The fourth place Parma Panthers (6-2) will play host to the fifth place Lazio Ducks (5-3) Sunday, June 26 in the second Wild Card Playoff game in Italy’s Div. 1.
The two teams faced each other once during the regular season with Parma coming out on top 30-20.
Parma won their last five games of the regular season, including a 30-20 win over the Ducks, after opening the season with a record of 1-2. After knocking off the Milano Seamen 22-19, the Panthers rolled over the Bergamo Lions 40-7 and the lowly Bologna Warriors 35-15, Lazio and then finally the Torino Giaguari 38-28. After opening the season with a solid 14-10 over Ancona, the Panthers suffered two straight losses after starting quarterback Reilly Hennessey was hurt. They dropped a 27-17 decision to the Firenze Guelfi and then lost to the Bolzano Giants 20-6.
Hennessey returned and finished the year with 655 yards passing.
Lazio suffered a huge setback in losing badly, 51-0 to the Milano Seamen and then 30-20 to Parma. They came back in the final regular season game, beating the Bolzano Giants 34-33.The Ducks had bounced back from a disappointing 36-22 loss to the Firenze Guelfi, beating the Bergamo Lions 34-21 and Torinao Giaguari 28-20. The team won their two opening games easily beating the Ancona Dolphins 41-12 doubling up on the Bologna Warriors in the season’s opening game, 40-20.
In Lazio’s six games quarterback Tyler Johnson has completed 130 of 216 passes for 1,463 yards and 17 touchdowns and thrown only three interceptions, third among all quarterbacks. He has also rushed for 456 yards and seven touchdowns to lead the Ducks. Leading receivers for the Ducks have been Tommaso Pozzebon who has had 21 catches for 287 yards and three touchdowns and Lorenzo Melchiorre who has been spectacular at times with 346 yards receiving and eight touchdowns, three in the win over the Dolphins. He has also snagged four interceptions, one for a touchdown.
This game could go either way. Despite the embarrassing loss to Milano, Lazio has been playing solid football. The win over Bolzano in the final game of the year was important. Parma reeled off five straight wins to end the year.