Date: 28 Apr 2012
Home: Poznan Kozly - 21
Away: Silesia Rebels - 14
Race for fourth tightens up as Kozly beat Rebels 21-14 for first victory
Kozly Poznan took the field at home on Saturday afternoon without a victory in nearly eleven months. That win was a 27-0 shutout over the AZS Silesia Rebels, the same team looking across from the opposing sideline in this game. The result was much closer this time, but again it was the team from Poznan that emerged victorious in a 21-14 ballgame. Both teams are now tied with the Dom-Bud Krakow Tigers at 1-4 for fourth place and the final Topliga playoff spot.
If there was ever a day to be the home team it was Saturday, with an early May heat wave bringing relentless sun and temperatures into the high eighties. The new-look Kozly, playing their second game since acquiring three American free agent players, looked sharp early, with Mark Philmore leading an attack that is still finding its legs. Poznan jumped out to a 13-0 lead in the second quarter on the strength of touchdown runs by Tomasz Moruszewicz and Deante Battle.
The Rebels got back into the game just before the half, with Michal Kolek punctuating a long drive with a one-yard score that made the tally 13-7. The visitors then tied the game quickly in the third quarter, after Arkadiusz Kanicki scooped up a fumble and rumbled 26 yards for a touchdown. Zbigniew Szrejber's kick was true, and Silesia had their only lead of the game at 14-13.
That set up a nervous finish between two teams that haven't played many close games this season. The offenses struggled the rest of the way in a game that reverted a field-position battle, before Poznan finally put a drive together midway through the fourth quarter to take the lead on another Battle touchdown run. Silesia was unable to put up a serious threat the rest of the way, and Kozly found themselves in the win column for the first time this season.
The loss was the fourth in a row for the Rebels, who pounded the Tigers in their season opener. They will find it difficult to avoid a fifth consecutive loss in their next game, at home against the Wroclaw Devils on May 12. The Devils shut out the Rebels 59-0 in Wroclaw earlier this season. Kozly, on the other hand, face one of their most important games of the season the next day, when they host the Tigers. If the Rebels fall to the Devils again, then the winner of that game will move into sole possession of the final coveted playoff spot.