Hungarian Football League reaches mid-season with ‘Battle of the Champions’

The Hungarian Football League has reached the midpoint of the regular season with three games on tap Sunday.

All three have fascinating storylines. In one, the defending champions will take on former champions, in another a coach returns to face his former team and in the third a new import will make his debut.

Budapest Wolves (1-1) – Miskolc Steelers (2-0) in Budapest

Photo: Péter Bratincsák

The most exciting game could be the battle of these two teams. The six-time champion hosts the reigning champion. The Budapest Wolves got their first victory two weeks ago at Eger. Their receiving game improved and Ádám Elek proved why he was player of the year in 2015. The offense put up a convincing performance and the defense has improved since the first HFL game. Michael McCrary and Xavier Marsden seem to have solved the Wolves’ secondary problems.

The Miskolc Steelers snatched their second victory in Dunaújváros. The defense still looks very solid and Eaton Demetrius Lamar proves his worth not just as a player but as a coach also. However, quarterback Vasyl Yordan and the receivers will face a stronger secondary this time. The running game might have a greater significance since they have two physical backs like Meechie Eaton and Lesiv Pavlo who are difficult to stop.

Győr Sharks (0-2) – DAK Acél Dunaújváros Gorillaz (1-1) in Győr

Photo: Judit Sándor

This seems to be a quite promising match-up. The Sharks lost two games in a row and need a win to have hopes of making the playoffs. However, the team needs more adjustments than expected. The defense looked better against the Cowbells. The offense needs more attention but at least Győr has a player who scores touchdowns. That is wide receiver Andres Fernandez who scored four touchdowns in two games. In addition, the offensive line will have a lot of work to do because they need to protect quarterback Phillip Garcia from Dunaújváros’ pass rush.

The Gorillaz also need some improvement since their offense performed poorly against the Steelers. In addition, the Dunaújváros’ defense was not quite perfect. Defensive back Richard Chimmy Chungong put up a good performance but that was not enough to stop Troy Rice and A.J. Benson. Nevertheless, this weekend could be emotional for head coach Vilmos Grátz. On Sunday he will return to Győr where he coached the Sharks for 12 years.

Budapest Cowbells (1-1) – Eger Heroes (1-1) in Budapest

Photo: Váradi-Király

The Cowbells-Heroes match-up could be interesting as well. The home team improved during the past month. Their defense performed well against Győr, and even scored 8 points. However, there are still some problems on offense. Quarterback Márton Czirók does a good job but their high-class running backs Péter Cseperkáló and Richard Roják are not performing too well. And to add to it, after linebacker Imre Végh hung up his cleats, it was hard for head coach Karim Trabelsi to find a good replacement.

After a convincing victory in Győr, Eger Heroes put up a poor performance at home. The running backs could not maintain their form. And they will have a difficult task this time against a very tough defense. Gergő Vakarcs’ physicality could be a solution for Eger to make progress on the field. However, the receivers might have a lot of work to do this time because last year they delivered the victory against the Cowbells. In addition, after Chris Hall’s injury Eger signed a new defensive back Kali Rashaad, who makes his debut Sunday, and could be a missing puzzle piece in the secondary.

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