Augustana Vikings Play and Dominate in Historical First Football Double-Header in Europe
With the assistance of American Football Worldwide the Augustana College Vikings (Rock Island, Illinois) played what is believed to be the first ever-collegiate double-header in Europe. Taking a large tour party of sixty-four student-athletes and eager for competition, AFW arranged for two American club teams in Italy to join Augustana in Comacchio, Italy on the Adriatic coast east of Ferrara for back-to-back games.
With the first game kicking off at 2:30, the Vikings took on the young and developing Vipers American football program out of Modena, known as the world’s “Supercar Capital” where Ferrari, Lamborghini and Maserati were founded or are currently headquartered. The Vikings were scheduled to play the Italian Football League (IFL) 2nd division national champion Ravenna Chiefs, but their repeat qualification and a scheduled national playoff game prevented a match-up with the US representative team.
Augustana got off to a fast start with a defensive score on the first series when lineman Jonas Robbins scooped up a fumble and rumbled in for a score. The Vikings dominated the rest of the contest, as the Vipers were not able to keep up with the precision and speed of the NCAA Division III team out of the College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin.
Following the first contest and a brief rest, Augustana came out of the locker room once again to take on the more developed and mature Ferrara Aquile from the IFL’s first division. Though the Aquile were more solid and made some plays to slow down the Vikings, Augustana generally maintained their domination. Playing at a level of overall team quickness and level of cohesive execution not typically seen in American football in Europe, the visiting Vikings were simply a step ahead most of the afternoon.
Playing his final snaps for Augustana, CCIW Offensive MVP Sam Frasco was once again the most dynamic player on the field scoring multiple times – most coming in the second contest. Brandon Price and Justin Bishop also contributed multiple touchdowns. Luke Bleyer threw for multiple touchdown passes. On defense, Cassin Wolfe had two interceptions with one going for a touchdown. John Bastian had another ‘pick-6’.
Following the game, American football players, coaches and management from the Italian club teams gathered at a nearby restaurant with Augustana players, staff and traveling family members for a festive and celebratory evening of food, drink and conversation.