Gdynia Seahawks Win Polish Title For 2nd Year in a Row in Dramatic Upset

The Gdynia Seahawks played their finest football of the season when they needed it, defending their Polish title and defeating the overwhelming favorites the Wroclaw Panthers 28-21 in an nationally and internationally broadcast game in the City Stadium in Wroclaw, with 14,000 enthusiastic fans looking on.

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There was plenty of entertainment

This marked the first time that any team in Poland’s Topliga has succeeded in defending their title. The Seahawks, although the defending champions, entered the game as the underdogs having lost both their games to the Panthers during the regular season badly.

And the game did not start well for the Seahawks as on the very first series Panthers quarterback Kyle Israel lofted a pass to Gergory Mazur in the end zone giving Wroclaw a 7-0 lead.

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Thomas Dziedzic scored two touchdowns in a losing cause

However, the Seahawks defense rose up keeping Panthers running back Marcus Sims, who led the league in rushing, from finding the end zone. Linebacker Michael Garbowski led a ferocious defensive unit that kept the Panthers run game in check and then blocked a David Pańczyszyn field goal attempt. However, midway through the second quarter, Krzysztof Tomczak intercepted a pass from Gdynia quarterback Mic Brown intended for  receiver Sebastian Krzysztofka and it looked as if the Panthers would gain some momentum. But Seahawks defender Arkadiusz Cieśloka picked up a loose ball and ran it in from eight yards out evening the score at 7-7.

In the second half, Wroclaw again looked to gain an advantage as quarterback Kyle Israel found receiver Thomas Dziedzic in the end zone for a 10 yard touchdown pass and the Panthers regained the lead 14-7. The touchdown seemed to give the Seahawks new life though as Brown began using running back Angelo Pease out of the backfield, getting the ball to him in space allowing him to use his feet.

On the next series, Dziedzic fumbled the ball and it was recovered by Gdynia. Brown hit Pease with a 17 yard touchdown pass tying the game at 14-14.

The fourth quarter opened with the Seahawks gaining momentum as Brown scored from four yards out to give Gdynia its first lead of the night and then two series later Pease scored his second touchdown of the game, extending the lead to 28-14.

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Seahawks quarterback Mic Brown was outstanding

Thomas Dziedzic made up for his fumble with his second touchdown catch of the game on a 12 yard pass from Israel. But the Seahawks defense held strong the rest of the way, keeping the vaunted Panthers offense in check and securing the second straight championship for the Seahawks.

Angelo Pease, who was second only to Sims in rushing in Poland in 2015was named MVP of the game scoring two touchdowns.

Not only was this an excellent game, it was also a spectacle and the television and streaming broadcast was of superb quality rivaling anything in North America for American football. The Polish League of American Football (PLFA) did an outstanding job and deserve much credit for elevating the promotion of the game to such a high level.

With excerpts from Peter Bera from the PLFA Press Office. 

Roger Kelly is an editor and a writer for AFI. A former PR Director the B.C. Lions of the Canadian Football League for 7 years, he now lives in Sweden writing about and scouting American Football throughout the world.