PLFA II Week 13 Roundup: All playoff slots sewn up with one week to go
Week 13 of the PLFA II regular season saw the remainder of the eight playoff invitations get their stamps, with the Królewscy, Saints and Seahawks B team all locked in as division winners. The other five spots belong to the the Sabercats, who knocked the Angels out of the race in Toruń on Saturday, the Wilki, who did the same to the BEagles on Sunday, the Devils B team, the Pretorians and the Cougars. The quarterfinal pairings will be decided during Week 14. Here is a recap of each of the six games played during the season's penultimate weekend.
Sopot Sabercats 20, Toruń Angels 15 (in Toruń)
The Sabercats knocked the Angels out of the playoffs in a close-fought game in Toruń on Saturday, surviving a scare in the fourth quarter to outlast the hosts 20-15. The Sabercats won their fifth straight game to finish the year at 5-1, good enough for second place in the PLFA II North Division. The Gdynia Seahawks B team, who also finished at 5-1, took the division title thanks to their victory over Sopot in the season opener.
Toruń led after a quarter of play thanks to a 5-yard Łukasz Kuśmirek touchdown run, but the Sabercats bounced back to lead 13-6 at halftime. Luke Zetazate lobbed a perfect pass to Maciej Brandt at the left pylon on fourth-and-goal from the 5-yard line with no time remaining in the second quarter to give Sopot their halftime cushion.
The Angels had a chance to tie in the third quarter, but they twice had touchdowns called back due to holding penalties before being stopped at the 1-yard line on fourth down. Sopot responded with a 99-yard drive that ended with another 5-yard touchdown pass, this one going to Przemysław Portalski. That ended the scoring for the Sabercats, who matched their lowest offensive point total of the season.
Sopot looked to have the game under control in the fourth quarter, but they had problems trying to run out the clock once they got out of their base offense. The Angels scored on a safety to make it 20-8 and ran the kickoff back to the Sopot 22-yard line, but an interception on the first play thereafter seemed to have ended their chances once again.
The Sabercats went back to the normal offense and began moving down the field, but Toruń got yet another ray of hope when Jakub Mazan recovered a fumble and ran it back 90 yards for a score. However, Toruń kicked off deep with less than 4 minutes to go, and they never saw the football on offense again.
The Angels finished the year at 4-2, which was good enough for other teams to make the playoffs but which left them on the outside looking in due to tiebreakers. Sopot finished the regular season at 5-1, but they will be on the road to open the playoffs, with their opponent yet to be determined.
Pabianice Wilki 34, Warsaw BEagles 15 (in Pabianice)
The Wilki completed their first regular season playing 11-man football with an impressive 34-15 home victory over the Warsaw BEagles on Sunday, securing a spot in the postseason and knocking the visitors out of the playoff picture in the process. Pabianice will need to wait until next weekend to learn who their opponents will be in the wild-card round.
The BEagles led 15-14 at halftime, after the teams traded touchdowns in each of the first two quarters. Piotr Pamulak opened the scoring with a 5-yard touchdown reception, only to see the Wilki fight back to take a 14-7 lead on touchdowns by Wojciech Krawczyk and Patryk Mleczek. That lead was short-lived, however, as Pamulak returned the kickoff following Mleczek's run 80 yards for a score.
The Wilki owned the second half of the contest, claiming all 20 of the points that were scored after the break. Mleczek gave Pabianice the lead for good with an 11-yard touchdown run in the third quarter, and Mikołaj Pawlaczyk and Kamil Kaczmarek added fourth-quarter touchdowns to erase any doubt about the outcome.
The BEagles still have a game remaining to finish out the season, and it will be a special Friday night matchup against the Spartans B team on August 30. The first playoff opponent for the Wilki will be either the Sopot Sabercats or the Skoczów Pretorians, depending upon the outcome of games played a day later.
Warszawa Królewscy 48, Olsztyn Lakers 22 (in Olsztyn)
The Królewscy finally surrendered a touchdown but still rolled to a 48-22 victory over the host Lakers in Olsztyn on Saturday, completing an unbeaten regular season that saw them outscore their opponents 244-25. Warszawa will head into the postseason as one of two unbeaten teams in PLFA II, and they will probably be favored over the Częstochowa Saints to take the title.
The Lakers took an early lead when huge fullback Przemysław Bekier scored on a 3-yard touchdown run in the first quarter, and he scored again to cut a 12-point lead for the Królewscy to just 4 shortly before halftime. Warszawa had surrendered just 3 points in 5 games before Bekier's pair of scores in the first half.
Karol Żak threw three touchdown passes for Warszawa, who led only 27-22 midway through the third quarter after Bekier scored for a third time. The Królewscy finally put the game away early in the fourth, when Bartosz Żebrowski picked up a fumble deep in the Olsztyn end and took it a few more steps into the end zone. The Lakers, who were still hopeful of making the playoffs before the game, finished the season with a record of 3-3.
Gdynia Seahawks B 40, Bydgoszcz Archers 6 (in Gdynia)
Aleksander Kordyś threw for four touchdowns and ran for another in a game that was tougher than the final score line indicates, as the Gdynia Seahawks B team wrapped up the PLFA II North Division title with a 40-6 win over the visiting Bydgoszcz Archers on Sunday afternoon.
Gdynia jumped out to a 20-0 lead in the first quarter, marching quickly down the field on three consecutive drives before the Archers defense began to stand its ground. The Seahawks led 28-0 before Bydgoszcz got on the board, the only Archers score coming when Kordyś fumbled the ball during a sack and Jakub Mroczyński plucked it out of the air and ran 35 yards for six points.
Michał Uzdrowski was the only player with multiple touchdowns for the Seahawks, who will host a playoff game on September 21. The opponent for that game remains unknown, pending the outcome of Week 14 games. The Archers finished the season with a record of 2-4, their only two wins coming at the expense of teams below them in the standings.
Szczecin Cougars 42, Słupsk Griffons 0 (in Szczecin)
The Cougars took care of business against the winless Słupsk Griffons on Saturday in Szczecin, shutting out the visitors and getting some help in other places to earn a spot in the quarterfinals of the PLFA II playoff tournament. Five different players scored for the Cougars, who recorded their second shutout of the season.
The first four Szczecin touchdowns all went for 20 yards or more, including an 85-yard run by Marcin Łodygowski in the third quarter. Adrian Rogaczewski scored on a 30-yard run in the second quarter and successfully booted all six extra points, while Paweł Borkowski added two short touchdown runs in the fourth quarter.
The Griffons, who went without a victory in their return to 11-man football in 2013, were shut out for the third consecutive game and for the fourth time overall this season. Szczecin finished at 4-2, tied for third place in the North Division. They made the playoffs by virtue of having given up fewer points than the Toruń Angels, who also finished at 4-2.
Wrocław Devils B 54, Sucha Beskidzka Broncos 0 (in Wrocław)
Leading the Wrocław spread offense, Krzysztof Wydrowski threw for five touchdown passes as the Devils B team routed the Sucha Beskidzka Broncos 54-0 on Sunday in Wrocław. With the win, the Devils locked up third place in the PLFA II South Division, a spot that turned out to be just good enough to get into the postseason.
Of the three meetings between the two teams, all of which have gone Wrocław's way, the third was by far the most lopsided. The Devils led 32-0 by halftime, having recorded touchdown receptions from four different receivers as well as two safeties by the defense. Adam Góralski nabbed a 45-yard touchdown pass in the fourth quarter to go along with a 47-yarder earlier in the game, and Ernest Rogowicz matched him with two scores.
Wrocław will face a familiar foe in the quarterfinals, the Częstochowa Saints. The two squads hooked up in a thriller earlier this season in South Division play, with the still-undefeated Saints prevailing 23-20. Meanwhile, the Broncos finished the season in sixth place in the South, with their 1-5 record putting them ahead of only the Olkusz Silvers.
PLFA II WEEK 14 SCHEDULE (HOME TEAM FIRST):
No games scheduled (regular season complete)
Friday, August 30, 8:00 PM: Warsaw Spartans B (1-4) vs. Warsaw BEagles (3-2)
Saturday, August 31, 2:00 PM: Warsaw Werewolves (0-5) vs. Warsaw Crusaders (1-4)
Saturday, August 31, 12:00 PM: Rybnik Thunders (2-3) vs. Skoczów Pretorians (4-1)
Saturday, August 31, 4:00 PM: Częstochowa Saints (5-0) vs. Olkusz Silvers (0-5)