Polish Football League: The Wild Card Round

The Polish Football League wound up the 2021 regular season with six of the seven teams in the league advancing to the post season with the first stop being the PFL Wild Card Round.

This weekend, the Tychy Falcons, Krakow Kings, Warsaw Mets and Silesia Rebels will go at it and the two winners will advance onto the semifinals where they will face either the Białystok Lowlanders or Bydgoszcz Archers – who will have just come off a bye-week.

As week one loomed after a year long hiatus, the league looked wide open, but there were still obvious favorites; Tychy and the Lowlanders were expected to do well after success in 2020 and the exit of Wroclaw Panthers to the ELF; there was also significant buzz surrounding the Mets after the signing of former Texas Longhorn star David Ash. Whatever your expectations of this season were, they were sure to have been dashed by the end of it.

Tychy Falcons QB/DB LaParish Lewis #6 Photo: He-She Photography

Tychy started the season strong, with a dual threat QB in St Ge. at the helm and a strong polish contingent the team looked unbeatable as they discarded the Warsaw Eagles and Krakow Kings. But disaster struck in the third game against the Rebels as they lost their starting QB to a knee injury.They would go on to win with DB LaParish Lewis filling in, but it was far from pretty. The team has been trying to claw back dominance ever since. Even when new QB Gabriel Losada arrived he was unable to put arguably one of the weakest teams in the league away convincingly. Losada then went down himself in the penultimate game against the Archers with a wrist injury. The Falcons would not only lose that game but also the final game against the Lowlanders in contests that were not close. Losada’s injury status remains unknown, but if the team hopes to come out of the wild-card round they need to not only get their swagger back but also a starting QB.

The team Tychy will be up against is the Krakow Kings. Krakow have been edged out of a winning record this season in a number of games that came down to the wire. Most notably was the contest against the red-hot Lowlanders that ended in a one-score game. They have handled teams like the Warsaw Eagles with relative ease to show not only consistency but a killer instinct. The team relies heavily on RB Alonzo Brock to carry the load on offense as the 230 pounder opens up room for Polish QB Filip Moscicki to make the throws he needs to make. The Kings have very little to lose and they will be confident in that, don’t be surprised if they cause an upset in the Polish wildcard weekend.

Krakow Kings RB Alonzo Brock #15 Photo: Michal Lapczynski

The Sunday wild-card matchup will see the appearance of the Warsaw Mets. Football in Warsaw has been political to say the least; the formation, dissolution and then amalgamation of various football communities in the nation’s capital has led to a plethora of teams over the years. One of those teams has been the Mets. After their formation in only 2018 the team made strides in the PFL and will now make their second playoff appearance this weekend, but perhaps not the way they would have wanted. The Mets have a record of 2 – 4, better only than the 0 – 6 Warsaw Eagles, but thanks to seven of the eight teams making it to the playoffs the Mets have secured themselves a wildcard spot.

Warsaw Mets QB David Ash #4 Photo: Warsaw Mets

The Mets have been plagued this season with close defeats with three of their losses being one score games. Texas Longhorn former QB David Ash brought lofty hopes as the season began but teams quickly realized that no matter how good Ash may be he will only ever be as good as his receivers. As the season progressed though, Ash and head coach Jake Hale found ways to better utilize Ash with the team now looking like a genuine contender in the wildcard round. Linebacker Zachary Blair has been an integral part of their success as the neck-role wearing tackling machine causes plenty of turnovers. But Blair may need to play an even bigger role this weekend as the team has been unable to hold any team under 20 points – bar the Warsaw Eagles.

Silesia Rebels Katowice Jon Mullin scrambling Photo: Jean Francois-Nicollet

The Mets will be playing their wildcard matchup on Sunday against the Silesia Rebels Katowice. The Rebels, like most PFL teams, have had an up and down season. Even though they started the season with a loss, playmaker Devion Young proved to be electric, making them one of the more dangerous teams in the league. They have since tapered down significantly but remain a force to be reckoned with as QB Jon Mullin has tenaciously led the team down the field time and time again putting up the highest single game score in the league this season (46 – 14 against the Eagles). The first time these two teams met, the Rebels came out on top 22 – 20, but it is unlikely to be the same result this time round as both teams have progressed into a different style of play.

Whatever the outcome after this weekend expect sparks to fly and two teams to go home disheveled as their Polish Bowl aspirations are left dashed on the field.

Make sure to watch both wildcard games this coming weekend on AFI.tv.

Daniel Mackenzie is a Press Association graduate who works in journalism and communications in the third sector. Daniel began playing football for the London Warriors and Team Great Britain and has since played across Europe.