Topliga Week 8 Recaps

Autor: Alex Zarganis Published: 23 May 2017 | Comments: 0

Gdynia Seahawks 56, Tychy Falcons 15 (in Gdynia)

The Gdynia Seahawks finished off their regular season on Saturday with their third consecutive victory, a 56-15 drubbing of the Tychy Falcons in Gdynia. Joseph Bradley threw for four first-half touchdowns, including a 65-yarder to Jakub Mazan just before the intermission that basically put the game away. Mazan caught three of Bradley's touchdown passes, while Jan Domagała and Gaweł Pilachowski each ran for a pair of scores in the win.

Tychy made a game of it in the first quarter, getting a 42-yard touchdown reception from Paweł Tomaszewski, but the Seahawks dominated on both sides of the ball thereafter. Gdynia scored 42 consecutive points after Tomaszewski's score had cut their early lead to 14-8. The Seahawks led 21-8 after a quarter and 35-8 at halftime. Pilachowski opened the second half with a bang by running 61 yards for a score.

Both teams will play next in the Topliga wild-card playoff round. The Seahawks finished tied for second place in the standings with Białystok, but the Lowlanders held the tiebreaker due to their head-to-head victory in April. The Seahawks will face the #6 seed, Husaria Szczecin, a team they beat 31-13 earlier this season. The Falcons, meanwhile, finished as the #5 seed, and they will travel to Warsaw next weekend to face the Eagles. Warsaw won the season opener between the two teams by a score of 42-20.

UP NEXT:
#3 Seahawks (4-2): vs. #6 Husaria Szczecin (1-5), Wild-card playoff round, May 27
#5 Falcons (3-3): at #4 Warsaw Eagles (3-3), Wild-card playoff round, May 28

Husaria Szczecin 13, Wrocław Outlaws 0 (in Wrocław)

In a battle of 0-5 teams looking desperately for a win that would mean a guaranteed place in the Topliga for the 2018 season, visiting Husaria Szczecin did enough to get by the Wrocław Outlaws 13-0 on Saturday. The first meeting ever between the two teams proceeded in predictable fashion given the teams' offensive struggles this year, with the Outlaws having been shut out in four of their first five games coming into the contest.

Wrocław had plenty of chances inside or near the Szczecin red zone, but they were never quite able to convert them into points. Husaria took a 7-0 lead early when Martay Mattox-Hall hit Mateusz Dubicki for a 30-yard touchdown pass, but neither team would score again until Michał Szczurowski's 2-yard rushing touchdown in the fourth quarter gave the visitors some breathing room. Wrocław missed a great opportunity to score just before halftime when Husaria's Marcin Kaim intercepted a pass in the end zone.

The Outlaws will now have to fight to keep their spot in Poland's premier division next season. They will host the PLFA I runner-up on July 1 in the so-called “barrage” play-in game. Husaria advances to the postseason as the lowest-seeded team in the tournament, meaning they will start the playoffs with a trip to Gdynia next weekend to face the #3 seed Seahawks in the wild-card round. Gdynia defeated Szczecin 31-13 in the season opener on April 1.

UP NEXT:
#7 Outlaws (0-6): Regular season complete, will host Topliga/PLFA I barrage game on July 1
#6 Husaria (1-5): at Gdynia Seahawks (4-2), Wild-card playoff round, May 27

Białystok Lowlanders 12, Warsaw Eagles 7 (in Białystok)

The Białystok Lowlanders proved that last year's win over the Warsaw Eagles was no fluke, securing a second-place regular-season finish and a home berth in the Topliga semifinals with a 12-7 triumph over the team from the capital. The Eagles offense, which put up at least 40 points in each of Warsaw's first three games, has sputtered over the second half of the season, managing only 8.7 points per game in three consecutive losses that dropped them to fourth place in the standings.

The Lowlanders missed a field goal on the last play of the first quarter, while the Eagles had a long Ezekiel Graham touchdown run brought back for holding in the second quarter, with the result being a scoreless draw as the teams headed into the locker rooms for halftime. Bartłomiej Trubaj broke the deadlock with a 20-yard touchdown reception in the third quarter, giving Białystok a 6-0 lead. Graham scored on a 20-yard run at the start of the fourth quarter, however, and the extra point put Warsaw in front. Białystok then would get the last laugh, with quarterback Aaron Knight plunging in for a 1-yard score that put the Lowlanders ahead for good.

Warsaw will now have to win a wild-card round game against the #5 seed Tychy Falcons next weekend in order to advance to the Topliga semifinals. Warsaw defeated Tychy 42-20 in March in the only meeting between the two teams. Białystok, meanwhile, already has a ticket punched for the final four, with only their opponent remaining to be determined. The Lowlanders will make the long trip to Wrocław next weekend to face the Panthers, with the winner earning the right to host the lowest remaining seed in the semifinals.

UP NEXT:
#2 Lowlanders (4-2): at #1 Wrocław Panthers (6-0), Playoff seeding determiner, May 27
#4 Eagles (3-3): vs. #5 Tychy Falcons (3-3), Wild-card playoff round, May 28

TOPLIGA WILD-CARD WEEKEND SCHEDULE:

Wild-card games:
Saturday, May 27, Time TBA: #3 Gdynia Seahawks (4-2) vs. #6 Husaria Szczecin (1-5)
Sunday, May 28, Time TBA: #4 Warsaw Eagles (3-3) vs. #5 Tychy Falcons (3-3)

Playoff seeding determiner:
Saturday, May 27, 1:00 PM: #1 Wrocław Panthers (6-0) vs. #2 Białystok Lowlanders (4-2)

Alex Zarganis
a.zarganis@plfa.pl
PLFA Press Bureau