The race for second place in the PLFA I North Division tightened up considerably during Week 6, as the Wilki came back from a double-digit deficit in the second half to beat the Crusaders and the first-place Seahawks took care of business against the Cougars. There were no upsets in the South, as the Kings and Rebels scored victories over the Saints and Tytani, respectively. Here is a brief recap of each of the four games played over the weekend.
AZS Silesia Rebels 27, Lublin Tytani 19 (in Będzin)
In a game that was moved from Katowice to Będzin at the last minute, the Rebels broke a two-game losing skid with a 27-19 victory over the Tytani on Saturday. In a rare treat for Śląsk football fanatics, the game was played as the second half of a doubleheader after the Zagłębie Steelers Interpromex Topliga game earlier in the day.
The majority of the scoring in this one came in the second quarter, which featured kickoff returns for touchdowns by both teams. Beniamin Bołdys scored a touchdown and kicked two field goals for the Rebels, who led 21-13 at halftime. Bartłomiej Trubaj, who had the kickoff return score for the Tytani, ran a punt back all the way in the third quarter to cut the lead to two, but Bołdys scored again in the fourth quarter to make the ending a bit more comfortable for Silesia.
The Rebels are now tied for second near the top of a crowded PLFA I South Division leaderboard. Their next two games will be on the road, beginning with a visit to the first-place Krakow Kings on May 31. Lublin, now 1-4 on the season and languishing in the South cellar, will also be back in action that day, hosting the Częstochowa Saints.
Łódzkie Wilki 26, Warszawa Crusaders 17 (in Warsaw)
Second-year running back Rafał Zapart broke onto the scene in a big way on Saturday in Warsaw, helping the Wilki erase a 10-point halftime deficit with four second-half touchdowns in a 26-17 win over the Crusaders. Zapart was filling in for Łódź's star running back, Borys Bednarek, who had been injured earlier in the contest.
Zapart started his tear with a 70-yard touchdown run in the third quarter, and he then gave Łódź a 13-10 lead shortly thereafter with a 5-yard run. Warszawa went back ahead, however, when Sascha Gaveau then hit Frederik Hermann in the end zone for the second time in the game. The Wilki defense, led by safety Filip Pira and his two interceptions, finished strong, holding the Crusaders off the board the rest of the way.
The Crusaders and Wilki are now tied for second place in the North Division, halfway through the 2015 campaign. Warszawa holds the tiebreaker, thanks to their 30-8 victory over Łódź back in April. The Toruń Angels will be the next opponent for each of the squads, with the Wilki visiting Toruń on May 24 and the Crusaders welcoming the Angels to town on May 30.
Sopot Seahawks 56, Szczecin Cougars 21 (in Gdańsk)
The Sopot Seahawks played their closest game of the 2015 season yet on Saturday, and they still won by 35 points in beating the Szczecin Cougars 56-21 in Gdańsk. The Seahawks are the only PLFA I team remaining without a loss, and they continue to be the favorites to hoist the championship trophy at the end of this year.
Six different players scored in the first half for the Seahawks, who led 42-14 at the break. Luke Zetazate threw touchdown passes to four different receivers, including a 69-yarder that went to Przemysław Portalski. Gabriel Chambers added a 58-yard touchdown reception, as well as a punt return for a score. The margin of defeat for the Cougars could have been even greater, if not for a pair of Kamil Wieczorek interceptions.
The Seahawks and Cougars will meet again in just a week's time, squaring off in Szczecin on May 23. The Cougars are currently tied with the Toruń Angels for last place in the North Division. They will make a trip to Toruń to face those Angels on June 4.
Krakow Kings 13, Częstochowa Saints 0 (in Krakow)
The first meeting ever between the Kings and the Saints was a defensive affair, which the Kings took by a score of 13-0 on Sunday in Krakow. Częstochowa never managed to get into the Krakow red zone, as the Kings defense completely shut down Jacek Wróblewski and the rest of the Saints attack.
A blocked field by the Saints at the end of the first half meant that the teams went into the break scoreless. The turning point in the game came at the beginning of the third quarter, when the Saints mishandled the kickoff and gave the ball to the Kings at the 6-yard line. Filip Mościcki ran it into the end zone on fourth down for the game's first points, and Michał Dybowicz added an insurance touchdown later in the quarter.
The Saints are now 1-3, good enough for fourth place in the PLFA I South Division. They will next host one of the division's top teams, the Tychy Falcons, on May 23. The Kings will have a bye during that weekend, before returning to the field on May 31, when they will host the AZS Silesia Rebels. The Kings and Saints will meet again on June 21.
WEEK 7 SCHEDULE:
Saturday, May 23, 12:00 PM: Szczecin Cougars (1-3) vs. Sopot Seahawks (4-0)
Sunday, May 24, 3:00 PM: Toruń Angels (1-3) vs. Łódzkie Wilki (2-2)
Saturday, May 23, 2:00 PM: Częstochowa Saints (1-3) vs. Tychy Falcons (3-2)