Italy: IFL heads into second half of the season

After a much-needed bye week in Italy, the Italian Football League will be returning to action this weekend to kick off the second half of the season.

Six of the nine teams in the IFL will be in action this weekend following the Easter weekend break. On Saturday, April 23, the league-leading Milano Seamen will host the Bologna Warriors while the second place Firenze Guelfi take on the visiting Verona Mastini. Finally on Sunday, the Modena Vipers will pay a visit to Rome to face the fifth place Lazio Ducks.

Verona Mastini 1-2 @Firenze Guelfi 3-1

The first matchup of week 7 will see a red-hot Firenze Guelfi squad face off against the Verona Mastini who are coming off a demoralizing defeat at the hands of the Ancona Dolphins.

Since the return of head coach Art Briles, the Guelfi have been scarily effective on the ground. The team is averaging 327 yards rushing per game, destroying all in their wake. The only team they were unable to get the best of was the Panthers in their week 1 matchup, prior to the arrival of Briles.

On the other side, we have Verona who have had a shaky start in their first foray into the IFL with their only win coming against the Modena Vipers, who are also experiencing their first year in the top division.

If Mastini hopes to be in the game come the second half, their defense will need to find a way to subdue the Guelfi ground game. But based on previous weeks, this may be too tough a task. 

Bologna Warriors 1-3 @Milano Seamen 3-0

The Game of the Week in the IFL this weekend may be another forgone conclusion as a seemingly unbeatable Seamen host the Bologna Warriors.

The Seamen’s passing attack, led by Luke Zahradka, is currently leading the league. Zahradka and IFL first-year receiver Markell Castle are tearing holes in opposing secondaries. As a team, Milano averages 279.3 yards passing per game with Zahradka averaging 266 yards passing and Castle hauling in an average of 156 yards in receptions.

The Warriors, on the other hand, have been wildly inconsistent. One week, quarterback Gabriel Cousineau throws for over 300 yards, looking like a top-tier passer and the next, their defense lets in 42 points.

If the Warriors hope to put a one in the Seamen’s L column, they will need to find some team consistency to build off.

Modena Vipers 1-1 @Lazio Ducks 2-2

The final game of week 7 will most likely be the tightest of contests. Each of these .500 teams has shown sparks with the Vipers’ coming in their league-shocking win over the defending champion Parma Panthers, and the Lazio Ducks in each of their down-to-the-wire matchups.

The Ducks are just a few plays away from a better record, but the wins they secured have made them confident. Quarterback Calvin Stitt has proved to be nothing but electric, often carrying the offense on his back, despite not being the most conventional of passers.

Across from Stitt will be the Vipers who are hoping to get their second win of the season. Quarterback Danny Vanatsky bounced back after his mediocre start to the season. In week 5, the Ohio State product took down the reigning champions Parma Panthers in a flawless outing.

Despite this stellar performance by Vantatsky, it has been a tale of two halves. Vantatsky will need to play another great game to shut the Ducks out early as they have shown themselves to be great closers.

Daniel Mackenzie is a Press Association graduate who works in journalism and communications in the third sector. Daniel began playing football for the London Warriors and Team Great Britain and has since played across Europe.