Hungarian Football League: 2017 Finals Rematch on tap

This weekend the two remaining teams will make their debut in the expanded Hungarian Football League.

The returning Nyíregyháza Tigers host the Fehérvár Enthroners on Saturday, while reigning champion Budapest Cowbells visit last year’s runner-ups, the Miskolc Steelers on Sunday. The Budapest Wolves are seeking revenge at home against the DAK Acél Gorillaz after last year’s loss, and the TD Store Eagles travel to Győr to see if they can crack the Sharks’ defense.

Nyíregyháza Tigers (0-0) – Fehérvár Enthroners (0-1)

Photo: DigitalSport

In 2017, the Tigers took a detour in the Hungarian Division II. to build up the new generation, which ended in winning the championship. Now, the youngsters along with the experienced players have more help. Nyíregyháza brought some strong imports: Troy Rice, Brian Gessel, Clifford Stokes Jr. and Greg Williams Jr. Moreover, head coach Thomas Smythe is the biggest addition to the Tigers, whose experience and coaching skills can really build a championship winner team in no time.

Photo: Zoltán Bese

The Fehérvár Enthroners’ debut in the number one league was not so memorable. The six time champion Budapest Wolves easily won at the First Field. In addition, a lot of key players got injured in the defense: Ryan Seaberg is out for the whole season, Máté Gyarmati has to miss the game as well, while János Zilai is also questionable because of a concussion. However, the offense is dealing with injury issues as well. The Enthroners will have a very difficult first encounter with the Tigers.

Nyíregyháza Tigers

New Players/staff members: Thomas Smythe, Dániel Menczel, Troy Rice, Clifford Stokes Jr, Greg Williams Jr., Brian Gessel
Left: –

Miskolc Steelers (0-0) – Budapest Cowbells (1-0)

Photo: Péter Bratincsák

The Steelers had to postpone its season opener against the Tigers in the first round. Thus, they had to wait an additional two weeks. However, they announced the new imports: Mauritio Uribe (WR), Deante Battle (RB) and Andre Whyte (LB). The teams still do not know their abilities, but head coach Eaton Demetrius Lamar knew who to invite to the team to make the Steelers strong after Troy Rice, Daniel Menczel and A.J. Benson left the team.

The Budapest Cowbells defeated the TD Store Eagles in the starting round. Nevertheless, the teams’ performance was not perfect. After a slow start in the first half – as expected – the reigning champion improved in the second half and won the game. The Cowbells have to put up a solid and disciplined performance in all four quarters to defeat the Steelers again, like they did in last year’s Hungarian Bowl.

Miskolc Steelers

New Players/staff members: Mauritio Uribe, Deante Battle, Andre Whyte, Róbert Hanász, Krisztián Szabó, Sándor Dezső, Zsolt Dobrosi
Left: Dániel Menczel, Troy Rice, A.J. Benson

Budapest Wolves (1-0) – DAK Acél Gorillaz (0-1)

Photo: Digital Sport

The season started out well for the Budapest Wolves. The six time Hungarian Champions seem to be in a great shape. The team did not show so many weak spots against the Enthroners. The offense thrived in Székesfehérvár, while the defense was hard as a rock, especially the defensive backs, which was a weak spot for years. Nevertheless, the Wolves are seeking revenge after the Gorillaz beat them last year in Dunaújváros.

Photo: László Becs

The Gorillaz seems to have a stronger roster than last year. However, they could not show that last time against the Győr Sharks, when they lost at home. The offense could not score. Head coach Vilmos Grátz had a lot of work to do with this section. Quarterback Balázs Krasznai still needs to work on his coherence with the receivers. The defense’s pass rush will be key if the Gorillaz want to win in Budapest.

Győr Sharks (1-0) – TD Store Eagles (0-1)

Photo: László Becs

The Sharks’ defense had an outstanding game last time and held the Gorillaz offense to zero points. Nevertheless, the offense needs to be adjusted. Cody Enman did not have a good chemistry with the receivers but the running backs did well in gaining yards, especially HFL veteran Ferenc Schwarz. In addition, coach Troy Baker can count on Arthur Brown and Andres Fernandez to make a difference on Sunday.

Photo: Váradi-Király Photo

Newly-promoted TD Store Eagles took up the challenge with the reigning champion two weeks ago, but for only one half. Then the defense got exhausted. Moreover, head coach Gábor Boda admitted he did not use the kicking skills of András Storcz which could have caused the Cowbells hard times two weeks ago. Nonetheless, Eagles’ A.J. Benson did not perform at his best in the season opener. Maybe this time.

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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