Not only the weather was bad for playing in the 4th round of LFA1 as hosts Towers Opole. They were defeated by developing with each game Krakow Kings 34:19. The best player of the match came to be Jacek Kusmierczyk, who got 4 touchdowns next to his name. The players from Opole managed to cause some troubles though and they can continue the season with their heads held high.
The players of both teams had to play in very difficult weather conditions. The rain was falling almost without a break and the wet field caused many mistakes and losses due to a slippery ball while passing or snapping. Kings dealt much better with those unfavorable conditions and outran the opponents already in the first half winning 6:34.
What was visible from the very start was defensive incapability of the players from Opole, thanks to which they managed to dominate the game in the previous round. The passes by Markus Hodges were mostly inaccurate and the running actions were ending on the tough defensive line of the Kings. When it comes to the offense, the players from Krakow looked much better, as they didn’t have problems with dynamic progress down the field. The first point action was started by Bernard Wiazania together with game’s star Jacek Kusmierczyk, who received two long passes from Tivon Cook placing the Kings right in front of opponents’ endzone. Just a moment later, after a short run, Jacek Kusmieczyk got the first touchdown. Thanks to a successful PAT by Marcin Maslon it was 0:7. The words of praise go to the special formation of the Kings again this year. Not only they kept the opponents from developing the game after kick-offs, but they also were passing the ball down the field themselves. It seemed, that a long and tedious work will be required to get the next touchdown, but Tivon Cook saw Jacek Kusmierczyk getting free from the defender and sent him a good pass. The wide receiver caught the ball and ran some 40 yards without disturbance getting the second touchdown for his team. Equally successful was the PAT and the lead increased to 14 points. It seemed that the hosts will have a breakthrough at the end of the first quarter thanks to a good kickoff. The defense from Krakow did a great job again though and at the beginning of the second quarter, it was them that were in possession.
The second quarter started with a big hit from the guests. First, Dariusz Niziol got intercepted a long pass and set his team in 1 & home possition finishing the job in the next attempt. This time, the PAT got blocked and the lead was 20 points from then on. Ambitious Kings didn’t allow themselves to be content of the performance and quickly got the ball back thanks to the defensive formation. Similarly to the first quarter, Jacek Kusmierczyk broke free and run the whole field increasing the lead. After this, the players of Towers woke up. Robert Szmielak managed to go through 80 yards together with Markus Hodges and to get the first points for Opole in the game. It was Markus who placed the ball in the endzone. The extra point kick got blocked, so the first successful attacking attempt brought the Towers two points. They didn’t celebrate for long, as the opponents used the same scenario one more time. Jacek Kusmierczyk broke free, got a long pass and reach the endzone for yet another touchdown. After a good PAT, the score increased and 6:34 appeared on the scoreboard at the end of the first half.
The second half of the match was mostly a showcase of the defense of both teams. There were frequent changes in possession what could suggest that the Kings had finished the game after the first half, what was definitely caused by a change of the quarterback. Tivon Cook was replaced by a talented Mateusz Wiecheć. The changes among the guests were visible mostly in the offensive play of Towers, which spread their wings and started to get opportunities to change the score. The first of such situations happened already at the beginning of the third quarter started by an interception by Opole’s players. After placing it on the 20th yard Konrad Rodak, who got a chance at his nominal position, noticed a well running Robert Szmielak and passed a long, accurate ball. The wide receiver didn’t miss the opportunity and got a touchdown for Towers, who reduced the difference in the score by 7 points after a successful PAT. The guests were still having trouble. A wet ball slipped from punters hands and he had to rescue himself with an illegal kick. The referees gave a punishment and the Towers started the fourth quarter right in front of Kings’ endzone.
The result was positive for the Towers, as Robert Szmielak got yet another touchdown after a pass from Konrad Rodak. The players from Opole didn’t manage to get more points and the score stopped at 19:34 for the Kings. There were no more points in the further part of the game. The teams were alternately winning and losing the possession without causing much danger. A bright point in this part of the game was Kings’ substitute Mateusz Wiecheć, who showed some good passes and decided to perform some runs seeing lack of pressure from the opponents. He led the team to a place where a field goal was possible. The first attempt was stopped, however, and there wasn’t more time for a re-take.
One could feel that the Kings didn’t leave the locker room for the second part of the game. They missed decisiveness and aggression in the attack, thanks to which they had obtained such a lead in the first part of the match. This, however, was most probably caused by giving the opportunity to substitutes. Towers, on the other hand, played ambitiously and managed to use the weakness of the opponents. This wasn’t enough to reach for a win though.
Now the players enjoy the break due to the Easter. After that, the Kings will face Warsaw Mets on the 28th of April and Towers will play a home game against Poznan Army a day before.
LFA press office
Photo: J’S Photography