Finland: Newcomers Kuopio Steelers open season with a win

The Kuopio Steelers scored all  five of their touchdowns in the second quarter and then held on to defeat the Tampere Saints 35-29 in Tampere in the opening game of the 2018 Maple League season in Finland for both teams.

Steelers quarterback Seth Peters threw for 268 yards and four touchdowns and ran one in himself in a second quarter no one will ever forget. Wide receiver Charles Wort caught nine passes for 171 yards and three touchdowns while Petteri Vilpponen also caught one. Markus Ojainväli kicked all five extra points.

For the Saints, quarterback Kyle Nolan threw for 352 yards and four touchdowns. Recevier Micky Kyei, who returned to Finland after several successful seasons in Germany, caught eight passes for 122 yards and two touchdowns while Ilari Laine caught seven passes for 115 yards and two touchodwns.

After Tampere took a 6-0 first quarter lead on Kyei’s first touchdown reception, and Wort inexplicably tossed the ball away walking into the end zone for a certain Steelers touchdown, Peters and the Steelers offense went to work, aided by two big Tampere turnovers. Peters scored himself and threw to Vilpponen to give Kuopio a 14-6 lead.

Nolan connected with Laine to pull within one, 14-13. But a blocked punt and an interception gave the Steelers short fields and Peters took advantage finding Wort for scoring passes of 12, 27 and 44 yards closing out the half leading 35-13.

Tampere battled back in the second half with Nolan finding Kyei and Laine in the third quarter to pull to within 35-26. All the Saints could must in the fourth quarter was a field goal however and Kuopio came away with a huge win.

Watch the game highlights here.

The Saints have a chance to redeem themselves tonight as they take on the Seinäjoki Crocodiles. Kuopio does not play again until May 31 when they host the Wasa Royals.

Source: Mika Laurila, vaahteraliiga.fi

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