In a rematch of the 2018 championship final, the Wroclaw Panthers will take on the defending champion Bialystok Lowlanders, Saturday, March 23 in Wroclaw, Poland on the opening day of play in Poland’s Liga Futbolu Amerykańskiego.
The Lowlanders handed Wroclaw their first championship final defeat since 2015 in beating the Panthers 14-13.
With a new head coach in Val Gunn and defensive coordinator, Skip Albano, the Panthers are looking to return to the top spot in Poland in 2019. The unfortunate departure of the team’s starting quarterback and defensive player at the start of the playoffs last year, were key factors in Wroclaw’s second place finish.
In one of his first moves, Gunn signed Chris Forcier as the starting quarterback. The 29 year old Forcier, a 6’3″, 212 lb native of La Jolla, California, played with the Pardubice Stallions of the Czech American Football League in 2018. He had stepped away from playing, devoted himself to coaching and in 2017 he helped La Jolla reach the California State quarterfinals. At Furman, he set numerous school records and in his senior year (2011) he threw for 2,265 yards and 23 touchdowns while rushing for another 250. With blazing 4.39, 40 yard speed he attracted the attention of the New York Jets where he spent training camp in 2012 as well as the Jacksonville Jaguars. He signed with the Milano Rhinos in 2013 leading them to the playoffs.
For the Lowlanders, 26-year-old Alex Burdette is the new head coach. Burdette was the offensive coordinator for the Hildesheim Invaders in the German Football League in 2017. He had been an assistant at Clemson University before arriving in Europe.
Bialystok has signed Rex Dausin (Colorado State University-Pueblo) as their new starting quarterback and re-signed Zach Blair at linebacker. Blair, a 6’2″, 220 lb native of Front Royal, Virginia, played for the Ancona Dolphins in 2017 before signing with the Lowlanders. He enjoyed a stellar career at UVA-WISE (NCAA Div. II) where he set the NCAA career record for tackles for loss. He was named Virginia’s small college Linebacker of the Year in 2016 after amassing 87 tackles in 11 games. He also won the award in 2015.
This could be a good one.