Carlstad Crusaders capture Swedish crown in statement win over Stockholm Mean Machines

The Carlstad Crusaders struck early and often in both halves to stun the defending champion Stockholm Mean Machines to cruise to a 51-22 win to capture their 10th Swedish title and first since 2020.

Carlstad running back Young Kennedy was at times an unstoppable force rushing for 179 yards and four touchdowns on 17 carries. He scored twice in the first quarter and then when Stockholm had narrowed the gap to one score at the half, twice in the third on runs of 55 and 63 yards to effectively put the game away. Quarterback Slade Jarman threw for a modest 166 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for another 27 and one touchdown. Receiver Albin Forsman had four catches for 54 yards and two scores while Kristian Natunen had five receptions for 41 yards.

For the Mean Machines, quarterback Derek Green threw for 183 yards and two touchdowns with receiver Anton Blomgren hauling in four for 120 yards and a touchdown.  Robin Gavelin Miranda had two catches for 26 yards and a touchdown. However, Green tossed three interceptions all of which led to Carlstad scores.

Carlstad QB Slade Jarman looking for a receiver Photo: Stefan Akander

The Crusaders took charge from the opening possession as Jarman marched his team on a six play, 79 yard drive with Kennedy finishing it off with a 25 yard touchdown run to give Carlstad a 7-0 lead with less than two minutes gone.

The defense did its part as Strahinja Stepovic picked off Mean Machines quarterback Derek Green on the very next possession and Carlstad took advantage..

Starting from his own 39, Jarman took his team on another drive, this time 61 yards with Kennedy again capping it, scoring from the two yard line. With only five minutes gone in the game, the Crusaders took a 14-0.

The Mean Machines finally found the scoreboard late in the quarter as Hugo Backing booted a 24 yard field goal after Stockholm blocked a Carlstad punt deep in Crusaders territory. But Stepovic picked off Green again returning the ball to the nine yard line. Jarman punched the ball in himself from three yards out and Carlstad took a 21-3 lead heading into the second quarter.

Stockholm managed to regroup midway through the second period with Green moving his team from his own 29 down to the Carlstad 22. He then hit Robin Gavelin Miranda in the end zone and scored the two-point conversion himself to close the gap to 21-11.

Carlstad DB Strahinja Stepovic #13 making one of his two interceptions Photo: Stefan Akander

Again the Stockholm defense rose up and with just over a minute left in the half, Green took the Mean Machines down to the Carlstad 19 and Backing kicked a 36 yard field goal reducing the lead to a touchdown heading into the break and more importantly giving Stockholm momentum.

That ended quickly in the third period.

Stockholm stalled on the first possession and Carlstad took over on their own 45 after a Backing punt. Kennedy found a gap and raced 55 yards to boost the lead to 28-14. The Crusaders defense rose up on the next Stockholm possession bottling up the Mean Machines eating up the clock and finally forcing a safety to up the lead to 30-14.

Mean Machines QB Derek Green Photo: Stefan Akander

Three plays later, Kennedy struck again, finding a seam and scoring on a 63 yard run to give his team a 37-14 lead with just under four minutes left in the third. With the Mean Machines offense unable to move the ball, Carlstad took over again in good field position and Jarman orchestrated another successful drive. This time he capped it with an 18 yard scoring strike to Albin Forsman giving his team a 44-14 lead heading into the final quarter.

The Carlstad defense picked off Green for the third time and Jarman went back to work capping an eight play drive with a second touchdown pass to Forsman, this time a 19 yarder upping the score to 51-14 with five minutes left.

Green finally got the Stockholm offense moving late in the game finding Anton Blomgren for a 67 yard score. The two point conversion produced the final score 51-22.


American Football International is your source for news and updates about American Football outside the United States!