Tychy Falcons flex their muscles, shut out Bydgoszcz Archers to capture 3rd place

The Tychy Falcons made a point Sunday in a crucial game to determine positioning in the Polish Liga Futbolu Amerykańskiego upcoming playoffs, blanking the Bydgoszcz Archers 30-0.

With the decisive win, the 3-2 Falcons finish third in the standings after the five game regular season and will now face the 4-1 Bialystok Lowlanders in the semifinal round in two weeks time. The Archers now have the dubious pleasure of taking on the unbeaten Wroclaw Panthers after the loss dropped them to fourth with a 2-3 record.

An unfortunate knee injury to Archers running back Meril Zero in the first quarter, taking him out of the game, did hurt the Bydgoszcz offense. Zero collided with a padded lamp post as he was running out of bounds on the Falcons eight yard line and did not return. He had gained 48 yards rushing at that point in the contest.

Still, Tychy impressed. Behind the solid play of quarterback Niklas Gorny and running back Jan Szwej, and touchdowns by receivers Bartosz Woch and Mateusz Patalas, the Falcons simply wore down the Archers.

Gormy threw for 111 yards with Szwej his main receiver with nine receptions for 39 yards. Running back Adrian Binek carried the ball six times for 43 yards while Woch had 19 yards rushing to go along with 51 yards receiving. Szwej added a 40 yard touchdown reception while defensive back Dawid Hyjek scored on a 57 yard pick six while Kryzysztof Richter kicked a 30 yard field goal.

For the Archers, Zero had 48 yards rushing while Jakub Kubacki, who also played quarterback in the second half, had six carries for 18 yards while throwing for 72 yards.  Playing with a nagging injury, starting quarterback Dustin Hawke Willingham had a tough game throwing for just 52 yards.

Tychy Falcons QB Niklas Gormy #17 tossing to his running back Photo: Jean-Francois Nicollet

A Zero fumble on the second play of the game gave Tychy the ball on the Archers 27 yard line. Seven plays later, Richter kicked a 24 yard field goal to give the Falcons an early 3-0 lead.

With Zero pounding the ball, Bydgoszcz mounted a 10 play 67 yard drive down to the Falcons six yard line. Zero carried the ball seven times on that march, for 38 yards before running into the lamp post. A bad snap on the ensuing field goal attempt turned the ball back to the Falcons, This was the closest the Archers would come to the end zone until the final drive of the game.

With the Archers offense now sputtering, Tychy kept marching. Two possessions later, Gorny hit Patalas for the first touchdown, finding him in the corner of the end zone for a 24 yard score, upping the tally to 9-0 early in the second quarter.

That seemed to trigger a period in which neither team could move the ball and which was marked by sloppy play and turnovers. Late in the first half Gormy tossed an interception deep in Archers territory and it looked as if Willingham could ignite new life into his offense. But an errant deep pass on the final play of the first half was picked off by Hyjek who raced down the sideline 57 yards to extend the lead to 16-0.

The Archers defense kept Tychy bottled up to start the third quarter but the offense, now with Kubacki in at quarterback, still could not move the ball. After a 36 yard punt gave Tychy the ball close to midfield, Gorny found Szwej from 40 yards out and with a successful two point conversion, the Falcons took a 23-0 lead.

Tychy Falcons defense bottling up Archers RB Photo: Jean-Francois Nicollet

With time running out for the Archers, Kubacki marched the team down to the Tychy 40 yard line but an untimely fumble by Zhenya Efmenkau gave the Falcons the ball almost at midfield. With Archers import linebacker Kadel King now also out of the game with a leg injury, Gorny wisely kept the ball on the ground with Binek and Woch pounding the middle of the line. He finally tossed a 13 yard touchdown pass to Woch to start the fourth quarter and with another successful PAT, Tychy took a commanding 30-0 lead.

The decision was made to play a shortened fourth quarter and with that Kubacki and the Bydgoszcz offense began moving the ball, and helped by a 33 yard completion to Milosz Giralski reached the Falcons four yard line. That was as far as they would reach though and the Falcons took over and ran the clock out.

The Falcons now have two weeks to prepare for a semifinal date with the Bialystok Lowlanders while the Archers are hoping the injuries to Zero and Kadel King will heal in time for their matchup against the Wroclaw Panthers.

American Football International is your source for news and updates about American Football outside the United States!