Full Game Highlights
On Saturday, June 19th, the European League of Football (ELF) kicked off its inaugural season. In the leagues’ first matchup of the year, the Wroclaw Panthers would host the Cologne Centurions at Olympic Stadium for a high-scoring game in which the Panthers would win 55-39 over the Centurions.
Both teams were a bit slow and sloppy initially, but it did not take long for things to start clicking for the Panthers. The Centurions received the ball to start the game with quarterback Danny Farley leading the way. Sadly they were held to a 3 and out on the games’ first drive.
Leading the offense for the Panthers would be quarterback Lukas O’Connor, who on their first offensive drive led the team down inside the redzone, where they’d go for it on 4th & goal only to be stopped for a turnover on downs.
When Danny Farley and the Centurions offense retook the field, they decided to establish the run with recent ‘The Spring League’ & ‘Fan Controlled Football’ Alumni, Madre London, one of Colognes international players from the USA. London would have a few big runs on the drive, but with an obvious passing situation on 3rd & 10, Danny Farley would be forced to throw, getting intercepted by one of Wroclaw’s international players from the USA, former Clemson University standout Darius Robinson.
On the next play, Panthers wide receiver Jakub Mazan would score a touchdown for the first-ever points in the ELF to go up 7-0.
The following drive, Darius Robinson would quickly get another big interception for the Panther’s defense, taking this one for a touchdown to go up 14-0 in the first quarter.
The Centurions would finally begin to heat up on offense thanks to a great kick return by Quinton Pounds and some great running by Madre London. Sadly, the drive would eventually stall out, and Cologne would miss a 35-yard field goal as we approached the end of the 1st quarter.
As the 2nd quarter began, the whole Wroclaw offense seemingly began to click. Quarterback Lukas O’Connor started dropping the ball exactly where it needed to be, and running back Phileas Pasquelini established a steady ground game.
Following another field goal miss, this time by the Panthers, the Centurions offense would throw yet another interception, only to fumble the return and have it returned for a touchdown. (The play was insanity, I had to watch it a few times just to fully comprehend what actually happened.) The Panthers’ lead would be cut down to just 7 points making the score 14-7 early in the 2nd quarter.
Wroclaw would score again quickly on the following drive. Former Florida Gator running back Mark Herndon would run one in for a touchdown to go up 21-7 mid 2nd quarter. Centurions wide receiver Quinten Pounds quickly answer back with a nice receiving touchdown, keeping the score tight at 21-14, Panthers still ahead as they went into the locker room for halftime.
Coming out of the half, the Panthers would begin with the ball. They kept the ground game alive with some great runs and creative play calling, along with their quarterback Lukas O’Connor continuing to just put the ball where it needs to be and playing smart football. Wide receiver Jakub Mazan would make a handful of really nice plays on this drive, capping it off with a 35-yard touchdown reception extending the Panthers’ lead to 28-14.
The Centurion’s offense returned to the field committed to the run. At this point, they had been most successful on the ground with Madre London, and they seemed to have recognized that. On this drive, London would break away for a massive 72-yard touchdown to keep the game close at 28-21
The Centurions would later muff a punt, which would be recovered by the Panthers. The Panthers would score a field goal and extend the lead to 31-21. As we approached the end of the 3rd quarter, Panthers wide receiver Wiktor Zieba would run a nice slant in the redzone for a touchdown to increase the score to 38-21.
As the 3rd quarter came to a close, Centurions running back Madre London would add another long run, bringing Cologne into the redzone. Wide receiver Noah Aarass would finish off the drive with a perfect goal-line fade for a touchdown. They would miss the extra point, making the score 38 – 27.
Following a fumble recovery, The Centurions would stay committed to the run, continuing to feed Madre London who would take off for yet another long touchdown run, making this his 2nd of the day. They would again miss the extra point, bringing the score to 38-33.
Lukas O’Connor continued to play smart and put the ball where it needed to be throughout the entire second half. He’d begin getting wide receiver Przemyslaw Banat more involved, getting another quick touchdown for the Panthers, stretching the lead to 45-33. They’d get the ball back shortly and add a field goal as well bringing the score to 48-33.
Madre London would continue carrying the weight of the Centurions offense, adding another long run of 38-yards for his 3rd rushing touchdown on the day. They would not convert the two-point conversion, making the score 48-39 with 4 minutes left in the 4th quarter.
The Panthers iced the game with a great drive running the ball with Mark Herndon, capped off with one last touchdown run on a jets sweep by wide receiver Jakub Mazan, making the score 55-39 and leading Wroclaw to their first win of the season.
Personal Thoughts On Broadcast & Level Of Play
Regarding the quality of the broadcasts, the camera work and overall production were very impressive. A few minor hiccups with audio and a few other small technical things, but for day one of a brand new league, It was impressive. Having English commentary was a huge plus, and the commentator whose name I do not believe was mentioned was great, very well researched on the teams and coaches. My only criticism is he should have a color analyst in the booth with him to bounce off of eventually.
Regarding the level of play, things started sloppy and slow but got progressively more upbeat as things went on. The Panthers coach even mentioned on the broadcast how this next week of practice would be tough due to how much they need to clean up as a team. As the game progressed, the teams seemed to get much more comfortable and put some excellent drives together with a handful of huge plays. Overall the game was quite eventful and exciting to watch.
The Wroclaw Panthers’ next game will be on Saturday, June 26th at 12 pm EST, where they will host the Leipzig Kings.
The Cologne Centurions’ next game will be on Sunday, June 27th at 9 am EST, where they will host the Barcelona Dragons.