Date: 03 Jun 2012
Home: Warsaw Eagles - 48
Away: Wroclaw Devils - 27
Warsaw finally gets revenge against Devils with 48-27 victory, still alive for top spot
The Warsaw Eagles played a statement game at home on Sunday afternoon, getting touchdowns from six different players in a comprehensive 48-27 victory over the Wroclaw Devils. The Eagles basically led throughout the entire game, moving the ball effectively through both the running and passing games and holding Wroclaw's Niles Mittasch and Krzysztof Wydrowski in check most of the way. Warsaw broke a six-game losing streak against the Devils with the win, handing Wroclaw their biggest defeat in over three years.
Assuming there are no huge surprises in the Topliga regular season's final two weeks, the loss virtually eliminates the Devils from contention for the number one seed in the playoffs. Even with a victory over the Gdynia Seahawks next week, the Devils would likely lose out on the top seed to the Eagles based on the current tiebreaker scenarios. Both the Devils and Eagles are now a game back of the Seahawks, meaning a Gdynia victory against Wroclaw would probably land them the top seed and the easier path to NAC SuperFinal VII at the National Stadium.
The Devils, playing without head coach Skip Poole (who returned to the United States due to health reasons), were dominated by Warsaw for much of the first half. MVP candidates Mittasch and Tyrone Landrum scored first quarter touchdowns sandwiched around a Warsaw safety before the Eagles took control of the game with three consecutive touchdowns. Kevin Lynch threw three first-half touchdowns, including a 61-yarder to Marcin Jadlowski, to put the Eagles up 29-7 near the end of the second quarter.
Wroclaw was not done, however, as they put together a drive to end the half that finished with a Tomasz Tarczynski touchdown run. Wydrowski hit Layton Jones for a 14-yard touchdown reception to open the third quarter, and suddenly the Eagles lead was down to 29-20. Warsaw then regrouped and scored the next 19 points to put the game away. Brett Peddicord hit a 52-yard field goal in that streak to set an unofficial PLFA record for longest successful kick.
So, the Eagles will be interested observers of Saturday night's matchup between the Seahawks and Devils. As mentioned, a Seahawks win would give them outright control of the top spot with just a game remaining, while a Devils win would put the three teams into a tie. They would have to beat Gdynia by 7 points or more to take away the second seed, setting up a potential semifinal rematch in Wroclaw. In this scenario, Warsaw would be nearly certain of landing the number one seed, as Wroclaw could only take it away with a 64-point victory next weekend.
The big Devils-Seahawks tilt will take place under the lights at the National Rugby Stadium in Gdynia on July 9, with kickoff set for 7:30 PM. The Eagles, who are now virtually guaranteed a home playoff game if they can take care of business the rest of the way, will be on the road at 2-6 Kozly Poznan the next afternoon.