PLFA: Silesia Prevails In Overtime

Photo: Miroslawa Lukaszek 
Just as they did in their first meeting earlier this season, the AZS Silesia Rebels and the Zagłębie Steelers Interpromex provided one of the most exciting games of the Topliga season on Sunday afternoon, with the Rebels coming out on top 22-15 in overtime. With the win, the Rebels got revenge for a 20-16 loss to the Steelers earlier in the season.

That game came down to a decisive goal-line stand by Zagłębie, in which the Rebels had first-and-goal at the 1-yard line before being turned away four times by the Steelers defense. In a scene reminiscent of that finish, the Rebels again had first-and-goal at the 1-yard line in the first overtime possession. This time they were stopped three times before Michał Kołek plunged in on fourth down to give Silesia the winning points.

After a scoreless first quarter, Paweł Szepiszczak put the Rebels ahead first with a 16-yard touchdown run. Steelers quarterback Travis Taylor quickly answered, scrambling 24 yards for a score of his own that tied the game at 6. The Rebels went back on top on a Zbigniew Szrejber field goal, creating a 9-6 scoreline that would hold until the teams went into the locker rooms for halftime.

Considering that both teams were unsuccessful on the conversion attempts following each of their two touchdowns in regulation, it was interesting to see the Steelers match Szrejber's kick with a field goal of their own. Sebastian Pyśk's 36-yarder in the third quarter knotted the game at 9, and that kick represented the entirety of the scoring in the third.

Photo: Miroslawa Lukaszek
Silesia got some luck to retake the lead early in the fourth quarter, when they lined up to try another field goal. The kicked was blocked, but it was touched in the field of play by a Steelers defender and Maciej Klimczak recovered the loose ball in the end zone to make it 15-9 for Silesia. The Steelers tied the game with just 30 seconds remaining, when Taylor scored his second touchdown of the day on a 5-yard run.

Kołek's tiebreaking score came on the first possession of overtime, meaning that the Steelers still had a chance to tie or go for the win. They gained just four yards on their first three downs, leaving them facing 4th-and-6 at the 21-yard line. Zagłębie initially picked up those missing yards, but offsetting penalties on the play forced a retry, and an incomplete pass on the second attempt ended the game.

With one game remaining in the season, both teams sport a 2-7 record. The Rebels currently hold third place, with a better points balance in the two games the teams played against each other, meaning that if they end up with the same record, Silesia will finish the year in third place in the South Division. Each team will play one of the Wrocław powers next weekend to finish off the 2013 campaign, with the Steelers visiting the Giants on June 15 and the Rebels hosting the Devils the next day.

Alex Zarganis
TAG