Fourteen teams opened their 2014 PLFA II seasons over the long holiday weekend, in seven games played all around the country. In Radom, the Green Ducks were victorious in their debut game, while the Wrocław Outlaws fell in theirs. Three of the seven games were decided by a touchdown or less, and no team was shut out. Here is a quick recap of each of the seven games played over the weekend.
Radom Green Ducks 27, Warsaw Sharks B 20 (in Radom)
In one of the most exciting games of the long holiday weekend, the Green Ducks brought football back to Radom in victorious fashion, outlasting the Warsaw Sharks B team 27-20 on Thursday. Bartłomiej Sikora scored on both defense and special teams for the Green Ducks, who took a 19-point lead in the third quarter and then had to hold off a furious Warsaw rally.
Radom used two interception returns to jump out to a 13-0 lead in the first quarter, and Damian Cheda hauled in a 70-yard touchdown pass to make it 19-0 early in the second. Tomasz Znidericz threw three touchdown passes for the Sharks, including a pair to Patryk Karolak, but Sikora's punt return score in the third quarter gave the Green Ducks enough cushion to withstand the Warsaw rally.
The Green Ducks, supported by over 900 fans in their home opener, will hit the road for the first time in their next game, against the Warsaw Werewolves on May 31. The Sharks, meanwhile, will play another of Warsaw's teams, the Crusaders, to open their home campaign on May 24.
Warszawa Crusaders 30, Warsaw BEagles 14, (in Warsaw)
A rebuilding BEagles team was no match for the Crusaders in the other Thursday game, as the Wójcik brothers both scored to help the Crusaders to an easy 30-14 victory. With the win, the Crusaders got revenge for last season's 25-14 defeat against their rivals from the capital.
Grzegorz Wójcik put the Crusaders ahead 8-0 with a 13-yard touchdown run in the first quarter, but a long kickoff return immediately set up Mateusz Sitek's tying score. The Crusaders took over after that, with Mateusz Wójcik's 60-yard touchdown run and Mateusz Kowalczyk's interception return for a score giving them a 22-8 lead at halftime. Piotr Pamulak got the BEagles back in it with a third-quarter touchdown, but Adam Płochocki put the game away with a late touchdown run.
The BEagles will now get almost a month off to prepare for their next game, on the road against the Olsztyn Lakers on May 31. That break should benefit a team that featured many played making their debuts after being promoted from the Eagles junior team. The Crusaders will also be on the road for their next game, although they won't have to travel far to face the Warsaw Sharks B team on May 24.
Warsaw Werewolves 28, Olsztyn Lakers 20 (in Olsztyn)
The Werewolves, led by American running back Jason Abney, reversed their fortunes from the last three seasons on Saturday with a 28-20 upset victory over the Lakers in Olsztyn. Abney scored three times for the Werewolves, who matched their win total from each of the past two seasons with this season-opening triumph.
Abney's first two touchdown runs and another by Kamil Bogusławski gave the Werewolves a 22-7 lead midway through the second quarter, but a 25-yard touchdown run by Artur Ostrysz got the Lakers back in the game before halftime. Abney scored again in the third quarter, however, ensuring that a late Olsztyn touchdown would do nothing more than make the final score more respectable.
Each of the two teams will play its next game at home on May 31. On that day, the Lakers will be looking to rebound against the Warsaw BEagles, a team they lost to 43-36 last season, while the Werewolves will be playing their home opener against the Radom Green Ducks, a team that won in its PLFA debut this weekend.
Sopot Seahawks 36, Poznań Patrioci 12 (in Sopot)
The PLFA II version of the merged Sopot Sabercats/Gdynia Seahawks team got off to a winning start on Saturday, overpowering the Patrioci with four first-quarter touchdowns en route to a 36-12 victory. Luke Zetazate threw touchdown passes to four different receivers in that first quarter, on his way to five in all for the game.
Sopot emptied the bench in the second half after blasting out to a 29-6 lead in the first quarter. Bartosz Romanowski scored twice for the Seahawks, although Adrian Abraham provided the biggest play with a 42-yard touchdown reception. Bartłomiej Kimnes, formerly of the Topliga's Kozły Poznań, threw a touchdown pass in his Patrioci debut, and Bartosz Czarczyński had three interceptions, one of which he ran back for Poznań's second touchdown.
To make matters worse for the Patrioci, running back Mateusz Chrzanowski sat out the game with an injury suffered in warmups. Poznań will hope to have him back in the lineup for their next game, at home against the Bydgoszcz Archers on June 19. The Seahawks, meanwhile, will travel to Toruń to face the Angels on May 24, in a game with potential playoff implications.
Toruń Angels 36, Słupsk Griffons 2 (in Słupsk)
One of the favorites in Group A of the PLFA II, the Angels were prevented from recording a shutout in their opener only by a late Griffons return of a blocked extra point attempt. Toruń led 28-0 at halftime and 36-0 after three quarters of play.
Jakub Mazan opened the scoring with a 60-yard touchdown run, and Bartosz Mróz then added the next two touchdowns for the Angels. Maciej Biesiadziński closed out the first-half scoring with an interception return for a touchdown. Mazan got the only offensive points of the second half on a 48-yard touchdown reception.
After an 0-6 campaign last year, the Griffons are still looking for their first win in PLFA II. They will get their next shot at it on the road against the Bydgoszcz Archers on June 1. The Angels, meanwhile, have an important matchup against the Sopot Seahawks on May 24 to look forward to. That game will be the home opener for Toruń.
Opole Wolverines 36, Wrocław Outlaws 23 (in Wrocław)
The Outlaws nearly didn't get a chance to make their debut on Sunday afternoon, but thanks to some borrowed equipment and some last-minute adjustments, their opener with the Wolverines was indeed played in Wrocław. The Outlaws put up a good fight in the first half, but eventually fell 36-23 to the team from Opole.
Mariusz Górecki scored twice in the first half for the hosts, who led 17-8 at the break. They were done in, however, in the second half by Kamil Kowalik, who actually trained with the Outlaws just a few months ago. The quarterback came on after the break and threw three touchdown passes for the Wolverines and ran for another. Adam Popanda was on the receiving end of two of Kowalik's scoring tosses.
After one of the more exciting games of the PLFA II opening weekend, fans can look forward to a rematch between the two teams on August 3. Before then, however, each team will have other opponents to deal with. First up for the Wolverines will be the Wrocław Panthers B team in Opole on May 24, while the Outlaws will face the Dragons in Zielona Góra on that same day.
Zielona Góra Dragons 14, Rybnik Thunders 8 (in Rybnik)
The Dragons, playing in their first game of 11-man football, were able to spring the upset in the lowest scoring game of the PLFA II weekend, taking out the Thunders by a score of 14-8. The Zielona Góra defense stopped Rybnik near the goal line on the final play of the game to preserve the victory.
The two teams traded touchdowns in the first half, but a successful two-point conversion attempt left the Dragons ahead 8-6 at halftime. The Thunders closed that gap with a safety early in the fourth quarter, before Krystian Wójcik's 1-yard touchdown plunge gave Zielona Góra a final lead. Rybnik held the ball deep in Dragons territory with just ten seconds left, and they elected to try to run the ball into the end zone. The rush was stopped, and time expired.
The Thunders will have a long break to regroup before they hit the road for their next game, which will come on June 14 at the Wrocław Panthers B team. Zielona Góra will be in action much sooner, opening their home campaign on May 24 against the Wrocław Outlaws.
PLFA II WEEK 3 SCHEDULE (HOME TEAM FIRST):
No games scheduled
No games scheduled
No games scheduled
Saturday, May 17: AZS Silesia Rebels (1-0) vs. Częstochowa Saints (1-0)
Sunday, May 18: Rzeszów Ravens (0-1) vs. Olkusz Silvers (0-1)
Sunday, May 18: Skoczów Pretorians (0-1) vs. Majster-Pol Sucha Beskidzka Broncos (1-0)