The Bologna Warriors make their return to the top division in Italian American football Saturday, March 9 when they play host to the Lazio Ducks from Rome in the opening game of the Italian season for both teams.
Bologna is appearing in Italy’s Division I for the first time since 2016 after winning the Division 2 title in 2018. Warriors head coach Giorgio Longhi will rely on his Italian quarterback Nicolò “Willo” Scaglia who has played for the Warriors for the past two seasons.. In eight games in 2018 he threw for 1,175 yards and 19 touchdowns. The team has also brought in running back James Flanders from Tulsa University. The 5’10”, 200 lb Flanders will add a solid rushing game to the Warriors. Bologna has shored up the defensive secondary with Dontavius Heard (Middle Tennessee State).
The new Lazio Ducks head coach is a familiar name in Italy and Europe. Davide Giuliano, who is also Italy’s national team head coach, has taken the reins of a team that marched all the way to the Italian semifinals in 2018. Lazio was eliminated by the eventual champions, the Milano Seamen, but not before becoming the surprise of the league in 2018. Also returning to Lazio is defensive coordinator Juha Hakala who coached the Helsinki Roosters to the Finnish title in 2018. Hakala was head coach of the Lazio Marines in 2017.
The Ducks have brought in Tyler Johnson at quarterback. Johnson, a former All American at Alfred University (NCAA Div. III) played in six games for the Hildesheim Invaders in 2018 in the German Football League, throwing for 533 yards and three touchdowns. Returning at running back is Mike Gentili who rushed for 780 yards and 11 touchdowns last season while catching 40 passes for 382 yards and six touchdowns. Defensive back Lorenzo Melchiorre from American International University, who played for the Spanish champion Badalona Dracs in 2018 will bolster the secondary for the Ducks.