Date: 11 May 2013
Home: Wroclaw Giants - 9
Away: Warsaw Eagles - 7
Warsaw undone by mistakes in narrow 9-7 defeat in rainy Wroclaw
In a game whose course was dictated more by the wet and muddy conditions than by the actions of either of the two teams, the Warsaw Eagles missed out on a chance to gain ground in the North Division by falling 9-7 to the home Wroclaw Giants. The Eagles made a strong fourth-quarter comeback, but were unable to convert on any of the three field goal opportunities that would have given them the points needed for victory.
A significant downpour on Friday evening left the Olympic Stadium field a gooey mess, and the rain continued throughout the day on Saturday. Still, the home fans were in good spirits as the newest Giant, London bronze medalist Damian Janikowski, took the field for the opening kickoff. The Eagles gained nearly 60 yards on the opening drive, but they were eventually held to a 42-yard field goal attempt that flew wide of the post.
The Giants scored twice in the second quarter, cracking the scoreboard first with a field goal and following it up with a 1-yard touchdown run by quarterback Bartosz Dziedzic. That touchdown came after the Eagles turned the ball over at their own 20-yard line. Mark Philmore then had a big run for Wroclaw to set up the Dziedzic plunge.
Wroclaw maintained the advantage throughout most of the game thanks to good kicking by their punter, Mateusz Ruta. The punter helped Wroclaw control field position both by getting his team out from deep in the own end and by pinning the Eagles deep in theirs when he had the chance. Warsaw was unable to score until the fourth quarter, which they entered trailing 9-0.
Warsaw did, however, play much better in the second half. They held the Giants without a first down in the third quarter, and they nearly cut into the lead as well, driving down to the Wroclaw 5-yard line. They were stopped there, and kicker Marcin Lojewski's second field goal attempt of the afternoon again missed the target, keeping the Eagles scoreless.
The Eagles got yet another red zone chance before the quarter was out, but a fumble gave the ball back to Wroclaw. Warsaw finally broke through in the fourth quarter, when Shane Gimzo's long pass to Filip Moscicki resulted in a 60-yard touchdown that brought Warsaw to within a field goal of victory.
Dziedzic was hit and fumbled the ball away on Wroclaw's next drive, setting the Eagles up at the 25-yard line. Warsaw was unable to get any further, however, and once again a long field goal attempt was unsuccessful. The Eagles would get the ball back one more time, and Gimzo nearly hit Moscicki on an identical play, but this time the ball fell incomplete. A holding penalty would later kill the drive, ending a tense, defensive encounter.
Both teams will be in action in the capital next weekend. The Eagles will be back home at Konwiktorska, hosting an evening matchup with the AZS Silesia Rebels on Saturday, while the Giants will try to complete the Warsaw double when they visit the 0-6 Spartans on Sunday.