Date: 28 May 2011
Home: Bialystok Lowlanders - 8
Away: Bielawa Owls - 39
Bielawa Owls keep hope alive with 39-8 victory over Bialystok Lowlanders
The Bielawa Owls keep themselves mathematically alive for the fourth and final playoff spot on Saturday afternoon in Bialystok with a 39-8 win over the Lowlanders. However, with the Gdynia Seahawks in firm control of that spot, the postseason implications of this game likely come at the bottom of the table, where the Lowlanders find themselves in a bitter fight to avoid relegation.
Bielawa only managed one score in the first half, a four-yard touchdown run by Benjamin Jones. The American would get into the end zone two more times in the third quarter, however, to give the Owls a comfortable 20-0 advantage. The Lowlanders, who were shut out in their first four games this season, then got closer when Vadim Sikorsky caught an 11-yard touchdown pass from Damian Kolpak, but Patryk Paluszak responded with a 9-yard touchdown run that gave Bielawa a 26-8 lead at the end of three.
Mateusz Morasz threw two touchdown passes in the fourth quarter to seal the deal, the second a beautiful 32-yard lob to Marcin Kochanowski. The 39 points the Owls scored was easily their highest output of the 2011 season, and the victory gets them to within a win of .500, at 3-4. Bielawa is now in sixth place, in a tie with Kozly Poznan. Both teams are a game behind both the Gdynia Seahawks and the Dom-Bud Krakow Tigers, who are currently tied for the last playoff spot with two games to go.
The Lowlanders, on the other hand, sit in a tie for 8th place with the Zaglebie Steelers, who beat them 7-0 in the second week of the season. The two teams are a game ahead of the AZS Silesia Miners, who would be relegated to PLFA II automatically if the season ended today. Due to their disadvantage in the head-to-head tiebreaker, the Lowlanders are currently the team that would fill 9th place in the standings and therefore they would play in the ‘barrage’ against the PLFA II runner-up for a spot in next season’s PLFA I campaign.
Therefore, Bialystok’s next game, against the Miners in Katowice on June 12, is of paramount importance. A loss in that game could drop them into the last spot in the table and a demotion for next season. A win, on the other hand, could vault them ahead of the Steelers into safety. The Owls, meanwhile, will play on the same day, against the Tigers in Krakow. They will need to win that game and their final game, against the Warsaw Eagles, and hope for some help in order to sneak into the playoffs.