The Copenhagen Towers, defending Danish champions, opened their defense of the Northern European Football League title by edging Sweden’s Stockholm Mean Machines 28-25 this past weekend at Zinkensdam field in Stockholm.
The win by the Towers, eliminated Stockholm from contention in the NEFL after the Mean Machines had already lost to the Helsinki Roosters from Finland a couple of weeks ago.
Running back Ashton Heard was the primary weapon for Copenhagen. Heard, a former All American running back from North Greenville University, rushed for 142 yards and caught a 75 yards pass, scoring three of the Towers touchdowns, and at times seemed impossible for Stockholm’s defenders to bring down. Danny Higgins threw for 217 yards with Jesper Hansen catching the other touchdown pass.
Stockholm quarterback Alexander Thury completed 30 of 52 passes for 347 yards and three touchdowns with Alpha Jalloh the leading receiver with 182 yards receiving and one touchdown. Per Lindelöf and Hans van Wachsmann also scored for Stockholm.
Heard opened the scoring for the Towers after a Stockholm field goal by breaking a tackle and racing 70 yards down to the Mean Machines 10 yard line. He scored on the next play to give the Towers a 6-3 lead early in the second quarter.
Stockholm answered with Thury finding Lindelöf for a 32 yard score late in the half to regain the lead, 10-6.
The Towers came back in the third quarter with Heard leading the way, carrying the ball eight of the 12 plays in the 47 yard drive, capping it with a one yard touchdown run.
With Copenhagen leading 14-10 following the successful two-point attempt, Jalloh made his mark, returning the kickoff 78 yards to the Towers 16 yard line. Then he scored the go ahead touchdown on a pass from Thury and the Mean Machines went back out in front 17-14.
Copenhagen responded again, this time as Higgins marched the team 90 yards in eight plays and then threw a scoring pass to Hansen. The Towers retook the lead for good, 22-17.
On the Towers next possession, Heard struck again, this time on a 75 yard touchdown bomb, increasing the lead to 28-17 with nine minutes left in the game.
Starting from his own five yard line, Thury then engineered a 20 play, 90 yard drive which consumed almost seven minutes, finishing with a touchdown pass to von Wachsman, narrowing the lead to 28-25, but leaving very little time to score again.
Copenhagen snuffed out the Mean Machines last, desperate drive, picking off Thury with no time on the clock, to seal the win.
The Towers will now face the Helsinki Roosters, winners of the 2017 NEFL title, on May 11 at Gentofte Stadium in Copenhagen.