For the second time in the last six years, the Helsinki Roosters finished the regular season in Finland’s Maple League with an undefeated record. Helsinki downed the Wasa Royals 27-14 Sunday in Vaasa, Finland and enter the playoffs as the odds on favorite to win their 21st Finnish title and their seventh in a row.
The last time the Roosters went unbeaten was 2013 and they went on to win the Maple League crown that year.
This may be the most impressive season in their history however. They broke the record for average points per game (52.6) over the 10 game regulars season while allowing 16.6. Their points differential of +360 is also a record. The offense pulled this off even though starting quarterback Brandon Connette, the league’s leading passer, sat for most of the second half in many games.
Head coach Juha Hakala:
“We have high-quality players, and against each team we find good matchups. It is difficult to defend us. Our backup offense was almost as good as the first team. We had more speed on offense than last year creating vertical threats and opening up lots of room.”
Connette threw four touchdown passes to raise his total for the season to 43, the highest in seven years. In 2011, Dan Selway who played for Lappeenranta Rajaritarit, threw 54 touchdown passes.
Given the fact that Connette was pulled so often in blowout games, his numbers are impressive according to Hakala:
” He has played a total of just five games. Brandon is an extremely skilled and versatile quarterback. The best I’ve seen in Europe.”
Two of the touchdowns in the win over the Royals were caught by Connette’s brother, Adam, giving him 17 for the season, the highest total in four years in the Maple League.
The Roosters cruised out to a 27-3 lead in the third quarter before the Royals finally found the end zone. Wasa scored two fourth-quarter touchdowns but by then, Helsinki was substituting liberally.
Helsinki now moves on to the semifinals this coming weekend where they will face the fourth place Porvoo Butchers. The Royals will take on the second place Kuopio Steelers in the other semifinal matchup.
Check out the game highlights here.