Expanded Hungarian Football League Kicks Off This Weekend

The Hungarian Football League (HFL) is set to kick off its 2018 season, with eight teams, which is the highest number in the league’s history.

The weather was nasty this past week in Hungary.The heavy snowfall resulted in the postponement of the Miskolc Steelers-Nyíregyháza Tigers Eastern derby, since the field was not suitable for play. However, six of the eight teams will still take the field. On Saturday the reigning champion Budapest Cowbells host the newly-promoted TD Store Eagles, while the Budapest Wolves visit the debuting Fehérvár Enthroners. On Sunday, the Győr Sharks will travel to Dunaújváros to face the DAK Acél Gorillaz.

The biggest question will be: who will dethrone the Cowbells?

Budapest Cowbells-TD Store Eagles (March 24.)

Budapest Cowbells Photo: Váradi-Király

The Cowbells timed their form perfectly last year which earned them a championship trophy. The defense was solid as usual, but the offense could not perform consistently but  still well enougy to win. The most important task for the club was to this season was make the offense work better. The team only averaged 14 points per game in 2017. Therefore, the team brought in new coaches, Tony Addona and Larry Legault (French champion with Thonon Black Panthers), to strengthen the offense.

TD Store Eagles Photo: Zsila Sándor

One of the HFL debut teams is the TD Store Eagles. After reaching the Division I. final last year they advanced to the top league. In order to keep the pace with the opponents, the Eagles brought some experienced players. Wágner Olivér (QB) could be one of the most promising signings according to head coach Boda Gábor, but he thinks former Steeler A.J. Benson could fit in quickly as well.

Budapest Cowbells
New players/staff members: Larry Legault, Tony Addona, Hector Miranda, Mészáros Márton, Papp Péter, Pesti Kristóf
Departed: none

Budapest Eagles:
New players/staff members: A.J Benson, Rockó Iván, Storcz András, Wágner Olivér, Sallai Péter, Garajszki Ádám, Benedek László, Benkő Csaba, Tóth Bence, Udvarhelyi István, Nagy Mátyás, Oláh Dániel, Oláh Barnabás, Oláh Richárd
Departed: Mészáros Márton, Papp Péter

Fehérvár Enthroners-Budapest Wolves (March 24.)

Budapest Wolves Photo: Bratincsák Péter

This is the debut HFL season for the Fehérvár Enthroners. The rapidly developing club strengthened its roster with top Hungarian players. Imports Jebrai Reagan and Antonio Roane have returned for another year and two newcomers, Eric Steffs and Ryan Seaberg joined the club, which will host its first ever HFL game.

Fehérvár Enthroners Photo: DigitalSport

The Budapest Wolves also signed strong imports (Alvin Reels Jr., Darius Lewis, Ben Lyons), who have already proved their value in the pre-season. Nevertheless, the coaches have faith in their junior program which provides them with some talented youngsters. For example, quarterback Bencsics Márk has a new target, Varga Péter (TE), who is tall and physical despite being only 19 years old. The question is: Are the Wolves strong enough to face a rapidly developing team away?

Fehérvár Enthroners:
New players/staff members: Kovács Sándor, Zachary Pierce, Eric Steffes, Ryan Seaberg, Novakov Dávid, Péter Csaba, Zilai János, Tóth Dávid, Szász Csaba, Hartai Gábor
Departed: Mester Márton, Gerencsér Gábor, Papp Dániel, Zsákovics Kevin

Budapest Wolves:
New players/staff members: Alvin Reels Jr., Darius Lewis, Ben Lyons, Blaschek Bence
Departed: Péter Csaba, Pesti Kristóf, Szász Csaba

DAK Acél Gorillaz-Győr Sharks (March 25)

DAK Acél Gorillaz Photo: Bratincsák Péter

Last season Gorillaz head coach, Vilmos Grátz could not defeat his former team, the Sharks on the road. Now it is time for him to strike back in Dunaújváros. In the offseason, he brought in a new defensive coordinator, Pacuk László, who is also part of the coaching staff of the Hungarian National Team. Moreover, Grátz can work with six imports (four American, two British) and one of the strongest defense sin the HFL. In addition, the Gorillaz’s new quarterback, Krasznai Balázs will have a chance to show off his talent in the strongest league in Hungary.

GYőr Sharks Photo: Váradi-Király

The Győr Sharks bade farewell to John Burleson after the end of the last season and welcomed Troy Baker as their new head coach. Andres Fernandez and Arthur Brown both proven their worth in 2017 and received new contracts in Győr. However, there is a new quarterback in town, Cody Enman. Thus, the Sharks became pretty much a ‘dark horse’ for everyone because of the new philosophy that coach Baker brought to the squad. And nothing is more dangerous than facing a team who is unknown every season; however, its roster is familiar for a lot of people.

DAK Acél Gorillaz:
New players/staff members: Pacuk László Farkas Géza, Rácz Balázs, Seres Dániel, Soós Ariel, Lőke Dániel, Erki-Kiss Péter, Bakos Bence, Rusvai Gábor, Sam Ogunlana, Ryan Newton, Bryan McCullolugh, James Connolly, Airiss Hargrow, Nick Ward
Departed: Mészáros Márton, Papp Péter, Zilai János, Victor Williams Jr., Richard Chungong, Lamarco Crawford, Tóth Róbert, Csulik Tamás, Varga Bence

Győr Sharks:
New players/staff members: Troy Bakers, Cody Enman, Szabó Dániel
Departed: –

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