Hungary: Budapest Cowbells and Gyor Sharks earn home field advantage in playoffs

The last round in the regular season of the Hungarian Football League was filled with excitement as all six teams were battling for playoff positioning.

While the Budapest Cowbells won on the road against the Fehérvár Enthroners to earn second place in the standings and a first round bye in the playoffs, the Győr Sharks rewarded themselves with a fifth seed and their first win of the season against the visiting Miskolc Steelers. The Budapest Wolves remained unbeaten at home against the Kyiv Capitals.

Budapest Cowbells – Fehérvár Enthroners 13-12 (0-6, 0-0, 7-6, 6-0)

Photo: Váradi-Király Fotó

Second seed was at stake on Saturday in Székesfehérvár. The Enthroners started out well after a Nándor Tóth’ touchdown reception (6-0). The Cowbells’ offense struggled with turnovers, but the defense stood tall, keeping Fehérvár from scoring more touchdowns. Mihály Bánfi, Márton Németh and Richárd Oláh shone throughout the whole game.

Photo: Váradi-Király Fotó

In the third quarter, Cowbells defender Németh blocked a György Zách punt, which was picked up by Richárd Oláh, who returned the ball all the way to the end zone to put Budapest out in front 7-6. However, Cowbells punt returner Zoltán Golita could not control the ball and Márk Poprádi forced the ball out with Gábor Hartai recovering the ball at the 10 yard line. The Enthroner’s offense took advantage and Ryan Tuiasoa scored to give the Enthroners a 12-7 lead . Budapest fought back in the last quarter and a Márton Mészáros’ touchdown catch made it 13-12 for Troy Baker’s team with a minute and a half left.  Although the Enthroners had a chance to get the lead back, Ferenc Baksa’s field goal was blocked bay Oláh and the Cowbells escaped with a win and qualified for the semi-finals automatically.

Budapest Wolves – Kyiv Capitals 42-14 (7-0, 14-14, 7-0, 14-0)

Photo: Tamás Weisz

The Budapest Wolves remained unbeaten after an outstanding offensive performance on Saturday against the Kyiv Capitals at home. Wolves’ quarterback, Márk Bencsics had a good day throwing for two touchdowns (Máté Gecser, Ferenc Bartos) in the first half and Dávid Danku added a rushing TD as well. While the Capitals’ signal caller, Maksym Cherepivskyi also threw for one touchdown to Gon Maksym and ran for one at the end of the second quarter (21-14).

Photo: Tamás Weisz

In the second half, the Wolves’ offense came out stronger. Richárd Szatlmayer continued the scoring with a rushing TD, while Bencsics made two more touchdown throws to Ádám Elek and Máté Gecser (42-14). Thus, the reigning champion kept its good form, while the Capitals finished the regular season with 2-3.

Győr Sharks – Miskolc Steelers 44-41 (14-7, 14-14, 3-7, 13-13)

Photo: Attila Balogh

An exciting and high scoring game for the crowd in Felsőzsolca decided the fifth seed. Both winless teams came out with a hunger for victory on Sunday. The Sharks offense had a remarkable first half with Dustin Hawke Willingham as quarterback, who was in great sync with his receivers. They even had a three touchdown lead in the first half (28-7) with Andres Fernandez and Erik Ford scoring two touchdowns each and having several successful catches. Miskolc’s offense was struggling for a while, but Andre Whyte as third backup quarterback also had a good day by scoring three rushing touchdowns in the first half to keep his team close at 28-21. However, the short kick-offs by Balázs Horváth gave the Steelers special team problems.

Photo: Attila Balogh

The Steelers closed the gap to 31-28 in the third period but the teams traded touchdowns in the fourth and the Sharks held on for the win.

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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