Date: 14 Jul 2013
Home: Wroclaw Giants - 29
Away: Warsaw Eagles - 13
Wroclaw takes third championship
Giants leave Eagles as bridesmaids again, finish off return season with 29-13 title win
The Wroclaw Giants claimed the mantle of Poland's most successful team at the National Stadium in Warsaw on Sunday evening, prevailing 29-13 over the Warsaw Eagles in Trawnik Producent SuperFinal VIII. The 16,500 fans in attendance saw Jamal Schulters take MVP honors by scoring four touchdowns.
The Giants, who won national titles as the Wroclaw Crew in 2007 and again in 2011, became the first team to win three Topliga championships. SuperFinal VIII was, in fact, a pairing of the only two teams in the country to have won multiple titles.
“The Eagles are a very well-trained and well-prepared team,” said Giants head coach Mott Gaymon. “It was a really tough game, but we survived their attack and all of my players did a great job. I know how much it means to them.”
For Schulters, the MVP award was the cap on an incredible season that saw him score a total of 35 touchdowns in 12 games, including 9 in just two postseason contests. His tiptoeing 44-yard touchdown run up the left sideline in the fourth quarter buried the Eagles and left no doubt as to which team was the better one on this day.
Schulters was humble in victory, however, saying “To be honest, the MVP award should go to my offensive line, because without them I wouldn't have gained any yards.” Schulters outgained the entire Eagles team on Sunday, picking up 175 yards on 31 carries to go along with 14 more yards on 2 receptions.
Just as they had done a year earlier, a multitude of fans lined the concourses of the National Stadium up to four hours before kickoff, taking part in a day-long celebration of the American football season in Poland. Those who left the outdoor picnic in time for the coin toss saw former NFLer Richard Szaro perform the ceremony.
They then saw a first half that was eerily like the one played between the two teams earlier in the season, just without the muddiness that characterized that game. Wroclaw led by the exact same halftime score, 9-0, as they had in that encounter, breaking a scoreless deadlock in the second quarter with a sack in the end zone for a safety and a 1-yard touchdown run by Schulters.
Both scoring plays in the second quarter were representative of the flow of the game. Under pressure all evening, Eagles quarterback Shane Gimzo had a rough time of things thanks to 8 sacks by the Wroclaw defense. Gimzo finished the game 9-17 for just 108 yards and a touchdown.
The Eagles were able to move the ball a bit, but the Giants stood tall nearly every time their goal line was threatened. Wroclaw went up 16-0 with an 11-play drive in the third quarter, before the Eagles finally got on the board on a 16-yard touchdown reception by running back Witold Szpotanski. The Giants then quickly went three-and-out, giving Warsaw a chance to get back into the game, but two sacks on the next Eagles drive got the game back under control for Wroclaw.
Giants quarterback Bartosz Dziedzic was relatively efficient in guiding the offense, going 9-12 for 99 yards, albeit with an interception. His long pass to Mark Philmore early in the fourth quarter set Schulters up again, and the Giants led 22-7 early in the fourth quarter. The Eagles would get a consolation touchdown late, after the fourth touchdown run by Schulters.
The Eagles, one of the hottest teams in the Topliga towards the end of the season, ultimately had no answers for a Giants team that led the Topliga in most statistical categories this year. Szpotanski summarized the game best, saying “The Giants showed class, and they were simply better.” He was, however, slightly off—after claiming their third Polish championship, the Giants are now simply the best.