Finland: Helsinki Roosters dominate Wolverines in low scoring affair, Steelers, Crocodiles also winners

The Helsinki Roosters faced off against the Helsinki Wolverines in Finland’s Maple League in a highly anticipated local derby last week and in a defensive battle the Roosters came out on top 11-6.

However, the score does not do the Roosters’ performance justice.

When the two teams hit the turf on one of the hottest days of the year in Finland, the Roosters looked determined to overtake the third-seeded Wolverines in the standings. In the first quarter, the defenses reigned supreme. Neither team could find the end zone and most drives were often short-lived. Going into the second quarter, the Wolverines finally found a way to get on the board thanks to a 38-yard pass from quarterback Jabari Harris to Rj Long. However, their celebration didn’t last long as the extra-point unit botched the snap, allowing the Roosters’ Tommy Nylund to recover the ball and return it for two points. The two would enter halftime with the Wolverines holding a 6-2 lead.

Photo: Jari Turunen

Yet, the fact the Wolverines had the lead would be a shock to many who watched the game. The Roosters looked 1000% better and their defense was the main reason. The Roosters‘ front seven reached Harris in the backfield six times in the first half. Spectators were actually beginning to feel sorry for the offensive line of the Wolverines. The Roosters‘ shortcomings however came on the offensive side which according to head coach Juha Hakala, left a few scores on the field.

In the third quarter, however, the Roosters finally reached the end zone. Despite a poor opening drive by the offense, their second possession didn’t disappoint. They took the ball 65 yards, capping it off with a three-yard quarterback sneak by Bryce Stancombe.

From then on out, the Roosters were in complete control. The defense flat-out dominated a Wolverines offense that could not seem to get anything right suddenly. A Wolverines‘ screen pass was transformed into a safety by a ferocious Roosters defense. In fact, the Wolverines only had possession of the ball for a total of one minute and 42 seconds in the entire fourth quarter. The game simply couldn’t end fast enough for the beleaguered Wolverines offensive line.

Despite the lack of scoring, the offense for the Roosters had a pretty good afternoon. They racked up 309 total yards, much of that thanks to their ground game. The team’s rushing attack gained 202 yards and was very well dispersed. The ground leader however was Lassi Pajarinen with 79 yards.

Roosters QB Bryce Stancombe threw for 121 yards and rushed for another 43 and a TD Photo: Jari Turunen

The real star of the show though was the Roosters‘ defense. The Wolverines had a grand total of 61 yards of offense which included -17 yards rushing. The player of the game was young defensive lineman Malek Jaradat. Jaradat had two sacks for a total loss of 16 yards. Another notable player was Taavi Aronpaa who finished with 6.5 tackles and two sacks.

While not the outcome the Wolverines were hoping for, it’s safe to assume that this was just a one-time flop. The team was missing three of their best defensive players in Ville Valasti, Joseph Kordus, and James Perrineau. Along with that, Paul Minzeni was missing from the offensive line, and head coach Michael Mattingly was serving the second game of his suspension.

In other action, the Kuopio Steelers (8-0) defeated the United Newlander Crusaders (1-7) by an astounding 71-8 while the Seinäjoki Crocodiles (5-2) defeated the Kotka Eagles (0-8) 43-20.

A current student at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, Jordan grew up playing football. He began writing in high school after creating his own website and hopes to continue his pursuit for a career in sports media.