Hungary: Steelers hand Budapest Wolves first loss, Tigers move to top of standings

The Hungarian Football League has reached the midpoint of the season and one team still remains unbeaten in the eight team league.

The  Nyíregyháza Tigers continue to roll through the HFL and this past week earned a shutout victory over the Győr Sharks. They top the standings with a 3-0 record. In other action, the Budapest Cowbells gained a hard-fought victory against the Enthroners at Székesfehérvár on Saturday while the Miskolc Steelers won their second game by defeating the Budapest Wolves at home. Finally, the DAK Acél Gorillaz lost by one point to the TD Store Eagles.

Budapest Cowbells (3-1) 34 – Fehérvár Enthroners (1-3)  12  (7-0, 6-0, 8-0,13-12)

Photo: Váradi-Király Fotó

After a crushing defeat to the Wolves, the defending Hungarian champion Cowbells needed a road victory to bounce back. They started strong. In the first half, touchdowns from Richárd Roják and Norbert Zax gave the Cowbells the lead, although the offense was struggling to move the ball.  Still, the Budapest led 13-0 at the half.

The second half was more of a give and take between the two teams. Zax’s touchdown grab and two point conversion made it 21-0. Then Enthroners quarterback Márk Erős, after struggling through three quarters, fixed his mistakes: First by throwing a 40 yard touchdown pass to Patrik Bakonyvári. The Cowbells had an answer with a Bence Takács touchdown reception. But after it Bakonyvári also had a second catch, while Zax’s third grab closed down the game and the reigning champion won 34-12.

The Cowbells started with Márton Czirók who threw 4 touchdown passes. Nevertheless, the running game was struggling. Fehérvár’s passing offense had problems as Erős could not seem to find his wide-outs, although running backs Ákos Szakácsi and Dávid Novakov gained yards for the Division I. champion.

Miskolc Steelers (2-1) 21 – Budapest Wolves (3-1) 13 (7-0, 7-10, 0-3, 7-0)

Photo: Viktória Dajka.

Vasyl Yordan seems to be getting back into shape after his performance against the Győr Sharks and against the six-time champion Wolves at home, he wanted to continue. Which he did! In the first quarter, he found Csaba Fenyvesi for a touchdown, which meant that the Wolves were trailing the first time this season. Nevertheless, they equalized at the beginning of the second quarter with a Máté Gecser touchdown grab. The home crowd did not have to wait too long to cheer again: Yordan threw another TD pass to Anton Ushenko. The visitors could not equalize this time, but they closed the gap with Ben Lyons’ field goal. 14-10 at the half.

After the break, the Wolves put three more points up the scoreboard with Lyons second field goal, but the game wasn’t decided until the last quarter. The Steelers scored again thanks to their star running back Andre Whyte. The Wolves had a lot of chances to go for overtime but they could not get to the end zone, thus, the score remained 21-13.

Despite the two turnovers, Vasyl Yordan led the Steelers offense to victory, and the defense was solid with Deante Battle and Máté Jónás. On the other hand, on a day when the offense struggled, the Wolves defense and special teams did a good job.

Nyíregyháza Tigers (3-0) 38 – Győr Sharks (1-3) 0 (17-0, 0-0, 21-0, 0-0)

Photo: László Becs.

New coach, new quarterback, and another new player. The Sharks made a lot of changes in the middle of the regular season. The defense did great but the offense still needed some adjustments. The Tigers started out well with touchdowns from Márk Benő and Dávid Verdes. Gábor Sviatkó also added a field goal. 17-0 advantage for the Tigers.

The Tigers continued the rampage in the third quarter. Troy Rice had two touchdown catches and quarterback Brian Gessel scored against his former team. Not too much happened in the last part of the game, Nyíregyháza won 38-0 and remained the only unbeaten team in the HFL.

Troy Rice and Dávid Verdes became decisive factors for Nyíregyháza by making important catches to move the ball. However, the defense was the real hero of the team. Sergii Budilov got an interception, while Max Nedzelsky sacked the quarterback twice. The Sharks defense also made it difficult for the visitors to go forward on the field, but the offense still needs to be worked on.

TD Store Eagles (2-2) 14 – DAK Acél Gorillaz (0-4) 13 (0-13, 14-0, 0-0, 0-0)

Photo: László Körber

This game was an opportunity for the Gorillaz to bounce back and have a minimal chance for getting into the playoffs. They started off well, Sam Ogunlana and Dániel Hegedüs ran for a touchdown each, József Beretka kicked one out of two extra points. The Eagles managed to turn things around in the second quarter with Ádám Garajszki’s rushing touchdown and A.J. Benson’s reception. András Storcz kicked both extra points.

In the second half both defenses dominated allowing no scoring. The score remained 14-13, which means the Gorillaz extended theri losing streak to four games.

Olivér Wágner and the receivers had good moments in the game, especially A.J. Benson, who collected 84 yards and one touchdown. Rookie running back Ádám Garajszki, rushed for 86 yards and also a touchdown. Both defenses performed well, but the Gorillaz offense petered out after the first quarter, an indication that the team has still has some issues.

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