The Trnava Bulldogs and Zilina Warriors will face each other July 15 in Slovak Bowl IV at Athletic Stadium Slavia in Trnava, Slovakia.
The game will be a rematch of Slovak Bowl II which the Bulldogs won in a rout, 63-7.
This year the situation is little bit different. The two teams met twice during the regular season, with each side winning a game at home. The Bulldogs defeated Zilina 37-0 at home, while losing 16-6 in Zilina. Both teams had 6-2 records (along with the Cassovia Steelers), but the Bulldogs had the better record against both their opponents so they finished first in the regular season.
The Trnava Bulldogs team is in a rebuilding mode this year, but that did not prevent them from taking the first place during the regular season. The team is an interesting mix of seasoned veterans and young players lead by coach James Lee Sutton and theygot better from game to game. They secured their first place in the final game of the regular season and won their semifinal game against the Nitra Knights convincingly 28-0.
Perhaps the best example of this “rebuilding” season is talented young quarterback Jakub Lenovský, who led the league in passing yards and touchdowns. Trnava also relies on a veteran defense anchored by defensive end Matej Fridrich, linebacker Juraj Levický and safety Jakub Melichár.
On the other hand, the Zilina Warriors did not start the season very well and after first victory, they lost games against the Bulldogs and Steelers. Since then, they won six games in a row including surprisingly decisive 24-0 win in the semifinals in Košice against the Steelers. Their efforts clinched them a berth in the Slovak Bowl for the third year in a row (they lost twice in the previous years against the Monarchs and Bulldogs).
They rely most on team effort and the “next man up” mentality. Their offense is led by veteran quarterback Peter Banik and wide receiver Jakub Valko. On the defensive side, they rely on linebacker Samuel Jurek and safety Stanislav Marcin, who had a league-high six interceptions during the regular season.
While the Bulldogs are the favorites, a blowout like that in Slovak Bowl II is not expected this time. Both teams won their respective home games and in Slovak Bowl IV, anything can happen.