Defending champion Milano Seamen open season in Italy with shutout

The Milano Seamen opened the defense of their 2017 Italian title in impressive fashion blanking the previously unbeaten Bolzano Giants 21-0 this past weekend in Milano.

Relying on a stifling defense, the Seamen patiently picked apart the Bolzano defense. Quarterback Luke Zahradka was efficient throwing for 204 yards and three touchdowns. Wide receiver Stefano di Tunisi caught five passes for 96 yards and a touchdown, Ismail Lamamra hauled in four for 64 yards and a touchdown while Xavier Mitchell in his debut in Italy, caught three for 27 and a touchdown as well as adding a two point conversion. Alessandro Lupo kicked an extra point.

Giants quarterback Jon Brown had a tough night before being knocked out of the game, completing just nine of 19 passes for 70 yards.

It seemed that Zahradka and the rest of the Seamen offense were still learning the new playbook from head coach Michael Wood and offensive coordinator Marcus Herford in the first half, but once they settled down things started to click.

Milano WR Filippo Fiamenghi racing for a 14 yard gain. Photo: Dario Fumagalli

Di Tunisi scored the first touchdown of the game late in the first half to give Milano a 7-0 lead.

The relentless Milano defense sacked Brown twice and hurried him all game long, finally sending him to the sidelines and his replacement, wide receiver Mark Simone fared no better.

The Seamen began to move the ball on offense in the third quarter with Lamamra and Mitchell both finding room to harass the Giants secondary and scoring touchdowns.

Milano next faces crosstown rivals and 2017 Italian Bowl opponents the Milano Rhinos on March 31.

The surprising Firenze Guelfi from Florence lead the Italian league with a 3-0 record.


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