Wroclaw Panthers win SuperFinal XII, earn back-to-back Polish titles

The Wroclaw Panthers scored the last 28 points of SuperFinal XII on Sunday evening in Łódź to break open a tight contest and secure their second straight Topliga championship in a 55-21 triumph over the Gdynia Seahawks. The victory brought the national championship trophy to the city of Wrocław for the sixth time in twelve seasons of Polish League of American Football competition. Panthers quarterback Timothy Morovick racked up 369 total yards to earn the game’s Most Valuable Player award.

The Panthers finished the season with 11 wins in 11 games overall, becoming just the fourth team in PLFA history and the first since 2011 to win the top-division championship without a loss. Wrocław also became the second team to win back-to-back championships, turning the tables on a Seahawks team that beat them in SuperFinal X to become the first team ever to accomplish that feat.

Morovick put the Panthers ahead on their first offensive drive, scoring the first of his four rushing touchdowns from four yards out to give Wrocław a 7-0 lead. The momentum swung dramatically after that, however, as the Seahawks tied the game on a 7-yard touchdown reception by Paweł Fabich and then took the lead when Arkadiusz Cieślok scooped up a Morovick fumble and took it 31 yards to the end zone. Fabich was Gdynia’s best offensive weapon, hauling in 7 catches for 80 yards.

Wroclaw QB Tim Morovick was named game MVP Photo: RS, Wroclaw Panthers

The Seahawks were unable to capitalize on another Panthers fumble midway through the second quarter, and Wrocław tied the game before halftime on a short touchdown reception by Adam Nelip. They then went ahead quickly in the third quarter, getting a pair of long Morovick touchdown runs to take a 27-14 lead. Patryk Matkowski set up the second of those scores with a 56-yard reception.

Gdynia was not quite done fighting yet, and they got the deficit back to within 6 points when Joseph Bradley found Paweł Henicz in the left corner of the end zone on a fourth-down play for a 17-yard touchdown reception. The Panthers would then go on to score the game’s final four touchdowns, however, with the highlight coming on a 70-yard punt return touchdown by Deante Battle early in the fourth quarter.

Photo: RS, Wroclaw Panthers

The win was the fourth consecutive victory for the Panthers over the Seahawks, a streak that includes a 56-13 win in last year’s SuperFinal in Białystok. The Seahawks had defeated the Panthers in the previous two championship games, winning 42-31 in 2014 in Gdynia and 28-21 in 2015 in Wrocław. The victory also gives Wrocław a 7-4 edge in the all-time series. Most importantly, however, it allows the Panthers to reign atop the Polish football mountain for another year.

SuperFinal XII Individual Awards:

Most Valuable Player: Timothy Morovick (Quarterback, Wrocław Panthers)
Best Defensive Player: Arkadiusz Cieślok (Defensive End, Gdynia Seahawks)
Best Offensive Player: Timothy Morovick (Quarterback, Wrocław Panthers)
Most Spectacular Individual Play: 70-yard punt return (Deante Battle, Wrocław Panthers)

Topliga Season Awards:

Most Valuable Player: Timothy Morovick (Wrocław Panthers)
Best Quarterback: Timothy Morovick (Wrocław Panthers)
Best Wide Receiver: Jakub Mazan (Gdynia Seahawks)
Best Running Back: Jacek Wróblewski (Tychy Falcons)
Best Offensive Lineman: Jakub Krystecki (Gdynia Seahawks)
Best Defensive Lineman: Arkadiusz Cieślok (Gdynia Seahawks)
Best Linebacker: Konrad Paszkiewicz (Warsaw Eagles)
Best Defensive Back: Deante Battle (Wrocław Panthers)
Best Kicker (The Ryszard Szaro Award): Adam Nelip (Wrocław Panthers)
Best Punter: Marcin Łojewski (Warsaw Eagles)
Best Returner: Deante Battle (Wrocław Panthers)

Complete List of PLFA Champions:

2006: Warsaw Eagles (Marymont Stadium, Warsaw)
2007: Wrocław Crew (Marymont Stadium, Warsaw)
2008: Warsaw Eagles (Olympic Stadium, Wrocław)
2009: AZS Silesia Miners (Marymont Stadium, Warsaw)
2010: Wrocław Devils (Oławka Stadium, Wrocław)
2011: Wrocław Crew (Bielawa Stadium, Bielawa)
2012: Gdynia Seahawks (National Stadium, Warsaw)
2013: Wrocław Giants (National Stadium, Warsaw)
2014: Gdynia Seahawks (Municipal Stadium, Gdynia)
2015: Gdynia Seahawks (Wrocław Stadium, Wrocław)
2016: Wrocław Panthers (Municipal Stadium, Białystok)

Watch the highlights here.

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