Wednesday, May 23, 2018

A Relaxed Day at the Villa and a Key Practice


Tuesday, 22 May, 2018

From the "Where Are They Now" file . . . 

Happy to report that Weeb Embank
is alive and well living in Italy

He is seen here in the blue jacket at last Sunday's Flag Football mania tournament at Skorpion Field.

The former Head Coach of the 1958 and 1959 NFL Champion Baltimore Colts and of the Super Bowl III Champion New York Jets is apparently spending his golden years in charge of Lombardia's Flag Football programs.

You just can't make this stuff up!

Can you?

Where ALL of your dreams
can come true!

Especially if you are looking for a hammer.

Where ALL of your dreams
can come true!

Especially if you are looking for wine, cheese, meat and fresh, hand rolled bead sticks for lunch.

See what  mean?

We are becoming SO Italian

Senior Practice

I had only a QB and two WR/DB types show up to the U19 practice. Not good but understandable since most of the players in this age group are playing on the Senior team or on one of our Flag teams.

No Flag team practices tonight after last Sunday's games.

Our Senior practice had mixed reviews. 

While the effort was good, we were again missing just enough key players to hold us back from any real improvement as a team.

And we play the nation's #3 ranked DII team, the 7-0 Busto Arsizio Blue Storms, next Saturday night on the road . . .

Reading Is FUNdamental

If you want to learn everything
that there is to know about Italian
train travel culture . . .

Then this is THE book for you!

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

A HUDL Monday


Monday, 21 May, 2018

I had put it off long enough. I simply had to finish breaking down the Crusaders video before Tuesday's practice.

Thus Monday was a good
day to spend watching the
Cagliari game on my HUDL app

Of course we needed a lunch break, so at about 1:00 p.m. we headed to nearby Torba to dine at one of our favorite hidden gems in Lombardia, the Trattoria di Torba.

 WWI and WWII
Monument to Torba's Fallen

This front side is dedicated to a WWI Captain declared MIA in 1915.

These two died fighting in WWI

A WWII Alpini casualty

A POW in Austria and a death
in Tripoli in WWI, I think

In the Trattoria di Torba

A pair of sisters run this rustic eatery that specializes in traditional Italian dishes with nothing but the freshest ingredients.

Our meal was simple and delicious

This is easily my favorite dining spot in the area and that is saying a lot considering all of the wonderful places we have discovered to eat in the greater Venegono Superiore megalopolis!

After lunch, I had time to read and weed the driveway before returning to the HUDL app.

Finally finished with the Cagliari game, I took a look at our Federation's website to catch up on the latest DII news.

With only one game left for everyone except the Sharks and the Mastini who play each other on Wednesday in a non-Group game before playing again in two Group A and Group E games respectively, here are the current Group standings.

Remember, the first and second place teams from each of the six Groups will be playoff bound.



This week's DII Power Rankings still had us ranked at #7 after our bye week.

Our final regular season opponent, the 7-0, Group C Champion Busto Arsizio Blue Storms somehow dropped from #2 to #3 after their bye week.



Starting at 5:00 p.m., I'm looking forward to five and a half hours of U19, U17, U15, U13 and Senior team practices on yet another soggy evening.

IT'S GREAT TO BE A SKORPION!

Monday, May 21, 2018

A Sunday of FULL of American Football


Sunday, 20 May, 2018

If you are a fan of any anall forms of American football, then this was a GREAT day for you!

It all started at 10:00 a.m. at Skorpion Field where we were hosting the third and final Flag football Qualifying Tournament for the Nationals in earlJune.

Based on previous results, our U15s were already qualified while both our U13s and U17s needed wins today to move on to the upcoming tournament in the Tuscan city of Grosetto.

Let's see how the day progressed with each team scheduled to play two games.

U13 Team Action

This squad needed to win one of their two games to avoid the end of their campaign.

The Milan Seamen have the world's
biggest U13 Free Safety in #76 Luca

Tommy to Emma
always seems to work

Great Socks = Great Play

At least that's what Davide here believes.

Marco Breaking-Away

Milan is excited by this interception
to say the least

Bombs Away!

Throwing short is ok too

Milan's #76 covering Melissa
man-to-woman

TD EMMA!

And another!

Davide returning an interception

I love the flowing locks.

We lost this game to the Seamen, so now it came down to a one game season with the Busto Arsizio Blue Storms. We had split our two previous meetings in these qualifying tournaments. Today's winner would move on, the loser was done for 2018.

Big Play Melissa

This Blue Storms pass was
just too tall

PURSUIT!

DAVIDE PICK-SIX!

Emma on a blitz

It's all about socks karma

Battle!

It was a high scoring, hard fought game but guess what . . .

WE'RE GOING TO THE NATIONALS!

Congratulations to all of the players and coaches of the U13 team for punching their tickets in such a clutch, dramatic fashion.

U15 Team Action

This group was undefeated on the season and already qualified for the Nationals. Today they were only playing to see how high of a seed they will get in the U15 National Tournament.

Nothing like a good, steady QB

Track the ball . . .

. . . Catch the ball

Are you going to try to cover me?

Gabriele "Il Dottore"
is a force in the open field

Sammy putting a move on a DB

Go and get it up high!

Go and get it down low!

Filippo racing for the pylon
and six more points

TD SKORPIONS!

GREAT TD CATCH!

GREAT one handed Goal Line
interception by a Seaman

Coaches DJ and Enzo's post-game
talk with our undefeated U15s

Two more wins today, one easy and one hard fought, may mean the #1 seed at Nationals, we'll soon find out.

U17 Team Action

We needed a win to qualify, we got two!

Tanya is the U17s
pass rushing demon

She had five QB sacks in today's two contests.

Is that #5's hand?

#1 "Capo" getting a high five
after a PICK-SIX

SLING IT!

Too tall

Yes, I intercepted that pass . . .

. . . with these hands!

Defending the bomb this time

C-QB exchanges were good today

Almost a TD

Open in the Flat

GREAT defensive effort!

GRANDE TANYA!

No QB feels safe when she is on the field.

Our six games were over and all three of our Flag teams had indeed qualified for the Nationals . . . 

MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!

Only one other club in all of Italy, the Milan Rhinos, qualified all three of their Flag teams for the Nationals.

GREAT JOB SKORPIONS!

A few other things were going on at Skorpion Field during the games.

The selling of football shoes and
NFL clothing is always a big hit

This stand is run by a private company but the big sellers today were all forms of Skorpion apparel sold in our Snack Bar.

Speaking of our Snack Bar . . .   

. . . it was Prosecco Time
after the games were done

No time for vegetarians

Good looking . . .

. . . good tasting goat meat
and ribs on the BBQ!

Now it was on to the next/final American football event of the weekend . . . 

The 3:00 p.m. kickoff
of a non-Group DII game

Ravenna Chiefs (2-4)
Second Place in Group B
at
Varese Gorillas (0-6)
Fourth Place in Group C

Group B's four teams are all located in or near Roma. I just wanted to get a feel for their level of play in the South.

Interesting poster outside
the stadium sums up our feeling
on the subject
  
Could be dangerous

I do like their Gorilla logo

The game was being played at Varese's soccer stadium, not the Gorillas' normal, quaint field.

Hallway of Honor . . .

. . . for Varese Calico only . . .

. . . and only two honorees

Lots of Skorpions were in the House!

There were still a few empty
seats on the visiting side 

Nice field

This venue was the site of the 2012 Italian Super Bowl between the Parma Panthers and our beloved Catania Elephants on a hot June day with a then packed stadium.

Parma won the title that day with Laurie and I in attendance.

As for today's game, it was had fought from beginning to end but the Chiefs prevailed in the end.


Even though they are now 0-7, the Gorillas are still playing hard and with great enthusiasm. I believe that this attitude is a sign of the positive job that their coaching staff is doing and of the team's character and love for the game.

Division II - Week in Review

Week #12 Results
Brescia Bengals (4-3) 49
Sarzana Red Jackets (2-5) 30

Ravenna Chiefs (3-4) 17
Varese Gorillas (0-7) 8

BYES
Busto Arsizio Blue Storms (7-0)
Cagliari Crusaders (1-6)
Sant'Agata Knights (1-6)
Varese Skorpions (5-2)

Group C Standings
1. Busto Arsizio Blue Storms 7-0
2. Varese Skorpions 5-2
3. Cagliari Crusaders 1-6
4. Varese Gorillas 0-7

Week #13 Schedule
Saturday, May 26th
Varese Skorpions (5-2) at Busto Arsizio Blue Storms (7-0)
Palermo Sharks (3-3) at Sant'Agata Knights (1-6)

Sunday, May 27th
Cagliari Crusaders (1-6) at Varese Gorillas (0-7)
Reggio Emilia Hogs (6-1) at Sarzana Red Jackets (2-5)

Week #13 is the final week of the 2018 DII regular season. For the only time this season, all 24 DII teams will be playing over the weekend, no byes for once.

This will be a physically hard week of two teams in particular, the Group A Palermo Sharks (3-3) and the Group E Verona Mastini (4-2) who are both in second place in their respective Groups at this time.

After both winning games last Saturday, they will play each other this coming Wednesday night in Sicily before playing again on Saturday.

The Sharks will travel on Saturday to Sant'Agata to play the 1-6 Knights while the Mastini will also be on the road taking on the undefeated 7-0 Padova Saints.

Speaking of tough, physical weeks, your #7 ranked, 5-2 Skorpions will take to the strada to play Group C's Champion 7-0, #2 ranked Busto Arsizio Blue Storms.

After the Blue Storms game there will be a bye week before the playoffs Wild Card weekend.

The eight teams seeded five through twelve will play Wild Card games.

The top four seeds earn a Wild Card weekend bye for their season long excellence. 

 Stay tuned . . .