Italy: Upset of the year as Modena Vipers knock off defending champion Parma Panthers

This past Sunday, the Modena Vipers, newcomers to the Italian Football League this year, served up a huge upset by defeating the defending Italian champions the Parma Panthers, 24-21 in Parma.

With the win, not only did the Vipers improve their record to 1-1, but they put the rest of the IFL on notice.

Despite the heartbreak for the home team Panthers, the game was a treat for fans as both offenses put up big numbers.

Parma quarterback Brook Bolles has been putting up more yards each week, but the stakes have seemingly risen as although the young signal caller threw for 303 yards and two touchdowns, he was also intercepted three times.

Vipers WR Daryus Skinner caught 5 passes for 122 yards and also had 1 interception Photo: Inna Berezanskaya

Nick “Swiss Army Knife” Diaco has proved less effective for the Panthers this year after having such an impact in 2021. This unusual unproductivity from the Colgate (NCAA DI) alumnus has been in part due to the injury bug that has plagued the Panthers. Of the squad that started the season, nine starters were missing during Sunday’s game, one of which was Italian star wideout Simone Alinovi.

This is, however, football. Injuries happen and great teams find a way to win. And on this day the Modena Vipers took full advantage of the shallow depth of an opposing them and their first win of the season against the reigning national champs.

Panthers QB Brook Bolles threw for 303 yards and 2 TDs Photo: Inna Berezanskaya

The star of the show was undoubtedly Vipers import defensive back/receiver Daryus Skinner (Winston-Salem State, DII). The speedster topped all receivers hauling in five passes for 122 yards and two touchdowns, but most importantly, Skinner managed a key interception in the redzone during the first half that would have otherwise led to a Parma score.

This win helps the Vipers in the league standings, but more importantly it has helped them gain confidence and an identity. Vipers quarterback Danny Vinansky had an outstanding game throwing the ball after a mediocre week 1 performance. The Ohio State (NCAA DI) product threw for 238 yards and three touchdowns, showing the rest of the league the type of talent he is.


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.