Fehérvár Enthroners survive scare, capture first ever Hungarian crown

The Fehérvár Enthroners survived a furious second half comeback by the Kiev Capitals to edge Kiev 14-12 to win Hungarian Bowl XIV and capture their first Hungarian title

Both teams were playing in their first ever Hungarian Football League (HFL) final last Saturday. Since the top league in Hungary changed its name to the HFL in 2012, no team  based in Western Hungary has ever won the championship. However, Kiev, from the Ukraine, is not the first foreign team to reach the final.  The Bratislava Monarchs  from Slovakia won the title in 2015.

Fehérvár Enthroners (3rd seed) – Kyiv Capitals (4th seed) 14-12 (7-0, 7-0, 0-6, 0-6)

Photo: DigitalSport

From the opening whistle the game was dominated by both defenses. Although Capitals defender Tyren Quinn got the first interception of the game, the referees gave the ball back to the Enthroners after a defensive pass interference. This was a crucial turning point for Fehérvár because on the next play, quarterback Bence Gombos found receiver Márk Poprádi who had got in behind the corner to score the first points of the game. György Zách kicked the extra point and the Enthroners led 7-0.

Photo: DigitalSport

In the second quarter, the Capitals seemed to find a ryhthm but Enthroners defensive back Michael Wallace intercepted a Maksym Cherepivskyi pass and returned it to the Ukrainian squad’s 35-yard line. The Enthroners took advantage of the situation. At first, Dávid Novakov was stopped two yards short of the end zone. But running back Ryan Tuiasoa scored on the next play to extend the lead to 14-0.

The Enthroners took the two possession lead into the break with Jebrai Regan shining for the defense.

Photo: DigitalSport

In the second half, the roles were reversed. The Capitals offense and defense took control while Fehérvár struggled on both sides of the ball.

Early in the third quarter, Isaiah Wheeler intercepted a Gombos pass and took it all the way to the Enthroners’ 15-yard line. Cherepivskyi took advantage of it and found Ihor Lysenko in the end zone. Oleksandr Melnychuk’s extra point attempt was blocked though and Kiev trailed 14-6.. With Fehérvár’s offense continuing to sputter, the Capitals was flourishing. Big catches by Mykyta Kopus and Troy Rice powered the offense, but Melnychuk’s runs started to work as well.

Photo: DigitalSport

Early in the last quarter, Rice made an outstanding touchdown grab after reaching for the ball that was deflected by Dávid Tóth. The two point conversion was unsuccessful and the Enthroners held a slim 14-12 lead.

Soon after, Mykhailo Kulik recovered a forced fumble for the Capitals in the Enthroners half. Nevertheless,  Fehérvár stopped them on fourth down. Although the Ukrainian squad got another shot at turning the score around, Fehérvár made another fourth down stop and then took a knee to finish the game.

The Enthroners became the first Western HFL Champion.

MVP of the Hungarian Bowl was Ryan Tuiasoa.

Photo: DigitalSport

Laszlo Makranczi
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 Studies and he also has another degree in sports journalism. Currently, he is the press manager of the local team Gladiators and supports the Seattle Seahawks.
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