Sunday, May 27, 2018

Final Game of the 2018 Regular Season

Saturday, 26 May, 2018

Tonight's game was the 2018 DII regular season finale for two squads that were both headed to the playoffs.

Let's take a look at the two club's records to date . . .

5 Wins - 3 Losses
Second Place Group C
#7 ranked in DII

21 Varese Gorillas (0-7) - 12
0 Busto Arsizio Blue Storms (7-0) - 16
25 Sant'Agata Knights (1-6) - 18
16 Sarzana Red Jackets (2-5) - 44
34 Cagliari Crusaders (1-6) - 14
28 Varese Gorillas (0-7) - 7
28 Cagliari Crusaders (1-6) - 0
May 26 at Busto Arsizio Blue Storms (7-0)

7 Wins - 0 Losses
Group C Champions
#3 ranked in DII

16 Varese Skorpions (5-2) - 0
31 Cagliari Crusaders (1-6) - 6
9 Palermo Sharks (3-4) - 7
20 Isonzo Sentinels (0-7) - 9
40 Varese Gorillas (0-7) - 6
31 Cagliari Crusaders (1-6) - 2
3o Varese Gorillas (0-7) - 14
May 26 vs. Varese Skorpions (5-2) 

We knew that this would be a tough game against a confident, physical opponent. We would have to play a solid game with lots of courage to win tonight.

Warm-ups . . .

. . . senza pads


Tackling Practice

DL Coach Pacio was animated

Leave it ALL on the
field tonight Skorpions!

 Taking the field

 Careful with that Hammer

 Captains Out

First Quarter:

Skorpions Ball: We made a first down but had to punt.

Blue Storms Ball: A solid drive ended with a 6 yard TD run and a perfect PAT kick, Blue Storm leads 7-0.

Skorpions Ball: Three and Out, Punt.

Blue Storms Ball: Another physical drive capped by a 20 yard TD run and another good PAT made it 14-0 Blue Storms. Things were not looking good.

Skorpions Ball: The men from Varese were driving as the First Quarter came to an end with Busto Arsizio in control 14-0. 

Alessandro Brovelli ran well early

Our defense was being
severely challenged

Second Quarter:

Varese Ball: Our drive that featured great catches by Martino Piazzi, had started in the First Quarter and ended with an interception on third and goal at the eight yard line.

Busto Arsizio Ball: Three and Out, Punt. WAY TO GO DEFENSE!

Varese Ball: A big play got us back in the hunt. QB Omar Passera hit WR Martino Piazzi on a 41 yard TD bomb but our PAT attempt was partially blocked. The score was now Blue Storms 14 - Skorpions 6.

Busto Arsizio Ball: Three and Out, Punt.

Varese Ball: A long third down pass was intercepted deep in the Blue Storms' end of the field. It was as good as a punt.

Busto Arsizio Ball: Another patented physical, time consuming drive by the home team concluded with a ten yard TD run and a successful PAT. It was now 21-6 in favor of the Blue Storms.

Varese Ball: A good two minute game performance with really less than a minute left in the Half ended at the Busto Arsizio 15 yard line as time ran out.

At the Half Time intermission it was 21-6 Blue Storms but our boys were neither panicked nor distraught. 

 DB Coach Pye Aimetti with our Defense

 One of Martino Piazzi's many
grabs tonight

Third Quarter:

Blue Storms Ball: Three and Out, Punt.

Skorpions Ball: The Passera to Piazzi connection hit on another TD bomb, this time from 50 yards out. Stefano Granelli's PAT was perfect and the Skorpions had closed the gap to 21-13 in favor of the Blue Storms.

Blue Storms Ball: As befits a championship team, the Blue Storms put together a good drive in response to our score that ended with an 18 yard TD pass. The PAT was good to make the score Blue Storms 28 - Skorpions 13.

Skorpions Ball: We were driving as the Third Quarter ended with the Blue Storms in command 28-13.

QB Omar Passera is a winner and
a fighter with great leadership qualities

 Busto Arsizio has an
excellent Offensive Line

Fourth Quarter:

Varese Ball: Our drive that continued from the Third Quarter apparently stalled calling for a punt. NOT SO FAST MY FRIEND! Personal Protector Giacomo "Jack" Micheli read the Blue Storms Punt Block scheme perfectly, called an audible and hit Slotback Nicolas Principe for a spark infusing 20 yard first down. Then the Passera to Piazzi combination scored another passing TD from 20 yards out. Granelli's PAT kick was true and the battling Skorpions now trailed 28-20.

Busto Arsizio Ball: Pounding the ball and using their size advantage to the utmost, the Blue Storms' physical drive ended with a four yard TD run and a good PAT kick, Blue Storms 35 - Skorpions 20.

Varese Ball: A potential 20 yard gain was aborted by a Blue Storms defender stripping the ball and recovering the fumble.

Busto Arsizio Ball: To emphasize their physical style, a five yard QB Sneak TD ended this drive. The PAT was again good and it was now 42-20 in favor of the Blue Storms. Would the Skorpions roll over and die?

Varese Ball: Most emphatically, NO! It was Passera to Piazzi time again for their fourth TD connection of the night! This one was from ten yards out. Pietro Limido was good on his first PAT attempt of the season. It was now Busto Arsizio 42 - Varese 27.

Busto Arsizio Ball: Our last ditch onside kick attempt failed and the Blue Storms ran out the clock.

It was a physical . . .

 . . . PHYSICAl game tonight


Martino Piazzi was the easy
choice for the Game Hammer

The bottom line is that the Blue Storms were just the better team tonight.

I was proud of our club's never say die attitude throughout the contest.

Our offense in particular really played well in putting up 27 points on a Busto Arsizio defense that had only allowed 44 points total all season in their seven games coming into tonight's contest.

On Monday we will find out who, when and where we will play our Wild Card playoff game the weekend of June 9-10.

Again, great effort Skorpions . . .

"With Your Shields or ON THEM!"  

Saturday, May 26, 2018

A Few Last Minute Blue Storms Game Details and a GREAT Dinner!

Friday, 25 May, 2018

First, this breaking story about Italian nonnas is definitely NOT fake news . . .

I found this to be true for the
first time in Enna, Sicily in 2008

Although all of our physical preparation for Saturday night's big game against the 7-0, #3 ranked, Group C Champion Busto Arsizio Blue Storms ended with Thursday night's practice, I still had several organizational details to attend to today.

I also had to continue my daily battle with the weeds laying siege to the Villa Skorpion, read a bit and then journey to the Esselunga Super Market for provisions.

By late afternoon we decided that we needed to go out for a proper Friday night dinner date, but where?  

Enza is our
Venegono Superiore Librarian
The last time we went to the local public library to check out a couple of DVDs and donate some English language titles to their collection, we had asked her for a recommendation of a good place to dine fine food and adult beverages in the area.

Enza did not bat an eye as she instantly responded, "Che SpettaColo di Sapori in the village of Morazzone on Via Europa."

So we we decided to follow her lead and drive the 15 minutes to Morazzone.


Enza was dead on point! 

This ristorante offered us an amazing array of sauces to go with the fresh ingredients of the meal.

The plate that you see here is the smallest of four seafood antipasto plates that was brought to us over a 15 minute period.

We thought that we were done and had misinterpreted the menu as to what our main dishes were.

No, we were told, these are all just part of our antipasto order.

We were in trouble.

 Out came my pasta al nero


It was incredibly good and brought back many fine dining memories from our two seasons coaching the Catania Elephants in Sicily in 2008 and 2009.

 Laurie loved her artichoke-seafood
pasta as well

As for the matching adult beverage . . .

 . . . it was indeed Prosecco Time

Life in Italy is

On another note about the local international American football scene . . .

Italy's Division I leading
Milan Seamen will host
an International Tournament
Championship Game in June

The Seamen, coached by Europe Warriors DC Mike Wood, will play the winner of the Calanda Broncos (Switzerland) at Potsdam Royals (Germany) game being contested this coming Sunday.

We will be playing our Wild Card playoff game either on the 9th or 10th of June at a sight and against an opponent to be named on Monday.

If you can not make it to our game, then I highly recommend going to see he Seamen's game.

Friday, May 25, 2018

A Final Tune-up Before the Big Game

Thursday, 24 May, 2018

After a busy Wednesday, we laid low for the most part today reading and continuing to wage war on the weeds trying to lay siege to the Villa Skorpion.

Congratulations are in order for our old club in the South of Spain, the Murcia Cobras.

 They are in the Spanish DI
Championship Game on June 2nd for 
the first time in their long history

The undefeated Cobras (10-0) were seeded #1 and play the #2 seeded, two time defending champion and perennial Spanish powerhouse Badalona Dracs (8-0) in the northern coastal city of Gijón.

While the Cobras have had to battle to win their two playoff games against Mallorca Voltors (35-14) and the Las Rozas Black Demons (35-28), the Dracs have been cruising to the title game with easy victories over the Gijón Mariners (78-12) and the Osos Rivas (48-0).

All I can say is . . .

Go Cobras GO!

Meanwhile, back at Skorpion Field . . .

We had a GREAT U13 turnout!

U15 HC Enzo Petrillo going
over a new concept . . .

. . . working the new concept vs. air . . .

. . . and then vs. the U17s in their
weekly scrimmage

Before the Flag practices, we held our best attended U19 practice to date and introduced some WR screen concepts that were well received, no pun intended.

The Senior team practice also was well attended as it was our last one before facing the best team on our schedule, the #3 ranked, 7-0 Busto Arsizio Blue Storms Saturday night on the road.

While the individual effort was good, the team consistency was still a bit lacking.

Nevertheless, we will show up for the 8:30 p.m. kickoff as scheduled.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

A Trip to Torino Turns Into an AMAZING Plan B at the Duomo in Milan

Wednesday, 23 May, 2018

Our plan for the day was simple enough, coffee at the bar next to the Venegono Inferiore train station, catch the 7:35 a.m. train to Milan, board the Green Metro line to Milan's Centrale train station and then board another train heading West to Torino, a.k.a., Turin.

A day trip to the main city in the Piedmont region just sounded good to us both.

Everything was going well until we got to the Metro station. We submerged into the Metro tunnel to find both a jam packed Green line Metro at the platform and a jam packed platform with commuters now having to wait for the next Metro a few minutes later. This was business as usual at rush hour but what happened next wasn't.

The doors of the Metrclosed and then opened again and again and again. After abouthe tenth attempt, the lights on the Metro went dark and it was announced thaeveryone needed to geoff as the Metro had broken down.

We all knew thathat meantrouble since one just can'push the Metro off to the side.

We decided quickly that we needed a Plan B as we did not want to deal with finding the correct Tram line to Milan Centrale. We have not been able to find any kind of a tram map in all of our Milan travels so you just have to find a tram stop and see where the trams on this particular stops head.

Madcap I know, but that is life in the North sometimes.

Our Plan B today was a visit to Milan's Duomo.

All of Milan's Duomo, i.e., outside, inside, underneath and atop.

It would turn out to be
a GREAT Plan B

But first we needed another cappuccino and a brioche at one of our favorite and diet dangerous spots in Milan, the Pasticceria Marchesi.

 See whaI mean about . . . 

 . . . dangerous!

A new, random church for us

It was Greek Orthodox style inside. That was different.

 San Carlos Borromeo


Laurie was in need of a restroom break, so we ducked into the fabulous Peck eatery to use their free facility.

I posed as a shopper to give her cover.  



And DOUBLE Yikes!

The fruit topped one in the middle on the left looks really healthy to me.

Just saying.

Peck has teas, lots of teas

On to Plan B . . .

Protecting the piazza in front of . . .

. . . Milan's Duomo

St. Andrew with his X shaped cross

 Show off

Getting in line to enter the Duomo after buying our 16 Euros per person ducats afforded us some different, close up views of the Duomo.

It is tall

It is ornate

 It is interesting

The Piazza Duomo

Laurie loves grapes

Especially after fermentation.

A veiled face on the right

 You two,

So much artwork!

The Duomo was constructed between 1386 and 1810 with final touches added as late as 1965.

The dukes of Milan wanted to impress their peers to the North in France and Germany and gain the respect of the Vatican to the South.

Mission Accomplished!  

Incredible main entry door

Stop flashing the crowd!


 We were finally inside
one of Christendom's greatest
Gothic Cathedrals

We had visited this wondrous church when there was no entry fee back in 2008 and again in 2009.

It was more amazing inside than we both remembered.

 How did they do this?

My sign is Cancer

Laurie's is Taurus

Of course there are astrological signs in a Catholic Cathedral.

Laurie overwhelmed by
a Duomo pillar . . .

. . . An extremely BIG pillar

Different Holy Water Font

What am I taking a picture of  ask?

The chronological list of all of the 144
Archbishops/Cardinals of the Duomo

 #140 would become Pope Paul VI

A Confessional

"In this Sign Conquer"

 Mary over the Duomo's Façade

Jesus is BIG in the Duomo

So is Mary

So is the Medici family

Ornate Cross

San Bartolomeo

This 16th-century statue of this 1st-century Apostle and martyr who was skinned alive by those wacky, fun loving Romans may be my favorite piece of art in all of Europe.

It was carved by one of Leonardo di Vinci's students. What makes it appealing to me is that it gave the young artist a chance to show off the skills he had learned about human anatomy after studying cadavers which the Catholic Church prohibited in those times.

Thus he displayed the inner anatomically correct San Bartolomeo draped with his robe-like skin.

What a rascal. 

San Bartolomeo was not
fearful of Leg Day it appears

 Collapsed foot skin


 A smaller but no less intricate pillar

 I was getting a little tired too

Jesus and a couple of angels


After touring the interior of the Duomo, we went under it to . . .

. . . the remains of a church
that pre-dates the Duomo
at this site

In Roman times the streets here were about ten feet lower than they are today.

Sforza crested pottery was
on display with the ruins

One last look before heading
out the doors . . .

. . . and oh what doors INDEED!

A Blessing

What is going on in the lower panel?

So much talent . . .

The Tower of Babel?

Our final Duomo destination was its roof via elevator for the most part.

We had never been up there before and we were in for a great surprise.


Two great views,
Laurie and Milan


What do you think you
Northern Kings?

Who does not love
a beautiful buttress?

LOTS of beautiful buttresses

 Laurie insisted

How could I say no?

 The Vatican just had to be impressed!

 Old spires in the foreground,
a new one in the distance

 Even at rooftop levels, the detailed
artwork continued

Laurie with spires and
the Galleria behind her

 Framing Milan

 Standing on the Duomo's roof


 Laurie liked this face

 I liked these boxers

These two also

What are modern day boxers doing on top of the Duomo you ask?

Simple really, you see an Italian boxer by the name of Primo Carnera reigned as the World Heavyweight Champion after beating Jack Sharkey at Madison Square Garden in June of 1933.

Il Duce, Benito Mussolini, knew a good PR situation when he saw it and made Carnera into a sort of poster boy for Fascist propaganda.

This would include adding these boxing images to the Duomo's rooftop.

By the way, these boxing statues were listed as the #7 thing to see in my book 111 Places in Milan That You Must Not Miss.

A bit more traditional

The view of the Piazza Duomo
before we started our descent

Still loving the buttresses

Cherubs always seem to
do the heavy lifting

One last artsy foto of an
extremely artsy building

The Sun was out, Laurie wanted to shop while I wanted to browse the Galleria's two book shops.

Meet you by the Leonardo di Vinci
statue on the Piazza La Scala

Let's roam a bit before eating lunch.

Interesting building

Sunny window grate

 Bottle glass windows

All of these details made for quite he edifice!

 Fortunately, this was a
Sumo Wrestling free zone

 Milan's Centrale Station

We made it not for a train to Torino as planned but only for Laurie to see and have lunch in one of their many bistros.

Only one more train for us today and that was home to the Villa Skorpion via the Cadorna to Venegono Inferiore train stations.

A fat cat on a blissful
Italian train ride home

It was such a BEAUTIFUL day, why were we not practicing American football?