The game of the week in Poland takes place this Sunday at the Stadionie Miejskim in Bialystok, Poland where the Warsaw Eagles open up their season in Week 2 of Poland’s Topliga. The Eagles travel meet the Primacol Lowlanders of Bialystok, who fell 40-28 to the twice-reigning Polish titleholders, the Gdynia Seahawks.
In 2015, the Eagles recorded a 6-4 season, finishing fourth in the Topliga. The Eagles defeated the Lowlanders (28-14) and Husaria Szczecin (36-27) and lost a close game to the eventual champion Seahawks (27-28). Although they reached the semi-finals in the Polish playoffs the Eagles were outclassed by the speedy Wrocław Panthers 47-9. In 2015, the team seemed out of sync. Throughout the season, the team failed to find its rhythm and did not play to its full potential,” said
“In 2015, the team seemed out of sync. Throughout the season, the team failed to find its rhythm and did not play to its full potential,” said Marek Włodarczyk, Vice President of the Eagles.
The Lowlanders know the power and tradition of the Eagles and recognize that adjustments are needed after last week’s loss.
Rafał Bierć, President Primacol Lowlanders Bialystok:
“We need to improve our offensive game and focus on better play in our defensive backfield so we don’t give up big play points.”
The loss to Gdynia did not come without outstanding performances. Tomasz Zubrycki, star WR for the Lowlanders and the Polish national team made plays on both sides of the ball, recording a touchdown and interception. Returning American QB and playmaker Jabari Harris continues to increase confidence with every rep and this will certainly pay off. Running back Ronald Long also recorded a touchdown in Gdynia. The Lowlanders have enormous potential in the defense, which in the last meeting played a great except for a few mistakes. It seems that Lowlanders are ready to turn around their 2016 campaign.
But the Eagles stand in their way.
Warsaw’s composition has almost completely turned upside down since 2015. First off, a new coach Dan Levy replaces Jack Wallusch. Levy, who has a great deal of international coaching experience, is familiar with Poland, having spent time with the Krakow Tigers.
Levy has brought in a coaching staff that has the ear and respect of the Eagles players – which is necessary for the implementation of their plan. Each position has its own coach. Practices and training sessions are video recorded and carefully analyzed according to Włodarczyk. New leaders have been brought in with the signing of quarterbacks Greg Watson and Cody Smith, while the well-known and versatile RB/DB Charles McCrea and RB Andre Whyte have returned. Further strengthening Warsaw are a few generous Polish transfers. Four players come from the Warsaw Sharks, QB Karol Żak, WR Tomasz Ochnio, defenders Marcin Goc and Peter Sitek boost the domestic capacity of the Eagles. RB Marcin Malesa also joins from the Płock Mustangs.
Włodarzyk summed it up;
“Although there are many new faces, the teams seems to have come together well in the pre-season. Coaches did not know the players, and no leniency was given. Seniority or merit also has not guaranteed room on the field and everything was decided by the players commitment and skills.”
One factor to note for this week, an “administrative error” has forced QB Greg Watson and another import (Cody Smith) to be ineligible for today’s match. This apply to a handful of Polish players as well.
Levy states he was ‘completely blindsided by it on Wednesday.’
Levy on the game with the Lowlanders;
“We have faced a lot of adversity and the guys who aren’t allowed to play definitely don’t deserve it. But this is a focused team and i know they will bring it until the last whistle blows. I also think that our Polish QB Karol Zak is a player to watch. He’s had a fantastic week of practice and I have 100% confidence in him.”
Thus, we get our first look at the new Warsaw Eagles. But can they stop the ambitious Lowlanders?
Białystok Lowlanders (0-1) v. Warsaw Eagles (0-0)
Kickoff: Sunday, April 10, 12 Noon (6 AM EDT)
Source: Marcin Fijałkowski via lowlanders.topliga.pl