Carlstad Crusaders, Uppsala 86ers Advance To Swedish Championship

The Carlstad Crusaders have advanced to their seventh straight Swedish championship final by downing a tough Tyresö Royal Crowns. Meanwhile, the Uppsala 86ers reached their first final since 1997 by defeating last year’s finalists the Örebro Black Knights in the Swedish semifinals on the weekend.

Carlstad Crusaders 24 – Tyresö Royal Crowns 21

Sweden - Carlstad-Tyreso 2016 semi - Markus Persson - Photo Tommy Anderson

Markus Persson en route to 90 yard kickoff return TD Photo: Tommy Andersson

Carlstad running back Brett Koepp broke open a tight 7-7 battle early in the third quarter, escaping on a 78 yard touchdown run to help lead the Crusaders to victory over the Tyresö Royal Crowns. Koepp had 19 carries for 149 yards but none were more important than that one.

Then Markus Persson returned a Royal Crowns kickoff following a touchdown 90 yards for a score midway through the fourth quarter with Tyresö threatening again to put the game away.

Crusaders quarterback Philip Juhlin was steady but not spectacular completing 14 of 26 passes for 147 yards and a touchdown. But with Koepp carrying the load, he did not have to be. Josh Hartigan caught a touchdown pass and André Holgård  kicked a 30 yard field goal to round out the scoring for Carlstad.

Uppsala quarterback Alex Niznak kept the game close with his pinpoint passing throwing for 290 yards and three touchdowns while receiver Fredrik Isaksson caught nine of those balls for 123 yards. Emil Knutsson, Per Lindelof and A. Jobe each caught passes from Niznak for touchdowns.

Uppsala 86ers 21 – Örebro Black Knights 9

Sweden - Uppsala-Orebro - semifinal action 2016 - Photo Yamamoto Shinji

Photo: Yamamoto Shinji

The Uppsala 86ers scored two fourth quarter touchdowns while their defense held Örebro in check to down the Black Knights 21-9 and advance to the Swedish final for the first time since 1997.

Quarterback Jared Stegman overcame a three interception performance, one of which was returned for a touchdown, by scoring one touchdown and throwing for the other late in the game.

Örebro quarterback Johnny Knox, the league’s leading rusher throughout the regular season, suffered a knee injury on the second series of the game but continued playing. His reduced mobility was a factor as the Black Knights offense was built around him. Time and again, he was trapped in the backfield in situations he would normally escape.

86ers receiver Ricardo Miller displayed his speed in catching a Stegman pass for Uppsala’s final score late in the fourth quarter to put the game away. Uppsala linebacker Jacob Adelman scooped up a Black Knights fumble in the first quarter and returned it for a touchdown to open the scoring.

Örebro linebacker Eric Murphy responded, returning an interception all the way to even the score early, 6-6. Örebro had taken a 9-6 lead in the first half on a Joey Cafferky Jr field goal before Stegman’s late-game heroics.

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