Dynamic young quarterback leads Sweden to big win

Team Sweden overwhelmed Finland 61-30 on the second day of the IFAF NY European Junior Championships Thursday at Gentofte Stadion in Copenhagen, behind an explosive performance by quarterback Michael Cox Jr.

The college-bound Swedish-Jamaican rushed for 248 yards and four touchdowns, three from more than 50 yards out, and threw for 132 yards and another touchdown. By the time he finished in the third quarter, Sweden held an insurmountable 40-16 lead over the shell shocked Finns.

Running back Villy Tengroth rushed for a touchdown and Carl Göransson scored two. Gustav Skeppner added a touchdown on a kickoff return. Wide receiver Johannes Lindéus hauled in a 78 yard touchdown pass from Cox Jr.

Finnish quarterback Viljami Rautavirta was outstanding in a losing cause accounting for more than 300 yards of total offense and four touchdowns. He finished the game with a passer rating on 118.8. Waltteri Kinnunen,  Samu Ojanen and Markus Haapasaari all caught touchdown passes for Finland.

Finland found the end zone on the first drive of the game, when Rautavirta connected with Kinnunen for a touchdown, but Sweden answered right back on their first possession. And then the Michael Cox Jr-show started.

At times Cox Jr. looked like a man among boys with his scrambling ability leaving the Finnish defenders grasping at air in his wake. The Finnish defense simply had no answer when he took off.

Sweden took a 20-10 first quarter lead and was never threatened after that. Although Ojanen caught a 14 yard pass from Viljami Rautavirko to open the second quarter, Cox Jr, added two more touchdowns to give Sweden a 33-16 lead at the half.

Cox Jr scored once again on a 58 yard run in the third quarter before leaving the game.

Rautavirko added Finland’s third touchdown to narrow the Swedish lead to 40-22 but Göransson scored two and Skeppner added another in the final quarter. Haapasaari scored Finland’s last touchdown on a pass from Rautavirko.

Cox Jr and Rautavirta were named MVPs for their respective teams.

Sweden faces Denmark on the final day of the tournament Friday to decide who qualifies for the World U19 championship tournament in 2018. Finland, winners of the 2016 Nordic championship, left the tournament winless.



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