Milano Rhinos Capture First Italian Title In 26 Years
The Milano Rhinos put on a dominating display in beating the Bolzano Giants 44-18 to win Italian Bowl XXXII in Cesena, Italy on the weekend.
The Rhinos won the last of their five Italian championship titles in 1990. Before this year had not appeared in the Italian Super Bowl since 1994.
Paced by game MVP Nick Ricciardulli who rushed for 200 yards and four touchdowns, the Rhinos took an early lead and never let up on a Giants team which was shell shocked in the first quarter.
It’s no wonder. The Giants almost beaten Milano twice during the regular season. They seemed primed to end the undefeated season for the league leaders.
But Ricciardulli scored two touchdowns in the first half and the Rhinos took a 31-15 halftime lead. Nevertheless, Bolzano answered in the first half with quarterback James Peterson connecting with Marco Podavitte and Gabriele Ghirotti for touchdowns to keep the game reasonably close.
However, Rhinos quarterback TJ Pryor threw two touchdown passes in the second half. The unstoppable Ricciardulli added two more. The Milano defense held Bolzano to three second half points to run away with the win.
Milano Rhinos head coach Chris Ault:
“Nick Ricciardulli is an outstanding back but the real key to his success was our offensive line. They got better and better and Nick learned to read their blocks well. He was able to really take advantage of the Pistol offense. It was an awesome season, we never lost our focus and just kept getting better.
I think the supreme compliment to this team is when you have to beat someone like the Milano Seaman and Bolzano Giants three times to be champions it says a lot about your character and determination.”