Wild Card game.

We had definitely improved but were just short of our two team goals.

Too bad the Federation didn't
use real team images in this one

The 2019 season saw 19 teams battling for the DII title. We went 7-3 in that season showing great improvement again both in player development and roster depth. We won our Wild Card playoff game 13-7 over the Palermo Sharks before getting hammered by the #2 seeded Cernusco Daemons 36-0.

Our other two losses that season were to the undefeated, 11-0 National Champion Milano Rhinos 24-10 and an overtime 20-14 loss to the same Cernusco Daemons team that we played again in the playoffs.

We were, overall moving in a positive direction and chomping at the bit for what promised to be an exciting 2020 season!

Simplicity is good in the
world of hype, I believe

I returned in 2020 to the Skorpions for an unheard of, for me, third season. A total of 20 teams would vie for the DII crown this season.

This year the first goal was to win our conference and earn a bye during the playoff's Wild Card weekend and then do serious damage in any subsequent games.

We had a solid set of pre-season practices and a good scrimmage in Switzerland against the Lugano Rebels. The regular season opener against the Savona Pirates was just a week away.

Then Covid-19 hit Italy like the proverbial ton of bricks.

After about eight weeks of the season being first postponed and then finally cancelled, I returned home and decided that it was a time to pass the torch onto someone new to lead the Skorpions to the promised land.

But who?

Hammer Time

During the pandemic, our good coaching friend Bart Iaccarino had set up a series of Zoom coaching clinics for coaches in Europe and Mexico to talk shop while we could not actually coach our various clubs.

Bart asked if I could ask college coaches in the USA to be presenters, so off I went.

I can never say "No," to Bart.

One of the coaches that I contacted was Nick Holt who had been the highly successful Defensive Coordinator at National Champion Southern California, Washington and Purdue.

When I contacted him, he said that he was looking for a job as his term at Purdue had come to an end. I told him about the wonders of coaching in Italy in general and with the Varese Skorpions in particular.

We talked a few more times and I tried to be as honest as possible about what EuroBall life in answering his many questions.

Finally he talked to Enzo and Giorgio and they closed the deal.

Voilà . . .

Nick Holt
Varese Skorpions Head Coach
2021 and 2022

Coach Holt's first year with the Skorpions saw DII shrink in the initial post-Covid 19 season to just 17 clubs.

Still, the Varese squad stayed the course going 6-0 in the shorter regular season. After winning the first playoff game 41-14 over the Sarzana Red Jackets, the Skorpions were upset in the semi-finals 24-21 by the eventual National Champions, the 8-1 Modena Vipers.

The Skorpions finished the 2021 season with a good 7-1 record but there was definitely a feeling of unfinished business.

Pre-Game live stream
QB comparisons

Top WR Comparisons

The two clubs top defenders

The 2022 season saw only 12 squads in DII but the Skorpions were still focused on the Five Year Plan that Enzo and Giorgio had embarked on, you know it, five years ago.

The regular season saw the men from Varese go 5-1 in the regular season losing only to the also 5-1 Bergamo Lions, 31-18. The Skorpions won the return match in the regular season, 20-7.

After both clubs won their first two playoff games, they would meet in Milano in the rubber match for all of the Italian DII marbles. Both clubs were now 7-1 with winning a ring and the elevation to DI in 2023 that goes with it, on their minds.


Laurie was ready for a long day
watching the game that was being
live streamed on YouTube

Varese was kicking off to
start the game

The Skorpions love to run the ball

This KO Return for an apparent
TD was nullified by an
Illegal Wedge call

The replay on the live stream showed that it was a bogus flag, unfortunately there is no avenue in the Italian league for reviews.

CB Andrea Mora recovered two
fumbles in the game, one for a TD

When it was all said and done . . .

. . . the Five Year Plan worked
to perfection!

WR Matteo Mozzanica
was named the games MVP

Old war horses Nicolas Principi
and Pietro Limido getting their
Championship Medals

Then the post-Championship hype started on-line . . .

It's True . . .


The Final 2022 Italian
DII Playoff Bracket

The win today was wonderful to watch and we were both so happy for Nick and Julie Holt, Enzo, Giorgio and the entire fun loving, focused Skorpion family on fulfilling the dream through years of hard work and planning.

There was only one thing left to do . . .

Enjoy the traditional Skorpions
post-game ritual known as


Friday, June 24, 2022

American Football Continues to Dominate My Last Few Days


Tues.-Thurs., June 21-23, 2022

For some yet unknown reason, I decided to drive down to Kennedy H.S. in Granada Hills on a Thursday when the temperature was well into the mid-90°F/mid-30°C range.

The reason was twofold. First to watch Jason Sabolic's El Camino Real Royals play some 7-on-7 against the host Kennedy H.S. Cougars and the also visiting Arleta H.S. Mustangs. 

Easily of more importance though was a lunch meeting in Northridge at Brent's Deli with Paul Sabolic, Jason's father.

After 90 minutes, while each downing one of the deli's amazing club sandwiches and solving most of America's, if not the world's problems, we headed to the toasty Kennedy H.S. football stadium.

ECR in blue, on defense, vs. Kennedy

Kennedy going DEEP!

Oh no, a Cougar receiver is open
deep down the middle

The ball might be a bit under thrown

The ECR defender, in white, who got beat initially, did not give up on the play and has gotten back into the action based on his hustle and attitude. The Royals CB, in blue, has done a nice job of coming off of his receiver and coming over the top of the dangerous Kennedy WR.

At this point the defender in white
has recovered but PI's the receiver
instead of looking for the ball

True, a 15 yard penalty in this situation is better than giving up a TD, but the ball was still far from the Cougars WR.

The Royals CB actually intercepted the ball that was not under thrown as first thought but slightly over thrown as the Kennedy receiver had a hard time judging the ball's path.

Jason Sabolic, Rick Hayashida and
Paul Sabolic

Three good men.

As mentioned, Jason is ECR's Head Coach.

Rick is the former ECR Head Coach who coached Jason back in the day. He is currently working in the ECR program again and it looked like he had taken over the Offensive play calling duties.

Paul is the Royals' #1 "Friend of the Program" as they say.

On the way out of the stadium,
I saw this sign atop Kennedy's
massive press box

William R. Albers was the Principal at Kennedy H.S. when it opened in 1971.

He was also the Principal who opened Westlake H.S. in 1978 and hired me to be the Warriors' first Head Football Coach.

He was a good, enthusiastic Principal who always supported our efforts.

Meanwhile, let's take yet another look at the American football front overseas . . .

The Barcelona Dragons have
another HUGE ELF game
in Austria on Sunday

Even though it is listed as a home game for Germany's Rhein Fire, they seem to be playing the game at a neutral site, Innsbruck, Austria's Tivoli Stadion.

When the #2 and #3 ranked teams
meet, it is indeed a HUGE contest!

This is the ELF's full
Week #4 schedule . . .

. . . but this is easily the best confrontation
as two of the ELF's three remaining 3-0
clubs do battle!

You can watch the game on-line
on Sunday at 6:00 a.m.
Pacific Daylight Savings time

Go Dragons GO!

The Central American country
of Belize plays American Football

Who knew?

Meanwhile, back in the Italy, it was now time to let the hype begin.

The Italian DII Championship
game, the Silver Bowl XXVIII, will
be played in Milano on Saturday

Kickoff will be at 11:30 a.m.
Pacific Daylight Savings time and
the game will be live streamed

Go Skorpions GO!

Really good points for all people,
not just athletes, to consider

Reading Is FUNdamental!

Lots of mayhem in this one

I've become accustomed to this level of violence done for truth, justice and the American way while reading all 27 of the Jack Reacher thrillers.

The first Commissario Brunetti
mystery set in post-pandemic Venice
was a real corker

I have read and enjoyed all 31 of Leon's wonderful series of Brunetti crime novels which are set in glorious Venice.