Date: 25 Mar 2012
Home: Silesia Rebels - 40
Away: Krakow Tigers - 6
Rebels dominate Tigers in 40-6 victory to open 2012 Topliga season
Things looked good for the Dom-Bud Krakow Tigers after a quarter of play on Sunday afternoon in Chorzów, where they took on the AZS Silesia Rebels in the Topliga season-opener for both teams. They didn't look quite as good after the final three quarters, however, as the new-look Rebels scored the next 40 points en route to a 40-6 thrashing of the Tigers. James Dobson and Zbigniew Szrejber each scored two touchdowns for the Rebels.
The Rebels, formed from a merger of the Silesia Miners and the Ruda Slaska Warriors, could not have asked for a better debut performance. As the Miners, they lost their first seven games to open the 2011 season, including a narrow loss in a 36-32 shootout against the Tigers. This time they used big plays to reverse that decision, scoring three times from beyond the midfield stripe.
The Tigers started the contest with a big play of their own, a 27-yard touchdown pass from Filip Moscicki to Thad Gaebeline. The Rebels were able to hold Moscicki, coming off his best season yet in 2011, in check the rest of the way, although they didn't put up any points of their own until early in the second quarter. Those first points came on a 9-yard run by Dobson, and Jan Musil's extra point gave Silesia a 7-6 lead that they would take into the locker room at halftime.
The balance swung quickly into Silesia's favor in the third quarter, as the Rebels exploded for 27 points in the frame to put the game away. Dobson had an 87-yard touchdown run, Jan Musil scored on a 58-yard scamper, and Szrejber hauled in a 63-yard pass for a score. Szrejber would add a 25-yarder from Michal Kolek in the fourth quarter.
After one game, the Rebels look much stronger than they did last year thanks to their offseason free-agent signings of Musil and Dobson. In a league where four of the six teams will make the postseason, Silesia looks like a contender, although there is of course plenty of football left to be played.
The Tigers will try to get on the winning track in their next game, their home opener on April 1 against Kozly Poznan. Kozly were shutout in their first game of the year, against the Warsaw Eagles. The Rebels, on the other hand, will get a good idea of where they stand in the league hierarchy, as they will next travel to Wroclaw on March 31 to face the Devils, who will come into that game hungry after being upset by the Gdynia Seahawks on Sunday.