Battle for Hungarian Bowl begins

This weekend, four teams are fighting to qualify for the final of the Hungarian American Football League (HFL). On Saturday, the Budapest Wolves host the Nyíregyháza Tigers, while the reigning champion Budapest Cowbells visit the Miskolc Steelers on Sunday.

Budapest Wolves (1st seed) – Nyíregyháza Tigers (4th seed) June 30

The Budapest Wolves finished first in the regular season. It is not a surprising fact after how the six time champion played this season. The offense, the defense, and even the special team put up a magnificent performance. Darius Lewis might be one of the best signings of the season after he appeared in all three parts of the team and scored as well. The offense has been flourishing in the past few games. Even the youngsters could fit in well. With a quarterback like Márk Bencsics in the squad it is not surprising that the offense keeps on moving. But the best quarterback of the regular season threw seven interceptions in seven games, three of them caught by the Tigers’ defensive players.

Thus, Nyíregyháza’s defense might be one of those teams that can make the Wolves offense struggle. Not just the imports and the Ukrainian players, but the Hungarian youngsters and veterans keep this defense at a high level. Ivan Oleksiuk and Szerhii Ovcharenko even had the most tackles (41.5) in the regular season. The offense seemed problematic. It always had its ups and downs. Nevertheless, the Tigers have the second best quarterback, Brian Gessel with only one interception, and the best receiver, Troy Rice. Both of them are back from their illness or injury. In addition, Márk Benő, Dávid Verdes, Greg Williams and Max Nedzelsky are all healthy again and ready to fight for the final which the Tigers never reached in their HFL history.

Miskolc Steelers (2nd seed) – Budapest Cowbells (3rd seed) July 1

Only the Cowbells were able to beat the Miskolc Steelers in the regular season. The record between the two teams is 3-2 to the reigning champion. The Steelers want to make it equal. They have everything in their hand to do so. The best running back in the league, Andre Whyte is their most efficient weapon. With Pawel Lesiv making way for him to run, they are considered a dynamic duo. In addition, after a sloppy season start Vasyl Yordan (QB) also took up the pace. Not to mention, the defense with talented backs like Máté Jónás and Martin Szabó are also tough to beat for the receivers.

The defense was the only solid part of the Cowbells this season. It worked when it had to and really needed to. Like against the Tigers in the last round. Márton Németh is the best defensive back in the season with 6 interceptions. But the defensive line will have more work to do because of Whyte. Nevertheless, the offense could not perform as solid as everyone expected. The Cowbells even switched quarterbacks in the middle of the season. Márton Czirók seemed a good choice because he was able to connect with the receivers. Only Bence Takács is injured, however, head coach Karim Trabelsi can still choose from 8 quality receivers. The running game also had its ups and downs. Now, Richárd Roják is the only running back for the Cowbells after Péter Cseperkáló missed several games.

László Makranczi is a radio reporter, announcer and American Football journalist in Hungary. He lives in Debrecen and works for the Hungarian American Football Federation. Studied at the University of Debrecen, got a master’s degree in American