Poland: Panthers reign at the top, Lowlanders and Falcons strengthen playoff hopes

The Tychy Falcons are turning heads in Poland winning their third straight game in their first year in the Topliga. The Białystok Lowlanders are back on track evening their record at 2-2 after a much needed win over Husaria Szczecin while the Wroclaw Panthers dispelled any doubts of their superiority in Poland’s top division after dominating the Warsaw Eagles.

Tychy Falcons (3-1) 15 – Wrocław Outlaws (0-4) 12 (in Tychy)

Extra points were the difference on Saturday in Tychy, where the home Falcons did just enough to get by the Wrocław Outlaws 15-12. It was the third consecutive victory for the Falcons, who moved into a tie for second place with the Warsaw Eagles, while the Outlaws remained tied with Husaria Szczecin in the Topliga basement. Still, the result represented progress in a way for the Outlaws, who hadn’t scored in three consecutive games prior to this one.

Tychy jumped out to a 7-0 advantage on the opening drive when Tomasz Nowak caught a short pass from Shane Truelove and took it 20 yards to the end zone. Wrocław answered back with their first Topliga points later in the first quarter, when Aleksander Dąda took a pitch in the backfield and ran 26 yards through the defense to make it 7-6. The conversion attempt was unsuccessful, however, and the scoreline would not change again until after halftime. Truelove, still nursing an injury from earlier in the year, left the contest in the second quarter after being sacked twice.

With their chief playmaker on the bench, the Falcons went into a variation of the ‘wildcat’ offense that produced a 6-yard touchdown run by Jacek Wróblewski in the third quarter. Nowak scored on a two-point conversion that extended the lead to 9 points, a lead that seemed comfortable enough until Dawid Kubicki picked up a bad snap in the Tychy end zone for an Outlaws touchdown. Truelove then returned after an unsuccessful onside kick attempt by Wrocław to help Tychy gain a pair of first downs and run out the three minutes that remained on the clock.

Falcons (3-1): at Wrocław Panthers (4-0), May 5
Outlaws (0-4): vs. Białystok Lowlanders (2-2), May 13

Białystok Lowlanders (2-2) 35, Husaria Szczecin (0-4) 0 (in Szczecin)

Photo: wCzarnymObiektywie

The Białystok Lowlanders ran the opening kickoff back 80 yards for a score and never looked back on Saturday, blanking Husaria 35-0 on a chilly afternoon in Szczecin. Five different players got into the end zone for the Lowlanders, who were helped on offense by the return of their American quarterback, Aaron Knight. Husaria fell to 0-4 while Białystok improved to 2-2 with just a pair of games remaining in the Topliga regular season.

Husaria actually held the Białystok offense off the board for the entire first quarter, but Szczecin nevertheless fell behind 14-0 when Kacper Kajewski followed Tomasz Muśko’s kick return with a 35-yard interception return for a score. Knight then threw the first of his three touchdown passes on the afternoon in the second quarter, hitting Eryk Mąkowski for a 9-yard score that made it 21-0.

Things then got even worse for Szczecin, already playing without regular quarterback Martay Mattox-Hall, when backup quarterback Tomasz Martynow left the game with a shoulder injury in the third quarter. The Lowlanders showed no mercy, adding touchdown receptions by Mikołaj Pawlaczyk in that same quarter and by Bartłomiej Trubaj in the final frame to complete the scoring.

Husaria (0-4): at Wrocław Panthers (4-0), May 14
Lowlanders (2-2): at Wrocław Outlaws (0-4), May 13

Wrocław Panthers (4-0) 47, Warsaw Eagles (3-1) 7 (in Pruszków)

The dual between the last two Topliga unbeatens on Sunday was a very one-sided affair, in which the Wrocław Panthers underlined their dominance of the Polish football world with a 47-7 rout of the Warsaw Eagles in the capital. The start was delayed by an hour and a half because there was no ambulance at the game site – the Panthers opted to play the game rather than taking a walkover that could have been awarded in that situation according to league regulations.

The Eagles might have wished that Wrocław had indeed opted for that walkover by the time the first half ended, as the visitors rode three Timothy Morovick touchdown passes to a 28-0 halftime lead. Panthers receivers caught everything in sight for most of the afternoon, making Morovick’s job that much easier. Wiktor Zięba had the first two scores for Wrocław, while Jakub Kłoskowski caught the third scoring toss. Adam Skakowski added the first of his two touchdown runs just before the half.

Warsaw came out fighting in the third quarter, and they threatened to make a game of it when Ezekiel Graham caught a short pass from Karol Żak and slalomed 67 yards for a score. Those would be the only points of the quarter, however, and the Panthers asserted themselves once again in the final twelve minutes. Kamil Ruta returned a fumble 50 yards for a score and Bartosz Dziedzic scrambled 62 yards on the game’s final play to make Wrocław’s seventh consecutive win over Warsaw a complete blowout.

Eagles (3-1): vs. Gdynia Seahawks (2-2), May 6
Panthers (4-0): vs. Tychy Falcons (3-1), May 5

Saturday, May 5, 7:00 PM: Wrocław Panthers (4-0) vs. Tychy Falcons (3-1)

Photo credits: Slaweg Foto