Italy: Modena Vipers are surprise contenders when they face the Milano Seamen in one of two games

At the start of the Italian Football League season, no one thought that the Modena Vipers, a team freshly promoted from the second division, would be one of the Milano Seamen’s main competitors.

But as we enter week 9, the Seamen are set to face their toughest contest of the season.

Saturday, May 7

Milano Seamen 5-0 @ Modena Vipers 3-1

The Modena Vipers have been on a roll the past few weeks, dispatching the likes of defending champions Parma Panthers and Lazio Ducks. The play of Ohio State scout quarterback Danny Vanatsky has been the main attraction in Modena so far, but there is a bigger storyline simmering.

In 2021, Milano’s number one receiving target was Stefano Di Tunisi. The Seamen veteran had plied his trade in Milan for years, proving year in and year out to be one of the better Italian receivers in the league. On top of this, he was also a quality kicker, booting 31 of 32 extra points.

During the 2022 offseason, news emerged that he had transferred to the Modena Vipers. Unsurprisingly, he is now leading the team in receptions, yards and touchdowns. This will be a key part of the game for both sides. If the Vipers hope to knock off the undefeated Seamen, they will need to get Di Tunisi going early. This will without doubt be personal for both sides however, adding an extra level of flavor to the contest.

Sunday, May 8

Milano Rhinos 1-4 @ Parma Panthers 3-2

The second and final game of the weekend will see the Parma Panthers take on the Milano Rhinos.

After an opening-week win against the Firenze Guelfi, the whole league thought the defending champion Parma Panthers had picked up right where they left off last season. Their undefeated 2021 crusade led them to being ranked one of the top ranked teams in Europe, but the team has fallen since that week 1 victory. 

The Panthers have looked inconsistent at best and failed to assimilate new quarterback Brook Bolles into the offense. On top of this, the team has been dealing with a string of injuries that has kept one of the best Italians in the league – Simone Alinovi – off the field. So, it has come to this. To avoid falling to .500, they will have to beat the “lowly” Milano Rhinos. 

Unfortunately for the Rhinos, they have been wildly inconsistent. Quarterback Daniel Santacaterin’s play has been like night and day. In week two, he racked up 217 yards and threw three touchdowns, making key timing passes and staying poised in the pocket, completing over 70% of his passes. In week six, however, he completed just six passes for 47 yards.

If the Rhinos hope to dash the Panthers dreams of another title, Santacaterin will need to show up ready to play as Parma will look to prove to the rest of the league that they are still contenders.

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.