Italy: Firenze Guelfi and Parma Panthers advance to Italian Bowl in Toledo, Ohio

The Guelfi Firenze and Panthers Parma of the Italian Football League (IFL) have secured a berth in the Italian Bowl after convincing semifinal victories from both sides.

The Italian Bowl will take place in Toledo, Ohio on Saturday, July 1, 2023.

Firenze Guelfi 42 – Ancona Dolphins 21

Photo: Daniele Bettazzi

Despite the Guelfi being back to full strength following a number of injuries late in the season, they had an uncharacteristically slow start leading them to be just 6 – 0 up after the first quarter. But as the second quarter ticked in, so too did the scoring frenzy.

Quarterbacks Andrea Fimniani and Jared Gerbino led the Guelfi down the field on three 50+-yard drives with Gerbino capping each one off. Ancona were able to get one in of their own at the beginning of the second quarter but by halftime the Guelfi were up with a comfortable 27 – 7 lead.

Determined not to go down without a fight, Ancona’s defense tightened up in the second half and quarterback Colin Di Galbo punched in two of his own to bring the game back within reach to 21 – 27. 

But despite the Dolphins’ valiant effort, the Guelfi offense proved too potent and managed to get two more unanswered scores in the final quarter ending the game 42 – 21. Fimiani and Gerbino proved to be as effective as ever on the ground, racking up 309 yards and six touchdowns between them.

Parma Panthers 36 – Varese Skorpions 21

The second and final playoff game of the weekend was an interesting one as it saw the return of Luke Casey, formerly of the Lazio Ducks, into the IFL to replace Skorpions’ quarterback Calvin Brownholtz.

Despite essentially getting off the plane and going straight to the field, Casey played an excellent game throwing for 177 yards, one touchdowns and zero interceptions. This combined with some outstanding defense leading to a pick six resulted in the Skorpions being up 13 – 7 at the half.

But as the second half began, the Panthers started piling on the points. Two bombs from Italian quarterback Tommaso Monardi to newly arrived import receiver Audie Omotosho and two monster runs from Ryan Minnitti effectively sealed the deal with 29 unanswered points.

The Skorpions were able to claw back some dignity in garbage time, but by this point the game was truly over. Minnitti finished the game with 184 yards and three touchdowns while Monardi finished with 244 passing yards and two touchdowns.

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.