Three games dotted the Week 13 PLFA I schedule, leaving each team in the league with either just one or two games left to play in the regular season. In Białystok, the Tytani gave the Lowlanders their toughest test yet but couldn't stop the home team from clinching a division title, while Husaria matched Białystok's 6-0 record with a road win over the Lions. In the third game, the Falcons were victorious over the Owls, who now face the prospect of automatic relegation to PLFA II. Here is a quick recap of each of the three games played over the weekend.
Białystok Lowlanders 40, Lublin Tytani 18 (in Białystok)
The Lowlanders nearly gave up as many points against the Lublin Tytani on Saturday as they had given up in their five previous games this year, but that didn't stop them from running their record to 6-0 and clinching the East Division title win a 40-18 victory in Białystok. Six different players scored touchdowns for Białystok in the win.
The game was not as close as the final result indicated, as the Lowlanders exploded out to a 33-0 lead in the second quarter. Damian Kołpak threw two touchdown passes in the first quarter and then ran for a 10-yard score early in the second to give Białystok a 20-0 advantage. Karol Maksimowicz followed that up with a 40-yard interception return for a score.
Only a Nathan Lee touchdown run late in the second quarter kept the Tytani from being shut out in the first half. Lublin added two more touchdowns in the fourth quarter to make the score respectable. The 18 points scored by the Tytani nearly matched the 21 points given up by the Lowlanders in their first five games.
The Lowlanders will tune up for the playoffs with games at the Płock Mustangs on July 5 and at home against the Krakow Kings on July 19. The Tytani, who dropped to 2-5 in defeat, now risk being demoted to PLFA II next season. They will play their final game of the regular season on July 20, at the Łódzkie Wilki. A win in that game would guarantee them at least a fourth place finish and a chance to stay up by winning the 'barrage' game after the season.
Husaria Szczecin 48, Gliwice Lions 19 (in Gliwice)
Husaria took to the road on Sunday and came home with their fifteenth consecutive victory, a 48-19 drubbing of the Gliwice Lions. Jordan Rooney turned in another dominant performance for Szczecin, recording three rushing touchdowns and throwing for four more. Husaria clinched at least a share of the West Division title with the victory.
Mateusz Dubicki caught a pair of touchdown passes in the first half to offset two scoring runs by Łukasz Ihnatowicz, making Rooney's first two touchdown runs the difference in a first half that ended 27-13 in Szczecin's favor.
Ihnatowicz added a third touchdown run in the fourth quarter to keep the Lions within shouting distance, but Gracjan Wrząchol's 37-yard touchdown reception dashed any hopes of a Gliwice comeback. Rooney added the icing on the cake with a 42-yard run that closed the scoring.
Husaria will have to beat the second-place and third-place teams to complete a second consecutive unbeaten regular season. They will host the 5-2 Tychy Falcons on July 6 to try and get halfway there. The 1-5 Lions, meanwhile, are currently in fourth place in the West. They need just one victory in their last two games to avoid direct relegation to PLFA II. Gliwice will travel to Szczecin to face the Cougars on July 5, before finishing up at home against the last-place Owls.
Tychy Falcons 22, Bielawa Owls 7 (in Tychy)
The Falcons got an important home win over the Owls on Sunday, holding Bielawa to a single score in a 22-7 victory that propelled them to 5-2. Tychy moved a half-game ahead of the 4-2 Szczecin Cougars in the race for the second playoff spot in the PLFA I West Division, while the Owls dropped their seventh consecutive decision.
Mateusz Błażek scored his ninth touchdown of the year to give the Falcons an early advantage and move into a tie for the league lead in touchdown runs. Bielawa went ahead briefly in the second quarter after a Paweł Sołtysiak touchdown run, but the Falcons grabbed the lead back on a 24-yard touchdown pass from Łukasz Pawęzka to Dominik Rodacki. Jakub Gołosz added a short touchdown run in the fourth quarter for Tychy.
The Owls will now need to win their final game of the year, on the road on July 20 against the Gliwice Lions, if they are to have any chance of remaining in PLFA I for the 2015 season. The Owls will need to win that game by at least 10 points and have the Lions lose to the Szczecin Cougars next Saturday to avoid automatic relegation.
The situation for the Falcons is a bit rosier, although their next opponent, Husaria Szczecin, is currently riding a 15-game winning streak. If the Falcons lose to Husaria in Szczecin on July 6, they will need some help from the teams playing the Szczecin Cougars to have a chance of advancing to the postseason.
WEEK 14 SCHEDULE (HOME TEAM FIRST):
Saturday, July 5, 12:00 PM: Szczecin Cougars (4-2) vs. Gliwice Lions (1-5)
Sunday, July 6, 1:00 PM: Husaria Szczecin (6-0) vs. Tychy Falcons (5-2)
Saturday, July 5, 1:00 PM: Płock Mustangs (2-5) vs. Białystok Lowlanders (6-0)
Sunday, July 6, 1:00 PM: Krakow Kings (3-3) vs. Łódzkie Wilki (3-3)