Hungarian Football League kicks off 2019 with Wolves-Steelers title re-match

The Hungarian Football League kicks off its 2019 season with all six teams in action as they take the first step in reaching Hungarian Bowl XIV at Új Hidegkuti Nándor Stadium on July 6.

All six squads will play a five-game regular season with a wild card playoff round and then semifinals after that. The reigning champion Budapest Wolves will face challenges from the Budapest Cowbells, Fehérvár Enthroners, Győr Sharks, Kiev Capitals (from the Ukraine) and the Miskolc Steelers. Three teams have changed head coaches.

Győr Sharks – Fehérvár Enthroners (April 6, 15.00)

Photo: Krisztián Lakatos

A lot has changed at the Sharks since the last season. Jeremiay Aycock, Billy Hatten and Matt McRae joined the squad. In addition, Dustin Hawke Willingham is the new head coach of the Sharks. After Vilmos Grátz left the team Willingham is the fourth head coach of the squad. Nonetheless, Andres Fernandez extended his stay in Győr and the key players of the Sharks also decided to help the squad this season as well. The team morale has improved since last year but will the game be better?

Photo: DigitalSport

The Fehérvár Enthroners also reinforced its roster with a lot of promising imports and Hungarian National Team players as well. Moreover, the team’s new head coach, Jim Ward may have the ability to build up a good team that is able to take a shot at winning the championship for the first time. In addition, they are still competing in the Austrian Football League Division III which can give the junior players the opportunity to show off their talent.

Budapest Wolves – Miskolc Steelers (April 7, 11.00)

Photo: Gabriella Kraus

Last season these two teams fought for the Hungarian Bowl trophy. The Wolves won in the last minutes of the game. Now they are aiming to defend their title. Nevertheless, it will not be easy after all six teams have undergone enormous improvement. The Wolves also signed a few strong Hungarian players like Gábor Kispál, Géza Farkas and Zoltán Gráber. The squad has also added new junior talents to the roster.

Photo: Gabriella Kraus

A lot of teams changed but the Miskolc Steelers remained almost the same. Eaton Demetrius Lamar is still the head coach, Andre Whyte also chose to be a Steeler for this season. Nevertheless, Miskolc needed to improve its receiving game, thus, they signed Finnish receiver Andy Misiuro. On Sunday, we will see how  well he will work together with quarterback Vasyl Yordan who had receivers like Troy Rice and A.J. Benson last year.

Budapest Cowbells – Kiev Capitals (April 7, 15.00)

Photo: Váradi-Király Fotó

The Budapest Cowbells also changed their head coach. After Karim Trabelsi got a five game suspension, Troy Baker took control. Baker already worked with the Győr Sharks last season but left after two games and ended up with the Cowbells. In autumn, he won the U19 championship with team and not long after that, he became head coach of the HFL squad. Not too many players have left the team and recruiting was strong as many new faces joined the team from the Eger Heroes and the Budapest Eagles.

Photo: Kiev Capitals facebook

The Bratislava Monarchs was the last foreign team to compete in the HFL. The Slovakian squad won the Hungarian Bowl in 2015. The Kiev Capitals are aiming for the same. Nonetheless, they will not have a home game during the championship. The Ukrainian team may be a dark horse for all other HFL teams. However, every Hungarian team have to prepare for a tough, physical game which is the characteristic of many Ukrainian clubs.

Graphics: Igor Lazarevic

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