Italy: Guelfi Firenze open IFL up with dominant win over Skorpions Varese

The Italian Football League (IFL) began its 2023 season last weekend with a one-sided contest between reigning champions Guelfi Firenze who steamrolled the Skorpions Varese 42–7.

On July 2, 2022, Guelfi hoisted their first ever Italian Bowl following a scintillating 21–17 win over the Milano Seamen. Guelfi’s 2022 season was a rushing bonanza headed by Italian quarterback Andrea Fimiani, dual passport and Dartmouth (NCAA, DI) alumnus Jared Gerbino and US running back Ahmed Tanner.

Outside of the loss of Ahmed Tanner this year, Guelfi showed over the weekend that they are as dominant as ever on the ground as the team totaled 318 yards and five touchdowns, Fimiani rushing for 132 of those yards himself.

The Skorpions, who have just been promoted from Division 2, took the brunt of the damage in the first half with 35 of the 42 points coming before the end of the second quarter. UTEP (NCAA, DI) alumnus and Skorpions starting quarterback Calvin Brownholtz had a rocky start to his Italian debut with an interception by Guelfi defensive back Dijon Lynch on his first drive.

Things did begin to open up in the second half for the Skorpions however as the Guelfi benchers took to the field and Varese found their rhythm. Brownholtz’s patience produced dividends in the final minutes of the fourth quarter with a 63-yard touchdown bomb to Skorpions’ and Italian national flag team receiver Martino Piazzi. Brownholtz finished the game with 164 yards and three interceptions.

Despite a statement opening win for the Guelfi this weekend, their starting quarterback Fimiani went down with an injury in the closing minutes of the game that is likely to leave him sidelined for a month or two. Gerbino undoubtedly provides an excellent replacement, but the loss does take a level of dynamism away from the reigning champions who will now seem a little less invincible.

Daniel Mackenzie is a Press Association graduate who works in journalism and communications in the third sector. Daniel began playing football for the London Warriors and Team Great Britain and has since played across Europe.