Week 12 of the European League of Football held the biggest game of the season yet. It all came down to this from 2 teams in the North Division; the Leipzig Kings, and the Panthers Wroclaw. Winner takes the final playoff spot.
It started off slowly. The Panthers received the opening kickoff, it were forced by the Kings defense to a 3-and-out.
But 3 plays into the Leipzig drive, DB Goran Zec picked off a Michael Birdson pass, giving the ball back to Wroclaw.
Zex returned the ball 34 yards, setting up the Panthers at the 1. The next play, Jakeb Sullivan hit WR Kavontae Turpin for the 1st TD of the game.
The rest of the 1st quarter, both teams traded punts, until the Panthers put the ball on the ground, and Kings came up with it.
Two more punts on defensive stops. WR/RB/QB/ Jaleel Awini showed a ton of heart all game, giving up his body on many of the runs. Which eventually set up a 20-yard TD pass from Burdsong to Touchdown Knuettel to tie the game at 7 a piece.
The ensuing Panthers drive ended in a missed field goal attempt, and the two went to the half tied at 7.
Leipzig got the ball to start the 3rd quarter, and despite some big plays from Awini and Knuettel, the Kings were forced to punt.
That gave Wroclaw the chance to obtain the lead kn the back of RB Phileas Pasqualini, who gained 60 yards on the drive alone, ending in a big TD to give the Panthers a 14-0 lead.
Awini and Anton Doreshev made some nice plays on the drive, but it stalled, and once again they were forces to punt.
The Panthers orchestrated a 9nplay drive that ended in Pasqualini’s 2nd TD of the day.
Some confusion at the end of the next Kings drive, where we thought it was 3rd and 1 after Birdsong gave it all to get there, but the next play ended up being 4th down, and was an incomplete pass. Turning the ball over on downs.
They say the ball never lies, though, and even though Jakeb Mazan at 19 receiving yards, and Pasqualini added 25 rushing yards, the Panthers couched it up. DB Daniel Docal caused and recovered the fumble, pitching it to Benwholl Tchiypko to add some yardage.
One play later, Birdsong hit Timothy Knuettel with a 28-yard TD, but the PAT was missed, making the score 21-13.
But the onside kick didn’t work. And with very little time left, Wroclaw was able to run out the clock, sealing the victory.
The Leipzig Kings were without starting WR Anthony Dable-Wolf to a lower leg injury, which no doubt hurt their chances of coming away with the win. Their season ended with an even 5-5, just missing the playoffs.
The Panthers Wroclaw improve to 6-4, and will move on to play the North’s 1 seed, the Hamburg Sea Devils in Hamburg.
For half the league, the year is over. But what a regular season it has been. Some of the records are not indicative of the talent these teams have. Many had just started playing together, and it takes a while to build consistency and continuity. Look for a closer field in 2022, even with the added teams that are rumored to join the ELF.
Congrats to both on a wonderful season, it sucks that someone has to lose. But good luck to the Panthers as they travel to play the Sea Devils in Round 1.
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