Białystok Lowlanders 23, Gdynia Seahawks 13 (in Białystok)
The Białystok Lowlanders finally got over the hump on Sunday, powering their way to a 23-13 victory and their first win ever against one of Poland's perennial powers, the Gdynia Seahawks. The triumph could hardly be called an upset, however, despite Białystok's previous seven defeats in the series. Coming off an impressive showing in a loss to the Wrocław Panthers, the Lowlanders pushed Gdynia around in the trenches, sending the Seahawks to their second loss in three games to start the season.
The first half belonged entirely to the Lowlanders, who built up a 9-0 advantage at the intermission. Tomasz Zubrycki caught a 14-yard touchdown pass from Aaron Knight in the first quarter, and the defense tacked on a safety in the second quarter. The Seahawks threatened to close the gap in the closing minutes of the half, but Tomasz Żukowski intercepted an Alexander McKean pass in the end zone as time expired to snuff out the chance.
McKean finally got Gdynia on the board with a short touchdown run in the third quarter, but Białystok answered quickly to push the lead back to nine points with a 14-yard Mikołaj Pawlaczyk touchdown run. The Lowlanders went up 23-7 in the fourth quarter when Knight found Eryk Mąkowski for a 2-yard touchdown reception, effectively sealing the victory. Knight racked up 130 yards on the ground, a performance that was blemished only by his ejection late in the game.
Lowlanders (1-1): vs. Tychy Falcons (1-1), April 23
Seahawks (1-2): vs. Wrocław Outlaws (0-2), April 22
Wrocław Panthers 57, Wrocław Outlaws 0 (in Wrocław)
The first Wrocław derby of 2017 was a one-sided affair, as the Topliga debutante Outlaws had no answer for Rickey Stevens and the defending Topliga champion Panthers in what turned out to be a 57-0 rout. Stevens scored four times in the first quarter alone, before adding a touchdown reception later in the first half and a fifth scoring run early in the third quarter. The Panthers moved to 3-0 on the season, while the Outlaws dropped to 0-2.
Stevens, who sat out the first two games of the year, returned with a vengeance, recording touchdown runs of 30, 5, 30 and 10 yards in the game's opening frame. That put the Panthers up 29-0, and when Stevens caught a 15-yard touchdown pass from Bartosz Dziedzic in the second quarter the running clock was triggered. Deante Battle's 45-yard interception return for a score made it 43-0 heading into the locker room for halftime.
The Panthers eased off the gas in the second half, but still managed to score twice on a 14-yard Stevens run and a short pick-six by Adam Lary. The Outlaws were completely overmatched by the undefeated European cupholders, who will now take a break from Topliga play to return to continental action against the Swarco Raiders Tirol on April 22. The Outlaws will next travel to Gdynia that same day to face last year's Topliga runner-up, the Seahawks.
Panthers (3-0): at Warsaw Eagles (2-0), April 30
Outlaws (0-2): at Gdynia Seahawks (1-2), April 22
Tychy Falcons 34, Husaria Szczecin 0 (in Tychy)
The Tychy Falcons overcame the absence of their starting quarterback, Shane Truelove, with stout defense and a solid running game to defeat the visiting Husaria Szczecin 34-0 on Saturday. Jacek Wróblewski took over in the second half for Tychy, scoring on both sides of the ball to put the game away and give the Falcons their first-ever Topliga victory.
Grzegorz Dominik gave Tychy all the points they would need with a 10-yard touchdown run in the first quarter. The rest of the first half was played very tightly, with neither side managing to crack the other's defense after that initial score. Wróblewski finally gave the Falcons, who threw only two passes during the entire contest, some breathing room with a 4-yard touchdown run in the third quarter that made it 14-0.
The Falcons busted the game open in the final frame, scoring three times to turn the match into a runaway. Arkadiusz Kanicki hauled in a 13-yard touchdown pass from Mateusz Błazik, Wróblewski picked up a fumble and ran 15 yards with it into the end zone and Błazik scored on a run from 2 yards out to complete the victory.
Falcons (1-1): at Białystok Lowlanders (1-1), April 23
Husaria (0-2): vs. Warsaw Eagles (2-0), April 22
TOPLIGA WEEK 4 SCHEDULE:
Saturday, April 22, 2:00 PM: Gdynia Seahawks (1-2) vs. Wrocław Outlaws (0-2)
Saturday, April 22, 4:30 PM: Husaria Szczecin (0-2) vs. Warsaw Eagles (2-0)
Sunday, April 23, 1:00 PM: Białystok Lowlanders (1-1) vs. Tychy Falcons (1-1)