LIVESTREAM Italy: Parma Panthers @ Milano Seamen, April 10, 20:00 CET (14:00, 2 pm ET)

Saturday night under the lights will kick off Italy’s Division 1 season on AFI TV.

This primetime matchup features the defending Italian champions, the Milano Seamen hosting the Parma Panthers. Neither of these teams played in 2020 and are both eager to get back to playing ball this weekend!

Parma Panthers @ Milano Seamen, April 10, 20:00 CET (14:00, 2 pm ET)

The Milano Seaman enter the 2021 season with three straight championship seasons behind them, having won the Italian Bowl in 2017, 2018, and 2019. The architect of two of those championships, head coach Michael Wood, is back and so is his Italian-American quarterback Luke Zahradka, who has returned for his fifth season with the Seamen. During the 2019 season, the dual passport quarterback threw for 27 touchdowns and 1,864 yards. Coach Wood, Zahradka, and the Seamen have been adjusting to COVID restrictions and are eager to get back on the field.

Zahradka on Milano’s pre-season preparation.

“We’ve been having high energy, competitive practices which helps bring out the best on both sides of the ball. Our goal each week is to go 1-0, so we’re looking to do that after having missed a season”

One of the new faces for Milano is Serbian lineman Stefan Drecun. Drecun is a well-traveled interior offensive lineman who has played for the Frankfurt Universe, Swarco Raiders, and Turkey’s Koc Rams. Another new part of the Seamen offense will be Italian national team runnning back William Petrone. Petrone is a bruising back who has transferred over from the Bolzano Giants. The Seamen will also have former NFL kicker Giorgio Tavecchio joining them later this month for this upcoming season. The Milano born kicker, nicknamed ‘Italian Ice’ made 21-26 career field goals over a seven-year journey man career playing for the Raiders, Falcons, Seahawks, Lions, Packers, and 49ers.

Defensively, the Seamen return defensive lineman Lorenzo Dalle Piagge and defensive back Marco Aletti. The strong core of Italian players will be joined by Jarey Elder, a former All-American defensive back at West Chester University (NCAA D2) where he recorded 14 interceptions and 187 tackles in his career. French linebacker Rayan Khefif also joins the Seamen bringing experience from France’s top league and junior college football in the United States.

The visiting Parma Panthers enter the 2021 season with a new head coach in Marc Mattioli who has served as an assistant at both Stanford and Vanderbilt universities, as well as LaGrange College. The new coach brings back quarterback Reilly Hennessy who has been with the Panthers since 2019. Hennessy is a dual threat quarterback who threw for 49 touchdowns and ran for another 16 during his career at Central Washington University (NCAA D2).

Hennessy on how this year’s Parma squad feels about returning to play:

“This team has been very eager and very excited to put the pads back on get to line up against someone that’s not wearing black and silver. We’ve just been doing a lot of focusing on ourselves improving our fundamentals and improving our brand of football here in Parma and yeah we’re just really excited to finally be able to put that work and that product out on the field come Saturday.”

Key Parma receiver Simone Alinovi is also back this season. The Italian wideout scored five touchdowns for the Panthers in 2019. One new face to the offense will be 6’4″, 240 pound tight end Nick Diaco. Diaco was a First Team All-Conference player at Colgate University (NCAA D1 FCS) and looks to be a physical force in Italy.

Defensively, the Panthers will have a new linebacker in Asantay Brown. Brown was an All-Conference player at Western Michigan University (NCAA D1) who totaled 307 tackles and four interceptions in his career with the Mustangs. After college, Brown attended training camp with the Philadelphia Eagles. Brown spent 2020 playing for the XFL’s Dallas Renegades making 28 tackles in the start-up league’s pandemic-shortened season.

Brown will join a Parma defense led by veteran defensive back Alex Erioldi.

Look for this to be an exciting matchup in Italy’s Division 1 as both teams look to return to the playoffs in 2021. In order to secure a home playoff game, teams must start strong as this year’s regular season is only six games long. Look for big plays from both teams as they kick-off their season under the lights this Saturday night!

Watch the game live here. Parma Panthers @ Milano Seamen, April 10, 20:00 CET (14:00 pm ET)

Milano Seamen roster (Click image to enlarge)

Parma Panthers roster (Click image to enlarge)

 

Alex is a former professional American football player who is now studying in London. His goal writing for AFI is to stay involved with the game that has given him so much. Alex enjoys covering leagues and players and sharing different football