Upset in Italy; Parma Panthers knock off Milano Seamen

In what may well be the upset of the season, the Parma Panthers (2-2) silenced all the naysayers, downing the overwhelming favorites, the previously unbeaten Milano Seamen, 22-19 in a thrilling, last minute come-from-behind victory in Italy’s Div. I.

Playing with young, 19 year old Davide Rossi at quarterback in place of injured starter Reilly Hennessey, the Panthers were not supposed to put up much resistance to the defending champion Seamen.

They did.

Despite falling behind 19-6 at the end of three quarters, Parma rallied, scoring 16 straight fourth quarter points, while overcoming two late interceptions with the defense playing furious football.

Parma WR Vinzenzo Ferraro scored the winning TD Photo: Dario Fumagalli

Parma running back Modeste Pooda opened the scoring in the first quarter with a five yard end around racing untouched into the end zone. Pooda had ripped off a 50 yard run two plays earlier to put his team in the red zone.

Milano came roaring back in the second quarter with quarterback Luke Zahradka leading the way. Zahradka capped a brilliant drive, plunging in himself from the five yard line to tie the game at 6-6. at the break

The Seamen continued to put on pressure in the third quarter as Danilo Bonaparte found a seam and scampered in from 28 yards out to give Milano a 12-6 lead.

Milano running back Pietro Stillitano added to the lead with an 11 yard touchdown reception as Zahradka found him wide open in the corner of the end zone and the Seamen took a 19-6 third quarter lead.

However, the Panthers defense stiffened in the final period and Rossi had the offense moving. Derrick Bryant, converted from linebacker to running back, barged his way in from the six yard line to close the gap to 19-13.

Milano RB Danilo Bonaparte Photo: Dario Fumagalli

Trailing with less than three minutes to go, Rossi threw back-to-back interceptions which, seemingly, would end the game for the Panthers. Again the defense rose up, forcing Milano to punt. However, in a curious decision, with 86 seconds left, Seamen head coach Michael Wood, counting on his defense, elects to give up a two-point safety making the score 19-15.

Rossi and the Panthers offense, made them pay. The Panthers quarterback drove his team down to the Milano 12 yard line, aided in part by three huge penalties, and then found Vinzenzo Ferraro standing all alone on the three yard line able to waltz into the end zone untouched for the winning touchdown.

With the win, Parma evens their record to 2-2 while the Seamen fall out of first place with a 3-1 record.

Watch the highlights here.

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