PLFA : weekly game recaps – part I.



Devils survive Seahawk rally, win 22-18 for 13th straight victory
It might be a bit early to be picking Game of the Year candidates, but Saturday’s matchup between the Wrocław Devils and the Gdynia Seahawks will probably make the running. The Seahawks scored two touchdowns in the fourth quarter to put a scare into the defending champions, but ultimately came up short in a 22-18 defeat in Gdynia.
Going back to the ‘barrage’ game that ended the 2009 season, the Devils have now won 13 straight contests, a PLFA record. This was the closest one of the bunch and not many around the league would have expected as much, bringing up the debate of whether the champions have slipped or whether the Seahawks are that good.

Putting all three of their games together, Gdynia has certainly been the most exciting team in PLFA I this year. This one started off in their favor, when Luke Zetazate hit tight end Damian Bijan for a short touchdown just 25 seconds into the game to give the Seahawks a 6-0 lead. Although they were able to hold the Devils off the scoreboard for the rest of the quarter, things took a big turn for the worse when Mott Gaymon knocked offensive star Sebastian Krzysztofek out of the game with a big, but legal, hit.

It was, in fact, a game that was largely dominated by defense much of the way through. Krzysztof Wis and Karol Mogielnicki both had two interceptions for the Devils; otherwise it might have been a much different result altogether. Still, Wrocław was not able to grab the lead until the second quarter, when a botched punt attempt gave the Devils a short field and Christopher Washington capitalized with a 9-yard touchdown reception. The successful conversion made it 8-6 at the half.

Wrocław looked like they might run away with the game in the third quarter, when Maurice Lovett threw for two more touchdowns in quick succession to make it 22-6 for the visitors. The Seahwaks actually scored through Peter Plesa in between those touchdowns, but the tally was erased by an offensive holding penalty and the drive petered out after that.

Plesa finally got a touchdown that stood in the fourth quarter, hauling in a 10-yarder from Zetazate, who matched Lovett’s three scoring throws for the game. The Seahawks got even closer when Bijan scored his second touchdown late in the contest, but there simply wasn’t enough time left. The Seahawks’ inability to complete their conversion chances cost them in the end.

It seems very likely that these two teams could face each other again in the postseason, which now looks to be a very enticing set of games. While last year’s semifinals seemed like mere formalities before the title game, the Seahawks have shown that the gap between the rest of the league and the Wrocław teams has narrowed.

The  Devils will now have a week off for Easter to recover from this scare, heading back home to take on the Zagłębie Steelers on April 30. The Seahawks, on the other hand, have another potential ‘Game of the Year’ on their hands after the break, hosting the undefeated Warsaw Eagles a day later.

Wroclaw Defense earns Kozły first win of 2011, Poznań beats Bielawa 13-12
Points were at a premium in Bielawa on Sunday afternoon, and that is just the way Kozły Poznań like it. The visitors scored a touchdown with only 1:54 remaining in the game to go ahead, and they were able to hold on from there for their first victory of the season, a 13-12 thriller over the Bielawa Owls.

Both teams come out of the contest at 1-2, and the loss will not sit well with Owls supporters. While it is true that the Owls are in PLFA I for the first time this year, they looked like they had the potential to battle for one of the four playoff spots going into the season. Getting one of those coveted spots will now be a tough mountain to climb.

What the game lacked in fireworks, it made up for in drama. Neither team scored in the opening quarter, with three-and-outs being the order of the day. They traded touchdowns in the second to go into the locker rooms knotted at six, however, with Benjamin Jones scoring first for Bielawa and Karol Siliwoniuk providing the answer for Kozły.

The second half was nearly a carbon copy of the first, with neither team scoring in the third quarter, and each going in once in the fourth. The Owls took the lead on a second touchdown pass by Mateusz Morasz, a 10-yarder to Marcin Kochanowski. They left a bit too much time on the clock however, and Poznań drove back down to score. It was Siliwoniuk again, showing why he is quickly becoming one of the star offensive players in the league.

His second touchdown of the game made it 12-12, as none of the three previous conversion attempts had been successful. This time, however, Szymon Barczak booted it through the uprights to give Poznań the lead, and the final Owls drive came to nothing.

Kozły will look to make it two in a row when they travel to Krakow to take on the Tigers on May 1. Both teams come into that one with identical records. The Owls, meanwhile, will stay at home to face the winless AZS Silesia Miners on the same day.


Tigers too strong for Steelers, win first game of season 30-14

After losing an exciting PLFA II championship game to the Zagłębie Steelers in 2009, the Dom-Bud Krakow Tigers were still looking for revenge after losing the first PLFA I meeting between the two teams last season. They finally got it on Sunday in Będzin, exploding for 24 second-quarter points to get their first win of the season, 30-14 over the home Steelers.

Things started off well for the Steelers, who were honored at the game by the presence of the mayor of Będzin, Łukasz Komoniewski. In fact, he booted the opening kickoff for Zagłębie, and it was downed at the 8-yard line. The Tigers were quickly stopped from there, and the Steelers took over and scored on their opening drive, which culminated in a long touchdown pass to Łukasz Strzelecki. The Steelers led 7-0 after a quarter.

They had the ball deep in their own territory at the beginning of the second, when Michał Krzelowski couldn’t handle a snap that bounced around his own end zone. The Steelers fell on the ball for a Tiger safety, which made it 7-2. Krakow got the lead on the ensuing drive, when Krzysztof Chrzanowski slipped behind the secondary and hauled in a 48-yard bomb from Filip Mościcki. In addition to that long throw, the Krakow quarterback picked apart the Zagłębie defense with short slant passes all afternoon.

Dawid Rechuł ran the ball very powerfully for the Tigers, and he finished off the next Tiger drive with a bruising 9-yard touchdown run in which he ran over two defenders and walked into the end zone. Chrzanowski scored again before the break, and suddenly the Steelers were in a hole from which they would not be able to recover in the second half.
Both teams are now 1-2 for the season, and part of a four-way tie for fifth place in PLFA I. The Tigers’ next game is a home date with one of the other 1-2 teams, Kozły Poznań, in
Krakow on May 1. The Steelers will play a day earlier, travelling to Wrocław to face the defending champion and undefeated Devils.

Alex Zarganis [email protected] PLFA Press Bureau

Photos: Aleksander Rutkowski and Foto Borkowscy