Finland: RB Christian Powell leads Seinäjoki Crocodiles past Helsinki Roosters

Paced by three touchdowns from running back Christian Powell and two from Nate Robitaille, the Seinäjoki Crocodiles delighted a home crowd to defeat the visiting Helsinki Roosters 34-13 as Finland’s Maple League opened its second round of play.

Powell was a force all evening, bursting off tackle, bulling his way into the end zone, carrying the ball 20 times for 145 yards and three scores to pace the Crocodiles to a much needed win in a COVID-19 shortened  season. On Seinäjoki’s third touchdown drive, he carried the ball six out of the nine plays, at one point dragging four tacklers almost 10 yards, finally reaching the one yard line. He punched the ball in two plays later. He ignited his teammates and proved to the rest of the league that knowing he is getting the ball is not the same as stopping him.

Spencer Cutlan completed seven of 13 passes for 98 yards and one touchdown while rushing for another 18 yards and punting the ball four times for an average of 39.2 yards per punt. He did not throw an interception, clearly having gotten over his opening game jitters last week when he threw five picks. He was a stabilizing force for the Crocodiles playing in front of home fans. Robitaille hauled in four passes for 60 yards and one touchdown and then scored another on defense (he started at corner) when he caught a lateral from Alex Germany off of a fumble recovery, and raced 85 yards to the end zone.

For the Roosters, Miro Kadmiry threw for 153 yards and one touchdown, completing 15 of 34 passes, but was picked off once. Arttu Erkkila led all receivers with seven catches for 67 yards while Alexander Wasiljeff caught five passes for 67 yards and one touchdown. Antti Lahtinen rushed for 63 yards and one touchdown.

WR Nate Robiltaille heading for the end zone Photo: Marko Tuominiemi

The Roosters looked sharp on the game’s opening drive as Kadmiry moved the ball into Seinäjoki territory and capped the drive with a 35 yard touchdown toss to Wasiljeff.

Two possessions later, Kadmiry was intercepted by Crocodiles defensive back, and the speediest man on the field, Alex Germany which he returned to the Roosters 49.

On the second play from scrimmage, Powell simply broke off tackle and rambled 49 yards to tie the game at 7-7.

Unfazed, Kadmiry mounted a 53 yard scoring drive, finishing it by handling off to Lahtinen who raced 24 yards to give Helsinki back the lead, 13-7.

Cutlan, looking more in charge than the week previous, marched Seinäjoki from the 20 out to the 49 and then found Robitaille open down the middle of the field for a touchdown, tying the game again after the missed extra point, 13-13.

With the Roosters offense now struggling, Cutlan and the Seinäjoki offense gained momentum. Taking the ball over at the Roosters 47 with just under nine minutes left in the first half, Powell proved once and for all he was definitely a factor. He carried the ball six of the Crocodiles next nine plays, bulling his way down to the goalline, taking the ball in to give the Crocodiles a 19-13 lead (another muffed extra point) but more importantly making a statement.

Helsinki’s offense did manage to reach the Crocodiles 21 yard line on their last drive of the half but stalled on a fourth and 12.

Alex Germany avoiding tackles Photo: Marko Tuominiemi

Momentum had definitely shifted in the second half as Cutlan and the Crocodiles, on the second possession, drove to the Helsinki 49 in five plays. Then it was the Powell show again, as he simply found a seam and outran everyone 49 yards for the touchdown increasing the lead to 27-13 (Robitaille scored on the two-point conversion).

Neither team could move the ball effectively after that until Kadmiry finally kicked the Roosters offense into a higher gear, marching them from their own 32 down to the Seinäjoki one yard line. Then, on a third and one, with two minutes to go, Kadmiry tried a shovel pass to Lahtinen that ended up on the ground and Germany alertly scooped it up and took off, reaching the 15 before lateraling to Robiatille who raced the remaining 85 yards to put the game away.

This time the extra point went through easily and the Crocodiles lead grew to 34-13. A final Roosters drive went nowhere and Seinäjoki began celebrating their first win of the year.

Next up for the Crocodiles are the Wasa Royals who they will face on August 14. Meanwhile, Helsinki has a date with the Porvoon Butchers the day before, August 13.

 

 

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