Parma Panthers shut out Bolzano Giants, take possession of 2nd in Italy

The Parma Panthers blanked the Bolzano Giants 13-0 in Bolzano to capture sole possession of second place in Italy’s Division I

With two games left in the Italian Football League’s 2017 season, the two clubs tied at 6-1 met in Bolzano, Italy on Sunday, May 21st.

The Panthers (7-1) put on a dominant defensive performance limiting Italy’s second best offense to zero points. The Giants (6-2) offensive weapons, which include American quarterback Dustin Hawke, and were contained. The Panthers took the early lead on a connection between Italian naitonal team quarterback Tomas Monardi and the Panthers ex-NFL receiver Kris Durham. Monardi laid off a beautiful toss down the far sideline for a 48-yard touchdown completion.

In the second quarter, Parma threatened again but a high-snap sailed over Monardi’s head and the Giants recovered. Tack on a 15-yard late hit penalty and the Giants took possession on their own 45-yard line. Next, Bolzano quarterback Hawke found Italian receiver Mark Simone for a 42-yard gain putting the Giants in the red-zone. Unfortunately, Bolzano couldn’t not convert on the turnover and missed a field goal attempt.

Later in the second quarter, Monardi tossed a perfectly placed over-the-shoulder ball to his receiver Simone Alinovi adding the Panthers lead. The point after was no good and Parma led 13 to 0. Bolzano briefly threatened again after Hawke and Simone connected on a long completion, but the Panthers defense stepped up and sacked Hawke out of field goal range as the half ended.

Early in the second half Parma had a chance to further pad their lead, but were stuffed on three opportunities from the 1 yard-line. The Panthers missed the ensuing field and the Giants remained within striking distance.

However, Hawke was hounded by the Panthers linebackers and defensive linemen the whole second half. Neither offense could put together a drive the rest of the match and 13-0 was the final score.

Parma now overtakes 2nd place from the Giants in Italy’s top American football league. Head coach Andrew Papoccia, who also played defensive back, stated that he and his coaching staff will have to work to find the best solutions to trigger that “killer instinct” that makes the difference between victory and defeat in the upcoming Italian playoffs .

Check out the highlights for the match below.

Parma Panthers 13, Bolzano Giants 0

John McKeon is a former professional and collegiate American Football player and coach now living and working in New York. His goal is to spread news, information, and opinion on the global growth of the sport he loves.