The Milano Seamen won their second consecutive Italian title on Saturday, when they won Italian Bowl XXXV beating the Parma Panthers 24-14.
It was a great final played in an even more beautiful setting, Stadio Vigorelli of Milan. There were 4,500 spectators in the stands and the energy in the stadium was reminiscent of the European championships two years ago. The Seamen did not dominate that game in the same way as last year’s final, but the victory was deserved as Milano head coach Paolo Mutti‘s club outshone the Parma Panthers on the field. Co-MVPs were Seamen Stefano Di Tunisi, who was author of no less than 18 points, including TDs and PAT, and QB Jonathan Dally.
The game began with an interception by Parma’s Diaferia, however, it was canceled by an infringement of the Panthers defense. A run by Milano’s QB Jonathan Dally immediately brought the Seamen near the opponent’s end zone. A few plays later Dally, at 8:33 in the first quarter, found Di Tunisi for a TD pass which gave the advantage to Seamen 7-0. On the next Seamen possession, WR Santagostino is hurt after a reception and is forced to leave the pitch. This was an unfortunate situation because the receiver returned from Mexico for the purpose of this match. The Seamen continue to gain ground thanks to two beautiful receptions by Vezzoli, then there was another Dally-Di Tunisi touchdown connection with 1:45 left in first quarter. Di Tunisi converts the extra point and at it was 14-0 for Milano.
The Panthers offense relied heavily on speedy RB Alessandro Malpeli Avalli but had difficulty moving the ball. The second quarter is characterized by two interceptions, one for each side. Both teams but fail to score and and the Panthers’ most hopeful drive was stopped when a pass to the end zone was intercepted by Turrin near the end of the second period.
With a minute left in the first half, the Seamen attempt to run out the clock when controversy struck the game. Panthers defensive star Michele Canali was throw out of the game for targeting on hit to QB Dally.
After the break, neither team scored in the 3rd and the fourth began with the Seamen still leading 14-0.
Cornered, the Panthers produce their best effort and Parma’s QB Tommaso Monardi found Finadri running deep and the receiver raced down to the 1-yard line. Then RB Malpeli Avalli trucks in for the Panthers’ first score of the game. After Diaferia’s PAT, Parma is only down 14-7 and with still 10:20 to play in the fourth.
On the next Seamen drive, the defense of the Panthers seems to hold, but is suddenly pierced by a run of Dally. The white and blue offense stalls out, but a field goal by Di Tunisi is good and it is 17-7 Milano with 5:36 on the clock. The following drives by Parma are fruitless, and the Seamen add to there lead when RB Mattia Binda takes an 11 yard run in for the score, 24 -7 Seamen.
The Panthers do not give up, fighting to the end and scoring a touchdown with one minute left pass from Monardi to Joe Martinek. Diaferia converts the PAT and fixes the final score at 24-14.
Then the party begins for the Milano Seamen who defend their Italian American football title!
MVP Italian Bowl:
Stefano Di Tunisi & Jonathan Dally
IFL Season Awards:
Fair Play: Luca Vidali (Roma Grizzlies)
Best Rookie: Simone Cerini (Lazio Marines)
Quarterback: Tommaso Monardi (Parma Panthers)
Wide receiver: Stefano Di Tunisi (Milano Seamen)
Running backs: Alessandro Malpeli Endorsements (Parma Panters)
Offensive Line: Alessandro Vergara (Milano Rhinos)
Defensive Line: Simone Bernardoni (Parma Panthers)
Linebackers: Roman Vikhnin (Ancona Dolphins)
Defensive backs: Andrea Zini (Milano Seamen)
Special teams: Francesco Diaferia (Parma Panthers)
Athlete USA: Paul Morant (Bolzano Giants)
QB USA: Chaz Todd (Lazio Marines)
Lions (1993, 1994, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008) Frogs (1984, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1993, 1994, 1995) Panthers ( 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013) Rhinos (1981, 1982, 1983, 1990) Phoenix (1996, 1997) Seamen (2014, 2015) Doves (1985) Jaguars (1991) Giants (2009) Pharaones (1992) Warriors (1986)