Italy: Win-and-in for Lazio Ducks and Bologna Warriors

The final round of the Italian Football League kicks off this weekend with six of the nine teams in action.

For five of the nine teams in the IFL – Milano Seamen, Parma Panthers, Firenze Guelfi, Ancona Dolphins and Modena Vipers – a playoff spot has been secured.

But for the Lazio Ducks and Bologna Warriors who face off this weekend, it’s win-and-in situation.

Lazio Ducks 3-4 @ Warriors Bologna 2-5

As a football player these are the moments you ask for, one game to decide your postseason future. Both the Warriors and Ducks are currently sitting on the periphery and can clinch a playoff berth with a win on Saturday night.

The Warriors started this year with promise. The team seemed to sport a complete offense but had to quickly adapt after they lost the arm of their starting quarterback. This produced some serious growing pains and heavy defeats. 

Despite their record, Bologna has produced some impressive performances in recent weeks with running back Shakif Seymour slotting in at wildcat quarterback. In their last game, Seymour ran for 314 yards and five touchdowns, putting on a Guelfi-like performance.

The Ducks, on the other hand, had anything but a smooth start. They have been arguably the most underrated team this year. Quarterback Calvin Stitt has mounted several second half comebacks, showing off what an explosive offense the Ducks possess.

Lazio will undoubtedly be favorites going into this one. But if the Ducks continue to start slow and allow Seymour to control the game with his legs, we could be getting a surprise appearance in the playoffs this year.

Mastini Verona 1-5 @ Parma Panthers 5-2

The Panthers will feel confident coming into this one, and they have every right to.

Mastini has not played good football in Italy’s top division. They have been outgunned at nearly every turn despite gritty showings from each player.

In contrast, the Panthers have played solid football. They have shown that despite two early season setbacks that they still have the heart of a championship team. They have recovered from a string of injuries and will likely walk out of this game with the number two seed locked up.

Guelfi Firenze 5-2 @ Modena Vipers 3-4

Earlier in the season, this may have been the game to watch due to the Vipers apparent success. Statement wins over Parma and Lazio showed Modena to be a genuine contender, but the team has since fallen from glory following their routing at the hands of the Milano Seamen.

The Guelfi have remained consistent throughout the year. Head coach Art Briles has led the most explosive rushing game the Italian league has ever seen storming into the playoffs. 

Unfortunately for the Guelfi, due to a week one loss to the Panthers, they will remain as the third seed, assuming both they and Parma win this weekend. For the Vipers, their early season success has secured them a playoff berth, but they will likely have to play a daunting game in Florence in the first round.

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.