Bialystok Lowlanders celebrate Polish Football League’s 18th birthday with riveting win over Silesia Rebels in Polish Bowl XVIII

After a thrilling game that came down the championship drive, the Bialystok Lowlanders defeated the Silesia Rebels 38-35 in Polish Bowl XVIII clinching back-to-back Polish titles.

Polonia Warszawa Stadium is located in the middle of the capital and a gorgeous July afternoon provided a perfect backdrop for the 18th Birthday Party of American Football in Poland.

It was the Rebels who started the game faster, jumping out to a 14-0 lead on touchdown receptions by Beniaman Bołdys (4 yards) and Leonardo Sophoclis (50 yards) as quarterback Carlton Aiken had plenty of time. Their offense was clicking and even though they made mistakes, including fumbles, their defense was able to keep the Lowlanders at bay. The defending champions responded in the second quarter – tying the game at 14-14 as Piotr Pamulak hauled in a 12 yard pass from quarterback Clayton Uecker and with under two minutes left in the first half, Uecker punched the ball in himself from the one yard line to tie the game up. The halftime score was a surprise though as the Lowlanders had been the heavy favorites going into the game.

Photo: Szymon Starnawski Photography

After halftime, Bialystok dominated the third quarter, scoring another 21 unanswered points. First running back Jędrzej Śmigielskis scored from three yards out, then Krzysztof Czaplejewicz took a toss and scored from the two.  Early in the fourth, Czaplejewicz scored again, this time from nine yards out to increase the lead to a seemingly insurmountable 35-14. Some fans thought the game was over at this point. What happened next perfectly embodied the Rebels fighting spirit – they closed the gap to eight points as Aiken hit running back Bart Słomka with a four yard scoring pass and then two minutes later took the ball himself and broke a couple of tackles to score on a 33 yard scamper. With just over a minute left, Aiken again called his own number scoring on a two-yard run, narrowing the lead to 35-33. They added the two point conversion to tie the game at 35-35 with 1:20 remaining.

Photo: Szymon Starnawski Photography

The Lowlanders had less than a minute and a half to march down the field and try to win the game or play it safe and go for overtime. After a short return by Bialystok wide receiver Krzysztof Nosow, Uecker went to work. Starting from his own 22 yard line, he led the Lowlanders on a seven play, 64 yard drive down to the Silesia 14 yard line. With six seconds left, kicker Sebastian Jagielski, with Uecker holding, booted a 31 yard field goal to give his team a 38-35 lead. The Rebels muffed the return on the ensuing kickoff and the Lowlanders players began celebrating.

With contributions from Wojciech Andrzejczak.

American Football International is your source for news and updates about American Football outside the United States!