Poland’s Topliga Turning Into Two Team Race

Poland’s Topliga has turned into a two-team race as the Gdynia Seahawks and Wroclaw Panthers are beginning to pull away from the rest of the pack.

The Warsaw Eagles, who had been expected to be in contention, certainly suffered from a short week. Although the Eagles disposed of Kozły Poznań on May 3, they crumbled four days later, succumbing to Wroclaw in embarrassing fashion.

Nevertheless, the Eagles are in playoff contention. Husaria helped their own cause with a much-needed win to keep pace with Warsaw in the battle for the final playoff spot. The Białystok Lowlanders were idle but remain in third place at 2-1.

Warsaw Eagles (2-2) 48, Kozły Poznań (0-4) 0 (in Poznań)

Poland - Eagles-Kozly 2016

The Warsaw Eagles dominated a special May 3 holiday game on Tuesday in Poznań, holding the Kozły offense to a mere 8 yards in a 48-0 victory. Warsaw bolted out to a 30-0 lead after just a quarter of play, allowing them to coast to victory with substitutes on the field the rest of the way. Poznań has never beaten Warsaw in 14 meetings to date.

Jakub Kłoskowski scored on two of his three receptions in the game, putting Warsaw ahead 14-0 very early on. Trailing 7-0 after the receiver’s first score, Kozły squandered a golden opportunity to tie the game on a drive that started deep in Eagles territory after a failed onside kick attempt. The possession ended in a missed field goal try and Poznań would be held scoreless the rest of the way.

A terrible sequence for Kozły effectively sealed the game late in the first quarter. It began with a safety that made it 16-0, a mistake that was compounded when Cody Smith ran the ensuing safety kickoff back 80 yards for a score. Charles McCrea followed him in with a punt return touchdown shortly thereafter to make it 30-0. Piotr Pamulak, Karol Żak and Marcin Malesa scored later in the game for the Eagles.

UP NEXT:

Kozły (0-4): vs. Gdynia Seahawks (4-0), May 15
Eagles (2-2): vs. Warsaw Sharks (1-3), May 14

Wrocław Panthers (3-1) 44, Warsaw Eagles (2-2) 2 (in Warsaw)

Poland - Panthers-Eagles 2016.4

The Eagles were right back in action four days after beating Kozły on the May 3 holiday, but this time things did not go as planned as Warsaw fell to the second-place Wrocław Panthers at home by a score of 44-2. Wrocław moved to 3-1 ahead of a May 15 matchup with the Prague Lions that will determine who advances to the IFAF Europe Champions League semifinals.

The Panthers have now beaten the Eagles five consecutive times, including a 47-9 victory in last year’s PLFA playoffs. Saturday’s game looked to be a closer one early, as Wrocław led only 3-0 at the end of the first quarter after squandering a pair of scoring chances. Rickey Stevens and Steven White gave the Panthers a more comfortable halftime lead with rushing touchdowns in the second quarter, and Stevens scored again early in the third to make it 24-0.

Stevens scored again in final quarter to complete a hat trick, while White threw a pair of touchdown passes to go along with his rushing score. The Eagles only avoided the shutout when Konrad Paszkiewicz picked up a blocked extra point in the fourth quarter and ran it all the way back for a two-point touchdown.

UP NEXT:

Eagles (2-2): vs. Warsaw Sharks (1-3), May 14
Panthers (3-1): vs. Kozły Poznań (0-4), May 21

Gdynia Seahawks (4-0) 35, Warsaw Sharks (1-3) 0 (in Warsaw)

Poland - Seahawks-Sharks 2016.2

Photo: Jacek Stańczak

The Gdynia Seahawks won their fourth straight game to open the season and their 7th overall dating back to last season, downing the host Warsaw Sharks 35-0 on Saturday evening. The Sharks fell to 1-3 in their final home game of the regular season, while the Seahawks moved to 4-0 to remain a game ahead of the Wrocław Panthers in the Topliga standings.

Terrence Owens threw three touchdown passes for the Seahawks, starting in the opening frame with a 6-yarder that went to Jakub Mazan. The receiver scored again on a 20-yard strike early in the second quarter, which saw a heavy rain shower pass through. The Sharks had a great chance to score but came away with nothing when a dropped pass in the end zone was followed by an interception.

Joshua Quezada continued his solid season for Gdynia, scoring 60-yard touchdowns on both sides of the halftime break to put the Seahawks firmly in command. Przemysław Portalski finished off the scoring with a 12-yard touchdown reception in the third quarter, and the Gdynia defense held the Sharks the rest of the way to record their first shutout since May 2013.

UP NEXT:
Seahawks (4-0): at Kozły Poznań (0-4), May 15
Sharks (1-3): at Warsaw Eagles (2-2), May 14

Husaria Szczecin 29, Kozły Poznań 6 (in Szczecin)

Poland - Husaria-Kozly 2016

Christian Foster helped Husaria make their final regular season home game a happy occasion, picking off two passes and recovering two onside kicks to lead Szczecin to a 29-6 victory over Kozły Poznań on Sunday. Kozły lost for the second time in five days after being shut out in a holiday game on May 3, meaning the squad has yet to find the winner’s circle in 2016.

Kozły had the better chances early in the game, but Foster kept them out of the end zone when he intercepted a pass that came off of a miscue on a field goal attempt. Husaria finally broke the seal in the second quarter, when Dylan Rauch found Mario Brown for a 19-yard touchdown on a fourth-down play to give Szczecin the lead.

After Foster got the ball back for Husaria on the ensuing kickoff, Paweł Bęgowski scored from 4 yards out to make it 14-0. James Williams then hauled in a 45-yard touchdown pass after a second successful onside kick, and Przemysław Adamus caught a 5-yard touchdown pass from Rauch to make it 29-0 after the third quarter. Patryk Barczak got Kozły’s only points on a 1-yard dive in the final quarter.

UP NEXT:

Husaria (2-3): at Primacol Białystok Lowlanders (2-1), May 14
Kozły (0-4): vs. Gdynia Seahawks (4-0), May 15

TOPLIGA WEEK 6 SCHEDULE:

Saturday, May 14, 12:00 PM: Primacol Białystok Lowlanders (2-1) – Husaria Szczecin (2-3)
Saturday, May 14, 12:30 PM: Warsaw Eagles (2-2) – Warsaw Sharks (1-3)
Sunday, May 15, 1:00 PM: Kozły Poznań (0-4) – Gdynia Seahawks (4-0)

Photo credits: Maciej Sitek, Krywan Photo,  Jacek Stańczak

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