Finland: Alpha Jalloh leads Wasa Royals past Seinäjoki Crocodiles

Wasa Royals wide receiver and “do everything” man Alpha Jalloh, did do everything Friday night when the Royals (3-0) finally put away the stubborn Seinäjoki Crocodiles (1-2) 42-32 in front of almost 700 fans in Vaasa, Finland.

Jalloh was a man on a mission scoring touchdowns on the ground and through the air, throwing key passes and giving the Crocodiles return cover team fits.

On the other side of the field, Seinäjoki running back Christian Powell was having a career rushing night with 25 carries for 352 yards and three touchdowns.

Make no mistake, this was a team effort, but it was also a night of stellar individual performances. With Powell seemingly unstoppable at times, Jalloh had to keep up and in this game he was up to the task. He tossed a 48 yard pass on the opening play of the game for Wasa, setting up the Royals first touchdown, he rushed for 26 yards and scored on a four yard run and he caught 129 yards in passes including two key touchdown passes, the second one with less than a minute to go to seal the win.

In this game, he was quite simply, superb.

And the Royals needed him to be with Powell pounding the “rock” the way he was.

Royals quarterback Brandon Gwinner was again a key throwing for 254 yards and four touchdowns while rushing for another 56. Nicholas Peterson had eight catches for 102 yards and two scores while Mahamed Hersi caught one pass for 48 yards (from Jalloh) and Nico Barrow one for 15. Running back Tom Suoste was his usual reliable self, rushing for 53 yards and one touchdown, constantly confounding defenders.

Powell was truly a force for Seinäjoki with 25 carries for 352 yards. He had 121 yards after the first quarter alone! He ran around and through Crocodiles defenders all game long. And when Powell wasn’t carrying the ball (he accounted for 25 of his team’s 50 offensive plays), quarterback Spencer Cutlan was using the other tools at his disposal to keep his team even. He threw for 121 yards and one touchdown and ran another one in himself, a 33 yard scamper late in the game that almost changed the momentum of the contest. Wide receiver Nate Robitaille had a quiet night on offense with only two catches for 16 yards but one of them was a touchdown and he was working double duty, playing defensive back as well. Tim Thomas was the leading receiver for Seinäjoki with six receptions for 67 yards while Hadrien Lynda had one for 33.

Royals DE Axel Arvila corralling Crocodiles Nate Robitaille Photo: Samppa Toivonen

Wasa opened the scoring with just under six minutes left in the first quarter running a reverse into the end zone.

With Powell bulling his way on two runs totaling 77 yards, the Crocodiles answered as Cutlan hit Robitaille for a five yard touchdown to cap the drive.

Midway through the second quarter, Gwinner connected with Peterson for a 36 yard touchdown to go up 14-6 but Seinäjoki responded again, with Powell, who else. On the first play after the touchdown, Powell burst over left tackle and raced 70 yards to close the gap to 14-12.

On the very next Crocodiles possession, Powell carried the ball four straight times, finishing with a 40 run giving Seinäjoki thie first lead of the game, 18-14.

Gwinner and Jalloh answered with a 51 yard touchdown pass and catch, putting Wasa back out in front, 21-18.

At that point, Powell had gained 257 yards.

The second half opened with a textbook Alpha Jalloh kickoff return, 49 yards down to the Crocodiles 40 yard line. Given good field position, Gwinner guided the Royals down to the five yard line and then handed off to Suoste who punched the ball in to extend the lead to 28-18.

It was a 10 point lead that Seinajoki could never completely overcome.

On the next Crocodiles possession, it looked as if Wasa had figured out how to stop Powell getting the ball back at midfield. Gwinner promptly marched his team to the Crocodiles 20 and then hit Peterson for his second touchdown of the night, extending the lead to 35-18 late in the third quarter.

It turns out, Powell was not done.

Pinned at his own 26, he took the ball on a  third and long, powered his way over the left side and took off, outrunning the Wasa defense to score a 74 yard touchdown.

The gap was now down to 35-25 with momentum now swinging back in favor of the Crocodiles.

Gwinner drove his team to the Crocodiles 13 yard line but stalled and then Cutlan took over for Seinäjoki  He engineered a beautiful 15 play, 85 yard drive, finishing it by getting outside and outracing the Royals secondary to score a 33 yard touchdown, reducing the lead to 35-32 with plenty of time left.

Less than a minute late, Jalloh came streaking across the middle, gathered in a pass from Gwinner and turned up field, galloping 46 yards to score and increase the lead to 42-32 where it stayed.

A last ditch drive took the Crocodiles down to the Wasa 13 yard line but Cutlan threw the ball into the arms of Royals defensive back Rufail Khalifa to effectively end the game.

With the win, Wasa with a 3-0 record, moves into sole possession of first place ahead of the Kuopio Steelers who play today.  Seinäjoki is in fourth with a 1-2 record.

Next up for the Royals is a visit to Helsinki to face the Roosters on August 21 while Seinäjoki plays host to the Kuopi Steelers on August 22.

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