The Białystok Lowlanders got off to a great start in East Division action, not surrendering a single point on defense in a 44-6 thrashing of the Pabianice Wilki while, in the West, both Szczecin teams got victories in low-scoring games, with the Cougars defeating the Tychy Falcons 18-7 and Husaria barely scraping by the Bielawa Owls 17-16. Here is a recap of each of the three games played this weekend.
Szczecin Cougars 18, Tychy Falcons 7 (in Tychy)
Making the jump from PLFA II to PLFA I this season, the Szczecin Cougars came into Sunday's road game against the Tychy Falcons as the underdogs. They left the game, however, with an 18-7 victory that left the two Szczecin teams as the only remaining unbeaten teams in a West Division race that looks to be wide open this season.
The Falcons were actually the first team to score, going up 7-0 on a first-quarter touchdown run by Mateusz Błazik. The Cougars got a quick reply, however, when Jakub Piekarski caught an Adrian Rogaczewski pass near midfield and went all the way for a 63-yard touchdown. The conversion attempt was unsuccessful, leaving Szczecin a point behind.
The second quarter would pass without any points being scored, although that was mainly due to a Cougars defense that stopped the Falcons on three trips into the red zone. Rain in the second half did nothing to halt the Szczecin offense, which struck twice in the third quarter. Andrzej Łukasik threw a 65-yard touchdown pass to Rogaczewski to put the Cougars ahead, and then Łukasik ran for a score to put a seal on the victory.
The Cougars will next play in their home opener against the Bielawa Owls on May 4. The Owls were beaten decisively by the Falcons earlier in the season, something that bodes well for Szczecin's chances of making it two straight wins to open their campaign. Tychy will look to bounce back from their loss to the Cougars on April 26, when they visit the Gliwice Lions.
Husaria Szczecin 17, Bielawa Owls 16 (in Bielawa)
In a game full of big defensive plays, visiting Husaria Szczecin were able to hang on to keep their long winning streak intact by beating the Bielawa Owls 17-16. Including playoff games, Husaria have now won 11 straight contests, while the Owls have fallen to defeat in 8 consecutive games. Additionally, Szczecin has defeated Bielawa in all three games played between the two teams.
Possibly the youngest team in the three 11-man PLFA divisions, the Owls held their composure throughout the game. Bielawa led for most of the first half, taking an 8-0 lead early in the game with a safety and a short Bartosz Nowak interception return for a touchdown. Szczecin would counter with a field goal and a defensive score of their own to take a 10-8 lead at halftime. Husaria went ahead when Paweł Miziński knocked the ball out on a sack, picked it up and ran 78 yards for a score.
Szczecin finally got the first offensive touchdown of the day in the third quarter, when Jakub Dobrowolski hauled in a 35-yard pass from Piotr Kaczmarczyk. The extra point made it 17-8, giving Husaria an all-important two-score lead. They would need every bit of it, as the Owls got a late touchdown run from Konrad Darmochwała, but their final possession would end without any points to give Husaria the victory.
Husaria will now get a much-needed rest before they look to continue their long winning streak in one of the toughest tests on their regular-season schedule, a road tilt against the Falcons in Tychy on May 11. The Owls will also be on the road for their next game, which comes against the Cougars on May 4 in Szczecin.
Białystok Lowlanders 44, Pabianice Wilki 6 (in Łódź)
Playing their 50th PLFA game, the Białystok Lowlanders made their 2014 debut a winning one in good style, overwhelming the Pabianice Wilki 44-6 in Łódź. Michael Campana and Damian Kołpak each had two touchdowns for the Lowlanders, while quarterback Robert Borcky threw for a pair and ran for another in the win.
The Lowlanders, a defensive team in a familiar spot as one of the preseason favorites to win the PLFA I crown, held the Wilki off the scoreboard for the entire first half. Campana, Borcky and Kołpak all scored for Białystok before the intermission, giving the visitors a comfortable 20-0 lead. Kołpak, the starting quarterback for Białystok in previous years, got the nod at running back for this contest.
The Wilki struck first in the second half, getting their only points on defense when Maciej Karaś recovered a Campana fumble and ran 60 yards with it for a touchdown. Campana then atoned for that mistake with a short touchdown run that made it 26-6, and the Lowlanders coasted the rest of the way.
The game was the season-opener for both teams, who will each face the 2-0 Płock Mustangs in their next matchup. The Wilki will go first, traveling to Płock for their first road game of the year on April 27, while the Lowlanders will need to wait all the way until May 10 to open their home season against the Mustangs.
PLFA I WEEK 4 SCHEDULE (HOME TEAM FIRST):
Saturday, April 26: Gliwice Lions (0-1) vs. Tychy Falcons (1-1)
Saturday, April 26: Krakow Kings (0-1) vs. Lublin Tytani (0-1)
Sunday, April 27: Płock Mustangs (2-0) vs. Pabianice Wilki (0-1)