ELF: Wroclaw Panthers keep playoff hopes alive in thrilling victory over Berlin Thunder

The Wroclaw Panthers picked up a much-needed victory in the European League of Football in thrilling fashion as they took down the Berlin Thunder at home by a score of 15-12.

The game got off to a slow start with a scoreless first quarter, and the slow pace continued for most of the second quarter as well.  Berlin finally broke through with a touchdown in the last minute of the first half, when quarterback Slade Jarman found receiver Aaron Jackson for six points.  The extra point, though, was0 score intoed, so the visitors took a 6-0 into halftime.

In the third quarter, Wroclaw found the end zone on a touchdown pass from Matthew Vitale to Maciej Krupa, but a missed extra point kept the game tied at 6-6.  The ensuing Thunder possession ended abruptly when the Panthers defense forced and recovered a Jarman fumble, setting up their offense in the red zone.  Vitale then found Kacper Jaszewski for a touchdown, giving the home team the lead, although the extra point failed once again.  After the teams traded some possessions, Berlin tied the score with another touchdown connection from Jarman to Jackson.  Incredibly, their extra point was no good, meaning that there were no successful extra point attempts after any of the four touchdowns scored in this game.

Berlin QB Slade Jarman getting hauled down by Panthers defendes Photo: Łukasz Skwiot Fotografia Sportowa

The Panthers got possession with just over a minute to go, but Vitale was intercepted by Alex Spillum on the first play of the drive.  With that, the Panthers’ hopes of making the playoffs were suddenly in serious jeopardy.  However, three plays later, Jarman was intercepted by Maciej Jablonski, who returned the ball all the way to the Berlin 6 yard line.

After this shocking sequence, the Panthers ran out most of the clock and set up Jakub Aldas for a chip shot field goal.  Finally, a kick was made in this game, as Aldas converted to give his team the win.

As Wroclaw trailed Berlin by one game in the wild card race heading into the game, they could not afford to lose this one at home.  Neither Wroclaw nor Berlin will play next week, and both teams will enter the final week of the season at 7-4.  The Panthers will likely move to 8-4 with a victory over the lowly Fehervar Enthroners, while the Thunder will have a tougher test as they take on the Hamburg Sea Devils.  The Panthers, Thunder, and Raiders Tirol are the main teams in contention for the final two wild card spots.  With Wroclaw’s victory today, we should have an exciting end to the regular season in store.

A current student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Carter played football in high school and has been a lifelong avid football fan.