American Football Worldwide’s high school select ELITE TEAM traveled to and toured Italy the week of March 23-31 concluding its visit playing nearly flawless football and defeated the national 19U team of Italy 58-0 on Saturday, March 30th. The game was played at historic and newly renovated Vigorelli Stadium in Milan, Italy.
After receiving the opening kick-off, AFW ELITE’s offense met an inspired Italy defense and was forced to punt without a first down. The Italian national U19 team’s offense used the momentum and produced a strong run followed by a pass completion gaining a first down to move into the US-representative team’s territory. However, AFW ELITE’s defense settled in deciphering the Italian team’s offensive schemes and forced a punt. It was the last time Team Italy would cross into USA territory.
The American team’s offense quickly found its rhythm as after the Italian punt pinned AFW ELITE on their 7-yard line the offense went 93 yards to score the first touchdown of the game in effect going coast-to-coast on an Elliott Avidane (Schreiber Senior HS, Port Washington NY) to Jonathan Gordon (Francis Parker HS, San Diego CA) 61-yard touchdown pass. As the AFW ELITE defense continued to dominate, not allowing a 3rd down conversion the remainder of the game, the offense scored on its next four possessions. To cap off a 28-point explosion in the 2nd quarter, the defense put points on the board with a 35-yard interception return by two-way player Bobby Inserra (Maine South HS, Park Ridge IL) that made the halftime score 42-0.
After their first score AFW ELITE, which benefitted all game from the fantastic kicking leg of Stanford-bound Ryan Sanborn (Francis Parker HS, San Diego CA) and lightning coverage of Franshuan Jordan (Willowbrook HS, Villa Park IL), continually pinned the Italian team inside their 15-yard line. After the ELITE defense produced a three-and-out, their offense went to work on a short field and produced their second touchdown on an Eli Samuelson (Cedar Mountain HS, Comfrey MN) zone-read run racing in from 16-yards out. With the Sanborn conversion, who was 9 for 9 in extra points, the score became 14-0.
After an AFW ELITE 14-point 1st quarter, Italy showed some life with a couple of Rossi (Parma Panthers) pass completions moving the chains to near midfield. However, on 3rd and 7 relentless pursuit of the speedy Rossi ending with a big tackle for loss by Bryson Clark (Juniata HS, Mifflintown PA) that forced another Italy punt. From that point on AFW ELITE simply took command of the game producing three more offensive touchdowns and the Inserra ‘pic-6’ amounting to 28 second quarter points and a 42-0 halftime lead.
For their third score, AFW ELITE once again went 93-yards this time on six plays. The big play of the drive was a Samuelson rainbow pass to Michael Boland (Huntley HS, Huntley IL) that traveled 50 yards in the air with Boland making a tremendous over-the-head basket catch as he went out of bounds on the Italian sideline. Two plays later, AFW ELITE ran a bubble double-pass with Inserra throwing for a score to Gordon for his second touchdown catch.
The next series began in Italy territory and a short drive was capped off with an Avidane to Boland 36-yard touchdown pass. On the subsequent drive running back Oakley Roessler (McDonald County, Pineville MO) benefitted from the play of the offensive line lead by Daniel Fitzmorris (Notre Dame HS, Sherman Oaks CA), Matt Knudtson (Willowbrook HS, Villa Park IL), Alex Pavlov (Maine South HS, Park Ridge IL), Anthony ‘Bubba’ Glancey (Alleman Catholic HS, Rock Island IL), Andrew Graves (Notre Dame HS, Sherman Oaks CA) and TE Andrew Palmere (John Carroll HS, Churchville MD) who dominated most of the day. After a 13-yard run to the two, Roessler completed the drive with a 2-yard run behind the lead blocking of Alex McAvoy (Geneseo HS, Geneseo IL).
In the second half the Italian team demonstrated resolve turning away the USA team a couple of times. However, after a Sanborn punt pinned the Italians in on their 4-yard line, Bobby Motoni (Orange HS, Woodmere HS) broke through a few plays later producing more points from the defense with a sack-safety that pushed the lead to 44-0.
After the following kick-off, Samuelson went to Inserra for 21-yards and a few plays later Jordan Berry (The Haverford School, Haverford PA) ran for 15 and then a 6-yard touchdown run late in the 3rd quarter. Roessler closed out the scoring with a 13-yard touchdown run to push the advantage to 58-0 USA-AFW ELITE.
Roessler lead all rushers with 71 yards and two touchdowns. Avidane was near-perfect at 4-5 passing with two touchdowns. Gordon had 114 yards on two touchdown receptions, with Inserra leading with three total receptions and 120 total yards. Inserra also threw for a touchdown pass and added an interception return for a touchdown.
Franshuan Jordan led the team in tackles followed by Ross Valenti (Mount Carmel HS, Chicago IL), Josh Schumann (Carmel HS, Carmel IN), Josh Sletta (Madelia HS, Madelia MN) and Motoni. Strong defensive play was also turned in by Josh and Caleb Evans (IMG Academy, Bradenton FL).
During their week in Italy, the 33 student-athletes, AFW ELITE football staff and dozens of family members toured Rome, the Coliseum, Vatican City including St. Peter’s Basilica, Siena, Florence, Cinque Terra, Lake Como and Milan – along with an excursion to Lugano, Switzerland.
AFW ELITE plans to return a team or two of HS Seniors to Europe in 2010. For more information see www.americanfootballworldwide.com. To nominate a potential player contact Jim Barnes at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Full game stats are available at https://mail-attachment.googleusercontent.com/attachment/u/0/?ui=2&ik=79049b76f3&attid=0.1&permmsgid=msg-f:1629529870283191739&th=169d40c88d1e35bb&view=att&disp=inline&saddbat=ANGjdJ81dBYGNy3f2nViKaHVrwPghxtL4_L2s_sWc51AVN4ldOjaK4LcrwWgHVCY