At the midpoint of the season in the Italian Football League, the Milano Rhinos in the North and Ancona Dolphins in the South, have taken a step away from the rest of the teams. Both sport 6-0 records and sit atop of the conference standings.
Milano Rhinos (6-0) 45 – Milan Seamen 19 (2-3)
The Rhinos were merciless in manhandling the defending champion Seamen in a crosstown derby Sunday. Scoring 21 points in the second quarter and 17 in the final stanza, the Rhinos left no doubt that they are the cream of the crop in Italy‘s North conference.
Quarterback TJ Pryor and teammates confirmed that they have a higher gear. The Milan derby was decided in the 2nd quarter of the game, with the Rhinos falling behind 7-0 on a Matt Binda touchdown but then scoring three in a row (Giacomo Bonanno, Nick Ricciardulli and Pryor).
With a 21-7 lead at the half, the Rhinos took charge in the second half and despite the best efforts of the Seamen, the outcome of the game was never in doubt.
The 26 point gap reflected the game itself.
The Seamen will host the Parma Panthers this coming weekend and then these two teams face each other again in two weeks.
Ancona Dolphins (6-0) 40 – Lazio Marines (4-1) 32
In a game which offered as much excitement as expected between two undefeated teams, the Ancona Dolphins scored two fourth quarter touchdowns to defeat the Lazio Marines 40-32.
After falling behind early, the Dolphins scored two touchdowns on passes from quarterback Ryan Kasdorf. Lazio responded as quarterback Anders Hermodsson threw two touchdown passes of his own to close the gap to 14-12
The Dolphins added a second quarter touchdown while Hermodsson threw his third touchdown strike of the half, this time to Mario Andrioli. The half ended 21-18 in favor of Ancona with missed PATs being the only difference.
The seesaw battle continued in the second half with the teams trading touchdowns. Lazio drew to 27-26 in the third before the Dolphins scored two touchdowns in the fourth quarter and then held off a late desperate drive by the Marines to hold on for the win. The key play of the game was an Ancona 4th and 30 which Kasdorf transformed into the game-winning touchdown finding Mejdi Soltana in the end zone for the score.
In the remaining games, in the South the Firenze Guelfi (2-3) more than doubled the Roma Grizzlies (1-5) 27-12 after taking a 20-0 lead. The Bolzano Giants (2-3) in the North defeated the Torino Giaguari (2-3) 31-18 while the Ferrara Aquile (2-3) proved they are playoff contenders in the South whipping the Bologna Warriors (0-5) 40-13. Finally, the Parma Panthers (3-2) remain in the hunt in the North with a 40-7 thumping of the Bergamo Lions (1-5).
Photo credits: Claudio Bugatti, Mara Telandro.