Hungary: Playoffs kick off as Steelers Host Wolves, Cowbells Visit Heroes

After a three week break, the playoffs in the Hungarian Football League begin with the semi-finals. The teams from Budapest have to travel to Eastern Hungary to fight their way into the final.

Miskolc Steelers (1st seed) – Budapest Wolves (4th seed) in Felsőzsolca

Photo: András Pazár

The reigning champion against the 6 time champion on June 24! This will be an interesting match-up. The Steelers finished the regular season unbeaten. Miskolc has one of the strongest offenses (159 points scored) and defenses (98) in the league. Game after game, quarterback Vasyl Yordan and his receivers have had put up a big show on the field. The leading scorer of the squad is Troy Rice with eight touchdowns. However, both the offense and the defense may become weakened, if Eaton Demetrius Lamar has not recovered from his hand injury. Steelers might be vulnerable to runs in the middle.

The Budapest Wolves was lucky to get into the playoffs. The six-time champions beat the Győr Sharks, but they also needed the Cowbells to defeat the Gorillaz in Dunaújváros. The Cowbells did it but only in the last quarter. The Wolves’ offense (159) can compete with the Steelers however’. Wide receiver Ádám Elek is currently the leading scorer of the league with nine touchdown receptions. In addition, Xavier Marsden’s part in the offense may grow bigger since he put up an amazing performance against the Sharks in the last regular season game. However, the defense has to improve because it surrendered 148 points which is the worst among the four playoff teams.

Eger Heroes (2nd seed) – Budapest Cowbells (3rd seed) in Felsőtárkány

Photo: Váradi-Király

The other finalist will be revealed on June 25. This match-up may be more exciting than the other because of the two teams’ regular season battle. The Heroes came back from a 20-3 deficit and won 25-20 in Budapest. Kali Rashaad performed well in that game, however, he cannot participate this time because he was given a one-game suspension for targeting which he committed during the last regular season match against the Steelers. Chris Murray’s presence is also questionable. He had to be away but it is still unknown whether he will return for the semi-final or not. Nevertheless, head coach László Szeredi is still confident that they can replace these players.

The Budapest Cowbells had a very adventurous last two matches, but they were able to overcome the Wolves and the Gorillaz in the last quarter. Their improvement is due to two factors. Head coach Karim Trabelsi made a quarterback swap: he put a more accurate passer, Tamás Váry in and sent Márton Czirók back to the wide receivers. In addition, the offense became more balanced because of the improvement of the running game. The Richárd Roják (2)-Péter Cseperkáló (1) tandem gained 250 yards in the last two games and scored three touchdowns combined. Nevertheless, Karim Trabelsi stated that the key to the victory is to remain disciplined.

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