The two top seeds advanced from the semi-finals of the Hungarian Football League. The Budapest Wolves defeated the Nyíregyháza Tigers at home, while the Miskolc Steelers defeated the reigning champion Budapest Cowbells at Felsőzsolca.
Budapest Wolves (1st seed) 35 – Nyíregyháza Tigers (4th seed) 20 (7-0, 7-14, 14-6, 7-0)
The Nyíregyháza Tigers wanted revenge after losing at home against the Budapest Wolves in the regular season. A win would have meant a spot in the Hungarian Bowl. Nevertheless, the six time champion Wolves started better with Máté Gecser’s catch. The Tigers answered in the second quarter after László Sőrés picked up Darius Lewis’ fumble.
The visitors – led by returning tight end Dávid Verdes and Troy Rice – arrived in the red zone where Márk Benő ran for the first Tigers touchdown. However, the Wolves got back the lead very quickly after Ádám Elek’s TD grab. Nyíregyháza was able equalize again after Rice’s 60 yard touchdown. 14-14 at the half but Benő had to leave the field with a serious leg injury.
The two teams continued where they left off in the third quarter. Ádám Elek caught another one of Márk Bencsics’ passes for a TD. The Tigers fought back and got another touchdown after a spectacular drive. Brian Gessel arrived in the end zone with the ball. However, Gábor Sviatkó’s extra point was blocked, thus, the visitors could not equalize again. The Wolves were managing the time perfectly progressing on the field with mostly runs and short passes. Péter Lenner got the next touchdown. This time Nyíregyháza could not answer, a rare moment happened Gessel’s pass was intercepted by Darius Lewis in the end zone. The Wolves took advantage of it by managing the clock again. In the fourth quarter, the home team even widened the gap after Alvin Reels’ rushing TD. The Tigers still had some time but Gessel’s pass was intercepted again by Márk Mezei which ended the game. The Wolves won 35-20, and earned the right to play in the Hungarian Bowl for the first time since 2015.
The Wolves did a good job in managing the clock; Péter Lenner was able to keep the ball moving in the second half, while Márk Bencsics could connect with the receivers perfectly during the game. The Tigers did not give up during all four quarters. Returning tight end Dávid Verdes was hard stop and had a miraculous game despite the loss.
Miskolc Steelers (2nd seed) 33 – Budapest Cowbells (3rd seed) 14 (7-0, 10-14, 0-0, 16-0)
The Steelers also wanted to take revenge after losing against the Cowbells in the regular season. The game started out good for Miskolc. Andre Whyte ran for the first TD of the match. At the end of the first quarter, Eaton Demetrius Lamar intercepted Márton Czirók’s pass. The Steelers took advantage of it and Máté Jónás kicked a field goal.
The Cowbells turned things around. Matias Canter’s and Bence Lakatos’ touchdown grab with Kamilló Fóra’s extra points gave the reigning champion the advantage. Nevertheless, the home team got the lead before the end of the half with Csaba Fenyvesi’s catch: 17-14.
Both teams could not score in the third quarter, thus, the decision was left for the last period. Touchdowns from Vasyl Yordan and Andre Whyte settled everything. Moreover, Máté Jónás scored a field goal at the end. The Steelers won 33-14 and qualified for the Hungarian Football League final for the third consecutive time.
Andre Whyte led Miskolc again with two touchdowns, while the defense could hold the opponent in the second half leaving them scoreless. The Cowbells offense was struggling throughout the whole game making three turnovers. Only the defense could keep the hope for victory alive.
Hungarian Bowl XIII will be held on July 14 in Szusza Ferenc Stadium.