LIVESTREAM: Italian Bowl – Firenze Guelfi v. Milano Seamen, Sat. July 6, 9p CEDT (3p EDT)

The Firenze Guelfi will try to topple the defending champion Milano Seamen from the Italian Div. 1 throne Saturday, July 6 when the two teams face each other in the Italian Bowl at Stadio Breda Sesto San Giovanni in Milan.

Milano has won the last two titles in Italy and four of the last six. The Seamen have reached the final every year but one since 2013. Meanwhile, this is the first trip to the championship final for the Guelfi. In fact, this was the first time Firenze reached the semifinal stage of the playoffs after advancing to the top league four years ago.

Interview with Milano head coach Michael Wood

The Seamen finished the season with a 7-1 record and easily disposed of the Lazio Ducks 38-0 in the semifinal. During the regular season, Milano beat the Guelfi 34-28 on a last second touchdown. Firenze Guelfi wound up third during the regular season in Italy’s Div. 1 and then defeated the Torino Giaguari 31-14 in the wild card round and downed the Bolzano Giants 42-39 in the semifinals.

For the Seamen, apart from di Tunisi and Zahradka, who led the league in passing with 1,864 yards and 27 TDs, wide receiver Xavier Mitchell, who was third overall in average yards per game with 74.7, can break a game wide open. di Tunisi is a huge weapon and gained 596 yards in receiving, scoring 8 TDs. The Guelfi will be facing the stingiest defense in the league. Milano allowed opponents only 13 points a game. Still, the Seamen can have their off days as witnessed by their loss to Parma when nothing seemed to go right.

Interview with Firenze head coach Art Briles

The Guelfi boast the second leading offense in the league averaging 35.9 points a game behind the league’s best running back in Silas Nacita and quarterback Lynx Hawthorne. Nacita rushed for 1,146 yards and 20 TDs to win the rushing title by a wide margin while Hawthorne is fifth with 471. Although Hawthorne only threw for 1,060 yards in eight games, he finished second in passing efficiency with a rating of 146.8.

Nacita can be a game changer though. He is so versatile that the Seamen have to account for him on both offense and defense not to mention his kick and punt returning ability. In the two playoff games, he has rushed for a total of 509 yards and six touchdowns. Against Bolzano alone in the semifinals, he rushed for 316 (!!) yards and three touchdowns and threw for 177 and another three. He set the tone from the first game of the year in fact, when Frienze had a 27-17 win over the Parma Panthers, when he had a monster day.  He caught eight passes for 121 yards and one touchdown, rushed for 77 yards, returned three punts for 62 yards, snagged two interceptions, returning one for a pick six while also making three tackles. He had 292 All Purpose yards.

This game promises to be a thriller.

Watch the game live here. Firenze Guelfi v. Milano Seamen, Sat. July 6, 9p CEDT (3p EDT)

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