The Prague Lions defeated the Vysočina Gladiators in the Paddock League Semifinal and earned a spot in Czech Bowl XXVI.
The game was close the entire day, with the two high powered offenses finding the end zone numerous times. The Lions were led by QB Mike Hayes who led all scorers with three rushing touchdowns and two touchdown passes, both to TE Archie Stevens. RB Filip Ječný added another touchdown. Lukáš Kadlec was a perfect 6/6 on the day for point after tries. The Gladiators were led by David Calta’s 34 yard touchdown catch from Reggie Langford, and touchdown runs from both Stanislav Benc and Reggie Langford.
The Lions opened the scoring late in the first quarter on a 2 yard touchdown run by Mike Hayes. They turned right around on their next drive and scored again on a Filip Ječný two yard touchdown run to go up 14:0 a minute into the second quarter. The Gladiators answered with a 34 yard touchdown pass from Reggie Langford to David Calta, leading to a halftime score of 14:7.
The Lions opened second half scoring on a Mike Hayes 11 yard touchdown run. The Gladiators responded with a one yard touchdown run from Stanislav Benc. The Lions ended the third quarter with an 18 yard touchdown pass from Hayes to Archie Stevens for a 28:14 lead at the end of the third quarter. Stevens hauled in another touchdown pass from Hayes at the start of the fourth quarter. Langford responded for the Gladiators with a touchdown run of his own to pull the Gladiators to within 35:20. The final score of the game came on a Mike Hayes 1 yard touchdown run to put the Lions up 42:20.
Mike Hayes led all passers with 412 yards passing. Lions WR David Hlaváček led all receivers with 134 yards receiving, followed very closely by his teammate Jiří Kohut at 133. The Gladiator’s Reggie Langford led all rushers, with 71 yards rushing to add to his 263 yards passing.
The Lions were led on defense by Ondřej Kubik and Labor Boucky, who had six and five tackles, respectively. Petr Kratochvíl had 9.5 tackles and a sack for the Gladiators.
Lions head coach Zach Harrod said of this game and the upcoming Czech Bowl, “Congrats to Vysocina for a great season, they have a great future. Reflecting on yesterday’s game, it was a fight. We know it was going to be one and we knew they were going to throw everything at us they could. We fought through some injuries and mental mistakes and got the W. I’m proud of our players, coaches and management. Last year after losing in the semifinal two years in a row, I said in my post game interview that if the Lions were going to get to the Czech Bowl, big changes needed to happen. Those changes did happen and we really are in year 0 of what we are trying to build, but that doesn’t mean we aren’t hungry for a championship. We got two weeks to prepare for Ostrava, I’m confident that we will be well prepared.”
The Gladiators ended their inaugural season in the Paddock League with a respectable 7-4 record and semifinal appearance.
The Prague Lions will appear in the Czech Bowl for the first time since 2016. Their opponent will be the Ostrava Steelers, who are making their third appearance in a row in the Czech Bowl. The Lions defeated the Steelers in the season opener by a score of 7-0. This game will prove to be a challenge for both teams as the Lions’ top rated offense will square off against a stingy Steelers defense. Both teams are coming off of strong semifinal wins and look to put up a good performance in the Czech Bowl.
Czech Bowl XXVI will be held on July 20th at Městský stadion in Ostrava. Kickoff for the game will be at 18:30, with pregame activities inside the stadium starting at 17:45. Tickets cost 200 Kc in advance or 300 Kc at the gate. In addition to the game, there will be pregame music and a halftime show. Before the game, the Paddock Fanzone will be open from 16:30. There you will have the opportunity to test your football skills, as well as sample of Paddock energy drink for free for the first fans! If you are interested in a FAN BUS there the day of the game, please write [email protected].
Come out and enjoy the conclusion of this year’s Paddock League!