The Wrocław Panthers booked their ticket to SuperFinal XI on Saturday, defeating the Warsaw Eagles in the Topliga semifinals for the second straight year, this time by a score of 28-17. It was the third straight time the Eagles were on the road for the penultimate round, and the third straight time they came up a win short of the title game. The Panthers will face the Gdynia Seahawks in the championship in Białystok on July 16.
The Eagles, who lost to the Panthers 47-9 in last year's semis and 44-2 during the 2016 regular season, bounced out to a 10-0 lead on a Karol Żak touchdown run and a Piotr Pamulak field goal. The Panthers would come back to take the lead before halftime, however, getting a short Rickey Stevens touchdown run and a 42-yard touchdown reception from Tomasz Dziedzic to gain a 14-10 advantage. Dziedzic's score came on fourth down, and it was the turning point of the game.
Wrocław went up 21-10 on a Steven White touchdown run on the first possession of the second half, before a thunderstorm delayed play for nearly an hour. The Panthers' momentum carried through the break, and Stevens extended the advantage to 18 points with a 17-yard touchdown run later in the third quarter. Żak found Charles McCrea for an 18-yard touchdown pass in the fourth quarter, but the mountain had grown too large for Warsaw to climb by that point.
The Panthers will return to the championship game for the third consecutive season. SuperFinal XI will be a rematch of last year's final, which was won by the Seahawks 28-21. Gdynia also won the championship by defeating the Panthers in 2014. The two teams split their meetings in 2016, with Wrocław's 27-12 victory on June 12 giving them the top seed for the postseason.
Panthers (8-1): vs. Gdynia Seahawks, SuperFinal XI, July 16 in Białystok
Eagles (5-4): Season complete