Sunday, March 18, 2018

A Birthday, a Rainy Sunday and the Week #4 Division II Results

Sunday, 18 March, 2018

First and foremost on yet another rainy day in Venegono Superiore . . .


. . . to our Grandson . . .

. . . Jacob!

I got the chance to talk to him on FaceTime, thank goodness for modern technology.

How I miss all three of our Grandchildren . . .


Week #4 Results - Skorpion Opponents (red)
Busto Arsizio Blue Storms (1-0) 16
Varese Skorpions (1-1) 0

Cagliari Crusaders (1-0) 16
Varese Gorillas (0-2) 0

Palermo Sharks (2-0)
Sant'Agata Knights (0-2) 10

Sarzana Red Jackets (0-2)

DII Group C Standings
1T. Busto Arsizio Blue Storms 1-0
1T. Cagliari Crusaders 1-0
3. Varese Skorpions 1-1
4. Varese Gorillas 0-2

Week #5 Schedule - Skorpion Opponents (red)
Saturday, March 24
Bologna Braves (0-2) at Sant'Agata Knights (0-2)
Sarzana Red Jackets (0-2) at Reggio Emilia Hogs (1-1)

Sunday, March 25
Cagliari Crusaders (1-0) at Busto Arsizio Blue Storms (1-0)

Varese Gorillas (0-2)
Varese Skorpions (1-1)

As I stated at the start of this post, it rained all day again today. As I've gotten wet enough the past week, I decided to stay inside the warm, dry fortress that is the Villa Skorpion.

Laundry, reading and web searching while waiting for the Blue Storms tape to be uploaded to HUDL took up the majority of my time.

Unfortunately, I am still awaiting our HUDL upload. Looks like I'll be indoors again most of Monday breaking down the Blue Storms video.

Several photos from the Blue Storm were posted on Face Book today, here are some of the ones I liked. 

#64 Center Paolo Montonati,
 #13 Wide Receiver Martino Piazzi and
#98 Defensive Lineman Raffaele Narrt

Defensive Line Coach Pacio Cranchi
holding the string, helping line the field

Skorpions' Head Coach
surveying the warm-ups

 QB Gianluca Arena

Review the Kicking Game units

Opening Kickoff

Lots of ground game by the
Blue Storms on the night

Dylan Auriemma's awesome
Kickoff Return

Did I mention that
Skorpions Field was wet?

Blue Storms Kickoff to start
the Second Half

I believe that this is #22 for the
Skorpions, CB Andrea Mora

Andrea was awarded the Game Hammer for his great play running across the field to force a last gasp fumble on what otherwise would have been a 60+ yard Blue Storm TD.

Mud Bowl

We simply need to improve
on offense QUICKLY!


Post-Game talk to the Skorpions

 I need to do a MUCH better job
coaching during the next two weeks

We have no games until April 7th when we host the Sant'Agata Knights (0-2) in a non-Group C contest. 

"Santa" Barbara Zanella and
Pietro Caprioli

Two of the many amazing, wonderful, hard working people who are the backbone of the Skorpions organization.

Reading Is FUNdamental

Old School
but a good, short read


GAME DAY: The Busto Arsizio Blue Storms Invade Skorpion Field

Saturday, 17 March, 2018

After consecutive weekends without a game due to first to a snowed-out postponement of our Cagliari Crusaders contest and then a bye week, it was finally time for a . . .


Our opponents today would be a tough one to be sure, the Group's defending champion Busto Arsizio Blue Storms.

The Blue Storms were 8-2 last year having lost in the playoff quarterfinals 21-14 to the eventual playoff runner-up Reggio Emilia Hogs.

Our game would be Busto Arsizio's first game of the season as their Varese Gorillas game had also been snowed-out two weeks ago.

In watching the videos of our games against them last year I was left with one main impression. The Blue Storms were a big, physical, no-nonsense team that appeared to be well coached.

We would have our hands full to be sure.


A photo of our 2017 team appeared in today's La Gazette della Sport.

This is HUGE for a Division II team!

 Meanwhile at Skorpion Field . . .

 It had rained lightly all morning but
our field had drained nicely overall . . .

 . . . but the middle was
indeed a bit of a quagmire

In other words . . .
It was a BEAUTIFUL day
for American football!

 With Giovanni Ganci

Giovanni is a member of the Blue Storms staff who I met for the first time about two hours before our kickoff.

It both surprised and flattered me when he proudly announced that he has been following my blog since our days coaching the Catania Elephants back in 2008 in Italy's top league, the IFL Serie A.

Giovanni and the other Busto Arsizio coaches I met today all seemed like being good people.

As the Blue Storms arrived individually to Skorpion Field, one of my video breakdown impressions was confirmed.

Their players were indeed big and physical looking.

Skorpions warming-up

 The mandatory pre-game
document check

 Ema Della Bosca
was cleared to play

Captains Out

Busto Arsizio Blue Storms (0-0)
Varese Skorpions (1-0)

We won the toss and deferred our choice to the Second Half.


Blue Storms Ball: Their first drive was exactly what I expected, the Blue Storms ran the ball with authority but our defense made a few plays to slow them down. The Blue Storm play of the drive, in my opinion, was a 4th & 9 play thathey converted for a kefirst down. An 11 yarTD pass ended their drive. The PAT was good and the Blue Storms led 7-0.

Skorpions Ball: A fantastic kickoff return by Dylan Auriemma started our drive at the Blue Storms 37 yard line. We did a good job blocking and running the ball and were faced with a 2nd & Goal at the one foot line. Our handoff somehow hit our running back on the top of his shoulder pad and ricocheted over the line of scrimmage. It landed about five yards in the end zone where the Blue Storms Free Safety pounced on the ball for a touchback.

Blue Storms Ball: Our defense rose above the adversity and forced a Three and Out Punt on the ensuing series.

At the end of the quick, run oriented First Quarter, the score was Blue Storms 7 - Skorpions 0.

The Line of Scrimmage
on a soggy night


Varese Ball: The Skorpions made some noise with a big pass completion from QB Omar Passera to Martino Piazzi but our drive would fizzle and we had to punt as field position was paramount on this wet field.

Busto Arsizio Ball: Our defense came up with a Big Play when FS Simone Tettamanti intercepted a pass and returned it in an exciting zig-zag pattern for an apparent TD. I say apparent because we were called for a block in the back about five yards behind the ball, a block that was completely unnecessary. To add to our problem, our player called for the penalty just had to argue in typical Italian cultural form with the referee. That drew a second, dead ball 15 yard penalty. So, our Big Play was not a TD and our offense just lost 30 yards of valuable field position.

Varese Ball: Three and Out Punt.

Busto Arsizio Ball: Another Big Play by our defense and again by Free Safety Simone Tettamanti. He picked off another Blue Storm pass and returned that one about 20 yards.

Varese Ball: Three and Out Punt.

Busto Arsizio Ball: The Blue Storms ended the First Half with a kneel down.

At Halftime it was still
Blue Storms 7 - Skorpions 0


We had been lucky that in the First Half we only had to deal with a light mist. At halftime, the deluge was in full force, SKORPION WEATHER at its finest.

Skorpions Ball: Three and Out Punt.

Blue Storms Ball: An apparent Three and Out Punt was negated by a roughing the punter call. Our defense showed their mental toughness and forced another punt after just three more plays.

Skorpions Ball: Three and Out Punt.

Blue Storms Ball: Busto Arsizio was driving as the Third Quarter came to an end. The score was still Blue Storms 7 - Skorpions 0.


Busto Arsizio Ball: We were now playing in an officially declared Mud Bowl. The Blue Storms QB mysteriously broke out of a pack of players and was setting sail on an apparent 60+ yard TD run. That is when the character and pride of our defense reared its beautiful head. The Blue Storms QB's run for glory was steaming up our right sideline but our left CB and left OLB refused to give up on the play.

LCB Andrea Mora was in hot pursuit and stripped their QB of the ball at the TWO YARD LINE! Our LOLB Nicolas Principi, who goes 100% at all times in practices as well as in games, was there to recover the fumble at the one yard line!

Varese Ball: The good news is that we stopped the Blue Storm TD threat, the bad news was that our drive was starting at our own one yard line. On second down, we gave up a safety.

The score was now Blue Storms 9 - Skorpions 0.

Busto Arsizio Ball: As per rule after a safety, we had to kickoff from our own 20 yard line. Stefano Granelli had a tremendous kick that sailed over the head of the returners. Our coverage team eventually downed him at the Blue Storms' four yard line!

On this drive the Blue Storms were able to use their size to their advantage with a powerful ground game culminating with a 20 yard TD run. The PAT was good and the Blue Storms lead increased to 16-0.

Varese Ball: We made a first down before punting again.

Busto Arsizio Ball: Three and Out Punt.

Varese Ball: We ran a few plays but the clock ran out and the game was over.

Final Score:

Final Thoughts:

We knew that we were in for a tough game tonight and we were. I was very proud of how our young team handled adversity throughout the contest with great tenacity.

Our offense continues to struggle but we had some flashes tonight that gave us reason to hope for a breakthrough soon.

I love our guys due to their resiliency and never-say-die attitude.

It's GREAT to be a Skorpion!  

MLB Ivan "Swito" Raso 
enjoyed the Mud Bowl

I will give you the Division II weekend results in my next post as we still have one more game of import to the Skorpions being played on Sunday.

After two more bye weeks, our next game, the first of our two consecutive non-Group C contests, will be played on Saturday, April 7th at home against the Sant'Agata Knights.


Saturday, March 17, 2018

A New, INCREDIBLE Pasticceria, a Trip to the IPER and a Mexican Dinner

Friday, 16 March, 2018

Today marked . . .

. . . days living in Italy

Good friend Julien Urgenti
sent me this study

No wonder we've loved living in France, Italy and Spain.

As for my friends in Sweden and Switzerland, we have some catching up to do.

After all of the rain on Thursday, today was remarkably beautiful!

Lots of snow on the
mountains in the distance

I saw this in La Gazetta dello Sport

I was told that it was too late for me to enter this road race.

Chapel in Venegono Superiore

The doors to this chapel have never been open when I have gone by the last two months.

Today they were open so I pulled the car over to go take a look.

While the large wooden doors were obviously open, the inner glass doors were locked. Through them I had a clear view of the simple chapel.

Curiosity appeased, I headed back to my auto which forced me to walk along a side street that I had not previously taken due to construction issues.

Because of this walking detour I discovered something new and exciting!

An AMAZING Pasticceria!

And they serve gelato too.



Fruits are healthy, right?

And it went . . .

. . . on and . . .

. . . on and . . .

. . . on!

I broke down and purchased one of the small chocolate treats seen in the first picture . . . AMAZING!

I continued on my way to the IPER supermarket in Varese to do a little shopping and take some photos of the always interesting food displays.

Lots of large chocolate Easter eggs

And there is a prize inside.

Pork is good

Chickens . . . Heads and all

Italian Salame
Multo Bello!

Citrus Fruits

No idea what these are

Do you know?

Cauliflower Romano

I liked the purple cart

Shopping done, it was time for a leisurely drive back home along a different path.

Chiesa Santi Evasio e Stefano
opened in 1679

It sits on a bluff overlooking a beautiful valley but the doors were closed.

Crane icon for the chiesa

Cranes again

In the evening I joined several of the Skorpion coaches and their families for a dinner in Milano's Piedra del Sol Mexican restaurant.

While the food was good,
the company was GREAT!

Besides the Skorpions, we were
also part of a reunion of sorts

We filled up two long, long tables as there were about 40 of us in attendance.

The reunion table

If you recall from Tuesday's post, at practice two former 1980s era American import players, both from California, Dave Stineman and Bobby Frasco, were in the area on vacation.

Tonight they were greeted at our dinner by a bunch of the Italian players that were their teammates back in the day.

Nothing like a four hour dinner

Good times indeed!

Some of the reunion clan

Lots of rehashed war stories from the good old days were told to be sure.

Raffaele Nardi
Skorpions Defensive Tackle

And a great young man.

It was a fun day of sunshine, food, adult beverages and great camaraderie.

Saturday looms and it will be . . .

. . . GAME DAY!