LIVESTREAM: Italian Bowl XXXVIII – Milano Seamen v. Bolzano Giants, July 7, 9p (3p EST)

The defending champion Milano Seamen, Europe #13, will be looking to win their fourth Italian championship since 2014 Saturday, July 7 when they take on the 8-2 Bolzano Giants in Italian Bowl XXXVIII in Parma, Italy.

The Seamen have appeared in five of the last six Italian championship games while Bolzano are making their fourth appearance since 2008. Milano won the title in 2014, 2105 and 2017. Meanwhile, Bolzano won the crown in 2009 and lost the final in 2016 to the Milano Rhinos.

Unbeaten in the regular season, with a 10-0 record, the Seamen are the favorites. They had the highest scoring offense during the regular season, (43.1 points per game scored), best defense (10.3 points allowed) and a mid-game performance that has destroyed many teams (272 points scored between second and third quarters). The Seamen reached the final of the European Football League, losing by a single point to Germany’s Potsdam Royals.

Bolzano enjoyed another great season losing only two games, one to the Seamen 21-0 and the other to the Parma Panthers 36-0, early in the season. The Giants atoned for the loss to the Panthers, upsetting them in the semifinals 30-25.

Although Bolzano does not boast an explosive offense scoring an average of 24.6 points a game, the defense was second only to Milano’s allowing just 14.4 points a match.

Both teams have game breaking players. For the Seamen, receiver/kick returner Xavier Mitchell has been superb this year. Mitchell wound up as the top receiver in the league. He finished with 946 yards and also a league-best 18 TD receptions. Meanwhile his quarterback, Luke Zahradka was the second leading passer with 2,385 and league-best 40 TDs. In the Seamen’s 45-13 semifinal win over the lazio Ducks, Zahradka completed 21 of 24 passes for 273 yards and five touchdowns. The rest of the receiving corps is also impressive with Stefano di Tunisi, Andrea Fiammenghi and Danilo Bonaparte.

Giants quarterback Jon Brown played in only seven regular season games but threw for 1,008 yards and 17 touchdowns while rushing for 401 yards and another two. In the semifinal win over Parma, he threw for 213 yards and two touchdowns and scored another one on the ground. His favorite receiver, Mark Simone was 4th in receiving in Italy with 800 yards and against Parma he had three catches for 105 yards and a touchdown.

Bolzano defensive back Giuseppe Della Vecchia is considered one of the best in Italy. He played for the Milano Rhinos in the 2017 Italian Bowl loss to the Seamen so winning this game would be sweet revenge for him. Also in the secondary is safety Dejvion Steward who was one of the top tacklers on the Giants.

Although Milano are considered the favorites to defend their title, Bolzano’s improved play in the last half of the season make them a threat.

Watch the game live here. Milano Seamen v. Bolzano Giants, Saturday, July 7 

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