Milano Seamen feast on turnovers to beat Lazio Ducks, headed to third straight Italian final

The Milano Seamen are headed to their sixth Italian Bowl in seven years and third straight after shutting out the Lazio Ducks 38-0 in Milan this past weekend in Itay’s Div. 1 semifinals.

There was no doubt in this game as the Seamen jumped out to a 27-0 first half lead and never looked back as Lazio’s offense sputtered all game long. While Milano recorded modest numbers totaling 242 yards of offense, they didn’t need to do more as the Ducks could only muster 96 yards of offense, only 30 in the air.

Milano’s stifling defense was too much for a Lazio team that coughed up the ball time and again. The Ducks fumbled three times, all of which led to scores. They also had a punt blocked on the goalline and that too led to a touchdown.

Seamen quarterback Luke Zahradka was an efficient 15 of 23 for 206 yards and three touchdowns with Gianluca Santagostino catching four passes for 92 yards and two touchdowns.  Claudio Buccellato caught the third.  Danilo Bonaparte rushed for one touchdown and Arnaud Mboutcha recovered a fumble in the end zone for the fifth Milano touchdown. Stefan Di Tunisi had a quiet day on offense but kicked a field goal and four extra points.

Milano RB Danilo Bonaparte looking for daylight Photo: Dario Fumagalli

For Lazio, it was a grim day as Tyler Johnson threw for  all of 30 yards and ran for 29.  Running back Mike Gentili ran for 37 yards.

The Seamen’s defense was simply smothering.

Milano scored on their first possession as Bonaparte capped a 70 yard drive by weaving his way into the end zone.from 16 yards out.

The offensive woes of the Ducks started right away as the usually sure-handed Gentili fumbled on his own goal line and Mbouttcha recovered and suddenly the score was 13-0 for the Seamen, still in the first quarter.

Turnovers were deadly for Lazio on this day as on the very next Milano drive, Zahradka moved his team down to the Ducks 32 yard line. His short punt on fourth down was fumbled on the goalline by the Ducks returner and suddenly the Seamen had the ball on the one. Zahradka made no mistake hitting Buccellato on the next play, boosting the score to 20-0 midway through the second quarter.

Seamen QB Luke Zahradka trhew 3 TD passes Photo: Dario Fumagalli

A disastrous attempted punt by Lorenzo Melchiorre of the Ducks was blocked at the Lazio 20 and one play later Zahradka connected with Santagostino making it 27-0 Milano at the halftime break.

The third quarter opened no better for Lazio, with Melchiorre punting from his own 36 yard line. Mitchell returned the ball to the Seamen 37 and Zahradka struck again. On a second and five from his own 42 yard line, he hit Santagostino for a 58 yard strike and with only three minutes gone in the second half, the score was 35-0.

Another Lazio fumble, the third of the game, at midfield, led to a Milano field goal with Di Tunisi kicking a 33 yarder. The Ducks were not able to cross midfield, running out the clock stalled on their own 40 yard line.

So the Seamen will now face the Firenze Guelfi in the Italian Bowl, July 6.





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