PREVIEW: Poland’s SuperFinal IX – Gdynia Seahawks v. Wroclaw Panthers

Poland top teams meet in SuperFinal IX, set to be a thriller!

The Wroclaw Panthers and Gdynia Seahawks opened their seasons in Gdynia, Poland so it is only fitting that they close it there too, this time in the Polish Super Final IX, this Saturday August 2nd. They have consistently been the two best teams in the country this year. The Panthers were formerly the Giants and are the defending champions, while the Seahawks won the title two years ago. The game will be shown live in Poland. Click here for the link.

SuperFInal IX Preview Trailer

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The Matchup

Each team entered the playoffs with identical 8-2 records. Both have potent offenses as the Panthers averaged 40 points per game while the Seahawks were right behind with 37.1 points a game. Defensively, the Panthers have been the stingiest team in Poland allowing a mere 7.9 points per game and blanking opponents four times. The Seahawks, on the other hand, gave up 21 points per game. Head to head the teams were virtually equal. Gdynia took the first game 30-22 while Wroclaw avenged that loss beating the Seahawks 23-14 late in the season.

Seahawks v. Panthers

The Panthers defense is formidable with anchors defensive linemen Bartosz Swiatek and  Szymon Adamczyk along with hard-hitting linebacker Kamil Rut who makes plays all over the field,  making Wroclaw very difficult to run against. Their secondary is led by Meechie Eaton and Deante Battle along with Karol Mogielnicki. Adamczyk leads a huge but very mobile defensive line. Wroclaw’s defense has a reputation of being tenacious and loud, and can take unnecessary penalties which is possibly their biggest weakness on defense.

Offensively the Panthers will rely on last year’s SuperFinal MVP running back Jamal Schulters. Running behind the Panther ‘s huge offensive line, he makes life almost impossible for opposing defenses. With his speed he is equally dangerous out of the backfield or behind bubble screens. The Panthers weapons go far beyond just Schulters, as quarterback Bartek Dziedzic has developed into a fine game manager with an accurate arm. His targets are all dangerous and fast including his brother Tom Dziedzic, as well as speedy receiver Gregory Mazur, who also returns kicks, Ozana Ozcan and David Tarczyński. The wild card may be Paul “Nasty” Swiatek, a tough-as-nails fullback who is equally good at blocking as gaining yards in short yardage situations.

The key to the Seahawks offense is quarterback Lance Kriesen (6’3″, 250 lb) from Northern Arizona, who is truly a dual threat. With his size he can take off with the ball and break tackles. His arm keeps defenses off balance and he has a talented group of receivers to throw to such as Sebastian Krzysztofek, David Kryszałowicz and Paul Fabich. All three are big, 6’4″, 225 lbs, and have very good hands. They will give the Panthers defensive backs problems. Add Marcin Bluma to the mix as well.They were second only to the Panthers in offense this season. Finally, running back Tunde Ogun is a solid 225 lb threat and at 28 has plenty of experience.

Seahawks v. Panthers 2

On defense, the Seahawks can fade some. Nevertheless, defensive backs Charles McCrea, who is very versatile, and Peter Pleso are solid and can match up against the Panthers’ big receivers. The addition of import linebacker Paul Wright has helped the rush defense over the past two months. The middle of the defensive line is big but not very mobile. But running a 4-2, with Wright and big Michal Garbowski (6’3″, 260 lb) at the inside linebacker spots, McCrea can move around giving the quarterback fits looking for him.

Most experts give the edge to the Panthers with the better defense. But Gdynia’s defense has had time to heal after being banged up for most of the latter part of the season. And the game is being played in Gdynia making it a home game for the Seahawks. This could be a terrific football game.

Roger Kelly is an editor and a writer for AFI. A former PR Director the B.C. Lions of the Canadian Football League for 7 years, he now lives in Sweden writing about and scouting American Football throughout the world.