Team Finland took the lead early scoring 42 first half points and cruised to an easy 56-14 victory over Denmark in the opening game of the Nordic U-19 Championships in Vantaa, Finland Thursday evening.
Running back Karri Pajarinen paced Finland rushing for 106 yards and three touchdowns and returned a kickoff 95 yards for a fourth, all in the first half while quarterback Oscar Drockila threw for 157 yards and another touchdown in the rout. Markus Haapasaari, led all receivers with five catches for 111 yards and two scores. Daniel Luoma scored a 95 yard rushing touchdown and kicked a field goal while Antti Lahtinen scored a single touchdown to round out the scoring for Finland.
Niklas Hansen scored both touchdowns for the shell shocked Danes, one on a 22 yard run and the other, late in the fourth quarter on a 44 yard pass reception.
Finland was never challenged as the Finnish defense took charge from the opening kickoff, scoring on its first drive going on to a 26-0 first quarter lead Denmark never recovered from. Pajarinen was unstoppable in the first two quarters scoring twice in the first period and twice in the second.
Team Denmark managed to get on the board early in the second quarter as Hansen scored his first of two touchdowns. But Finland responded with two more to take a 42-7 lead at halftime.
The Finns did not let up in the third quarter with Antti Lahtinen scoring on a 48 yard run. Haapasaari scored Finland’s final major early in the fourth quarter before Hansen added his second.
The tournament continues Friday as Sweden takes on Denmark in an early afternoon game. The final game takes place Saturday October 22 with the host country Finland squaring off against Team Sweden.