LIVE STREAM: Bergamo Lions aiming for 5th straight win as Ancona Dolphins come to town (4p CEST, 10a EDT)

The 4-3 Bergamo Lions will face the Ancona Dolphins (3-5) Sunday in a pivotal game for both teams. The game, to be played in Bergamo, has huge playoff implications for both teams.

Since opening the season 0-3, the Lions, under head coach Adam Rita, have quietly climbed up in the standings, winning four straight games. A win against Ancona would guarantee a playoff spot for the first time since 2014 and make them the most improved team in Italy this season.

Bergamo finished the 2016 campaign with a dismal 1-9 record after going 3-7 in 2015.

Ancona enters the game needing a win badly.With a record of 3-5, they are in danger of missing the playoffs for the first time in many years.

Bergamo quarterback Giorgio Bryant while not among the top passers in the league, is the third leading rusher with 449 yards rushing and six touchdowns. His mobility has been a key to the Lions offense which has scored 158 points in seven games. This has been enough as the defense is the fifth best in the country allowing just 15 points a game. Running back Parris Lee  (Georgia State) is now seventh in the league in rushing and is averaging 8.7 yards a carry.

Bergamo RB Parris Lee Photo Credit: Mossali

The Dolphins rely heavily on quarterback Ryan Kasdorf who is fourth in passing with 1,471 yards and he has thrown 17 touchdown passes. Two of his receivers, Fiorenzo Ruggio and T. Mosca, are among the top 10 in Italy. Kasdorf is also third in overall offense.

Bryant will have to have his head on a swivel today though. Dolphins middle linebacker Zachary Blair is the fifth leading tackler in Italy this year so far, having recorded 52 total tackles. Blair, from UVA-WISE (NCAA Div. II), set the NCAA career record for tackles for loss.

Photo: Lorenza Morbidoni

Adam Rita is very happy with the development of  the Lions so far:

“The entire team is really starting to play well. Giorgio has been solid. His mobility really helps the offensive line and he has been making plays. He is such a great athlete. Also our special teams have really improved which makes a big difference.”

Expect a defensive battle with two teams desperate for a win. The Lions still have the Milano Rhinos and Parma Panthers to face so winning this one is crucial. Ancona has only one game left after this so a loss would hurt their playoff chances.

LIVE STREAM: Bergamo Lions v. Ancona Dolphins (4p CEST, 10a EDT)

Roger Kelly is an editor and a writer for AFI. A former PR Director the B.C. Lions of the Canadian Football League for 7 years, he now lives in Sweden writing about and scouting American Football throughout the world.