AFW Elite Juniors defeat Team Italy in exhibition game in Milan

The Vigorelli Velodrome in Milan, Italy was the scene of a battle between two emerging youth teams from different sides of the globe as the Italian Junior National Team  faced off against the AFW Elite squad, a touring high school all star team from the United States.

Despite being assembled recently, the AFW team came together well, scoring early and going on to defeat Team Italy 34-2.

The game was intended as a tune up for Italy’s International Federation of American Football Junior European Championship game against France in May.

Quarterback Lucas Holubar tossed two touchdown passes for the American youth squad, one each to wide receivers David Dunn and Vinson Ty while running back Emmanual Hardrick added another. Backup quarterback Shawn Pomatto added a touchdown pass in the second half after connecting with Craig Ferguson. Defensive back Andyce Greer scored a late touchdown on a pick six.

Photo: Nando Manzano

For Italy, the defense forced a safety in the second half to account for the two points.

AFW Elite got an early break when Team Italy running back Francesco Cacciola fumbled on his own 26 yard line setting up the touchdown throw from Holubar to Dunn to give the Americans a 7-0 lead.

The ensuing kick-off also ended up in the hands of the AFW Elite, putting them in great field position again, with Ty being on the end of a Holubar scoring throw. This time though the extra point was no good, leaving the score coming out of Q1 being 13-0.

The home side managed to have some positive progression in the second quarter but were unable to put points on the board, although the Italian defense also stopped AFW Elite’s momentum. Italian defensive back  Poalo Lazzaretto picked off a Holubar pass to keep the Americans out of the end zone.

The second half kicked off with a bang as the Italian side forced a safety making the score 13-2. However, even with this boost of momentum the Italian side can’t capitalize ultimately giving the ball back to AFW Elite, who put another seven on the board with a run from Hardrick and a successful PAT to extend the lead to 20-2. As the third quarter wound down, AFW Elite put another six points on the board as Pomatto found Ferguson with the extra point this time being blocked by the Italian squad.

With only one-quarter left, and the Americans leading 26-2, the Italian side still struggled to get things going as Team Italy backup quarterback Sergio Marzullo was picked off. Two possessions later, Andyce Greer of AFW Elite scored the game’s final touchdown and  John Riley added a 2-pt conversion to give AFW Elite a solid 34-2 victory.

Although it seems somewhat bleak for the Italian side, the learning they have done throughout this game will be invaluable to their campaign in the European championships as they taken on France next month and Finland in the fall.

Chris has been a part of American Football for almost a decade playing for Lincoln and Gloucestershire University teams, he also has history covering British University American Football for the past 3 years and also acts as commentator for some of