Eidsvoll 1814s HC Michael Hall preparing for 2nd Norwegian final in three years

The Eidsvoll 1814s square off against their bitter rivals, the  Oslo Vikings this weekend in the Norwegian League of American Football championship final.

This is the sixth time since 2009 these two teams have faced each other in the final. Eidsvoll has won two of the previous five games but has not won a title since 2013. The 1814s have reached the final every year but one (2018) since 2013.

American Football International asked head coach, starting quarterback and linebacker Michael Hall about his second trip to the championship since stepping in as head coach three years ago.

AFI: You have reached the Norwegian finals with the 1814s for the second time in three years since taking over as head coach. Describe that feeling.

Hall: It’s an amazing feeling and just shows to the determination of my guys to succeed in the Norwegian league. We work very hard in the offseason to prepare ourselves to take it the distance and this is just a culmination of all our hard work. Very proud of my boys and how we have competed this year and past years.

AFI: The last time you were here in the title game you lost badly to Oslo. They then beat you in the semifinals last year. This has to be incentive for your team.

Hall: Big time incentive for us. They are rivals in this league and every time we face them it’s a big game for both teams. The first year in the finals we were plagued with injuries going into the final and last year the Vikings quite simply out played us, along with us making too many mental errors. We are excited to meet them in the finals to avenge our only loss this year to them 21-28.

AFI: You are playing quarterback this season. How much of a difference has that made? Isn’t it tougher to coach at the same time?

Hall: Yes, I am the quarterback this season and it has been nothing but fun and a blessing. I love having the ball in my hands every play so I can give my team the opportunity to score on any play. I think it has helped our offense develop more as a balanced offense because I come with the ability to run or pass on any down. It gives the defense more to prepare for. Coaching and playing is nothing new for me. I’ve been coaching while playing ever since I’ve came to Europe to play football. Luckily for me, I have a great OC on the sidelines in Tony Simmons to help me lead this team to victory and it helps me stay focused on the game.

AFI: You are facing the stingiest defense in Norway. How do you attack it?

Hall: We do what we have done all year and that’s stay balanced in our attack and find the weak points in the defense throughout the game. The Vikings have a great defense with many capable athletes. We look to stick to our game plan we have made in practice and make small adjustments when we see fit. If we play mistake free football, I have full confidence in my guys to move the football down the field.

AFI: The Vikings are the top scoring team in the league with an excellent quarterback in Robert Mehmet who has weapons. How do you get pressure on him?

Hall: Our defense has definitely stepped up in the past 2 games to make huge plays for us. We have a simple task to play mistake free football and not give them any free first downs on penalties and play our brand of smash mouth football. Last time we played the Vikings we had 3 INT’s and made some good tackles on their running backs. We look to play to our strengths against them and read the keys we talked about during practice this week, while eliminating the big plays down the field. A lot of pressure on our D-line this weekend to bring that pressure to Mehmet in the pocket and fill our gaps on the run plays.

AFI: Eidsvoll has been to the Norwegian final every year since 2013 except one, last year, but hasn’t won the title since 2013. Is that added pressure?

Hall: I don’t feel it as pressure but more as an opportunity to showcase our talent this year. We are a different team than we were last year or the year before. We look to change the script of previous years and bring home the title back to Eidsvoll in 2019.


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