Italy: Firenze Guelfi and Ancona Dolphins claim landslide victories in Wild Card round

The Firenze Guelfi and Ancona Dolphins have advanced to the Italian Football League semifinals after dominating performances in their respective Wild Card playoff matchups.

The Dolphins had no trouble in turning away the Modena Vipers while the vaunted Firenze Guelfi ground attack was simply too much for the Bologna Warriors to handle.

Ancona Dolphins 42 – Modena Vipers 7

Dolphins QB Colin Di Galbo threw 3 TD passes and rushed for another in an outstanding performance Photo: Germano Capponi

In the first matchup of the weekend, the Ancona Dolphins showed that their secondary may be the best in the entire league after holding Vipers quarterback Danny Vaanatsky to just 45 passing yards.

The outstanding defensive performance by the Dolphins gave quarterback Colin Di Galbo consistently short fields to work with and the luxury of not having to worry about a shootout.

Ancona Dolphins WR Zach Quattrone hauling in TD pass Photo: Germano Capponi

Di Galbo utilized both his arm and legs to dismantle the Vipers defense, finishing the game with 240 all-purpose yards and four touchdowns. 

The Dolphins move on to face the Milano Seamen in the semifinals and that matchup may actually favor them as if their league-leading pass defense can shut down the league’s top passer, Luke Zahradka. In fact, they stand a chance of winning.

Guelfi Firenze 49 – Bologna Warriors 0

Firenze RB Cosimo Casati #32 rushed for 101 yards Photo: Fabio Cubo

The final game of the wildcard round saw two schematically similar teams face off in what was to be perhaps the shortest game of the year due to each team’s run first ideology.

The game produced anything but an even contest however, as Guelfi got on the board early and refused to take their foot off the pedal, racking up 35 points before halftime.

Guelfi’s trademark three-headed rushing attack spearheaded by quarterback Andrea Fimiani proved just as effective as it had in past weeks as he rumbled his way to another 120+ yard game. As usual, he was joined by his “partners in crime”, running backs Jared Gerbino and Ahmed Tanner.

Firenze RB Ahmed Tanner caught 1 TD pass and rushed for another Photo: Fabio Cubo

We also saw a new face this week though as Italian running back Cosimo Casati tallied just behind Fimiani with 101 yards rushing. 

One of the more surprising results of the game was that Bologna running back Shekif Seymour who, in recent weeks recorded some of the highest yardage in the league, was effectively shut down. The Toledo alumnus managed just 80 yards rushing, resulting in another moral victory for the Guelfi defense.

Guelfi will now take on the Parma Panthers in the other semifinal. Guelfi’s offense will perform no matter who they play against, but it was their defense that was the question mark. With this past weekend’s performance, they may now be peaking at the right time and be in prime position to take down the Italian defending champs, the Parma Panthers.

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.