ELF: Wroclaw Panthers top Berlin Thunder in front of record setting crowd at Poland’s Tarczynski Arena

On Sunday, the Wroclaw Panthers kicked off their season with a bang as they defeated the Berlin Thunder 49-39 in front of more than 15,000 fans at Tarczynski Arena.

The visiting Thunder opened the scoring in the first quarter with a 36 yard touchdown pass from new quarterback Jakeb Sullivan to Robin Wilzeck.  They extended their lead in the second quarter on a Sullivan touchdown pass to Aaron Jackson from 15 yards out.  Wroclaw would get on the board on a 46 yard touchdown pass from Steven Duncan to Jakub Mazan, but then Berlin struck back with some trickery as receiver Bais Kouanda scampered for a 45 yard touchdown on a reverse.

Panthers QB Steven Duncan Photo: Wroclaw Panthers

Wroclaw responded immediately when Duncan found Gennadiy Adams on a 75 yard touchdown pass.  On the ensuing Berlin possession, Sullivan was intercepted by A.J. Wentland, who nearly took it all the way to the house.  Adams hauled in another touchdown pass near the goal line to give his team the lead.  Wroclaw got the ball again before halftime and scored yet another touchdown on a quarterback sneak from Duncan with 14 seconds left.  However, on the kickoff, Aaron Jackson struck again, returning it all the way for a touchdown right before halftime.  Wroclaw went into the break with a slim 28-26.  All in all, 40 points were scored in the last six minutes of the half.

In the third quarter, Berlin regained the lead with a 15 yard rushing touchdown from Albert Wiesigstrauch.  Wroclaw would respond with a touchdown pass from Duncan to Daniel Bender.  In the fourth quarter, Adams extended the Panthers’ lead with a one yard rushing touchdown.  Berlin was marching down the field in the hopes of answering back when Panthers defensive back Szymon Romanowski forced a Kouanda fumble and Wroclaw recovered. Berlin later found the end zone on a Nicolai Schumann receiving touchdown, but Wroclaw sealed the game on a trick play when receiver Daniel Bender found tight end Adria Botella Moreno for a touchdown pass.

Photo: Wroclaw Panthers

In the highest attended game in Wroclaw Panthers history, the fans were treated to a shootout with big plays made on offense, defense, and special teams.  Wroclaw has another tough test next week as they host the Stuttgart Surge, while Berlin hosts the Prague Lions in their home opener.

A current student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Carter played football in high school and has been a lifelong avid football fan.