Helsinki Roosters advance to 6th straight Maple Bowl in Finland

The Helsinki Roosters wasted no time last weekend in defeating the Porvoon Butchers 41-13 in Finland’s semifinal playoffs to move on their sixth straight appearance in the Maple Bowl.

The Roosters have won the past five Finnish titles.

Helsinki scored 28 points in the first quarter after falling behind 7-0 and then added another touchdown in the second quarter to take a 31-7 halftime lead. They then cruised to the win, keeping the Porvoon offense in check the rest of the way.

Roosters quarterback Brandon Connette had an uncharacteristically quiet day throwing the ball, completing just eight of 21 passes for 157 yards and two touchdowns. He did not need to be his normally efficient self on this day though as the Helsinki running game was on full display. Jaycen Taylor had 14 carries for 146 yards and a touchdown and his teammate Karri Pajarinen added another 123 yards on 12 carries. Receiver Bernard Luster had three catches for 50 yards and a touchdown, Miro Kadmiry caught two passes for 36 yards and another touchdown and Tim Thomas had two catches for 54 yards.

Danny Farley threw for 165 yards and two touchdowns with his favorite receiver being Mikko Seppänen who hauled in seven passes for 121 yards and a touchdown. Running back Rickey Stevens rushed for 176 yards but could not find the end zone. Daniel Luoma caught the other touchdown pass for Porvoon.

Curtis Slater had two interceptions for Helsinki including a pick six Photo: Salla Lahti

However, it was the Butchers who stunned Helsinki early on, as Farley found Seppänen on the game’s opening play from scrimmage, for a 75 yard touchdown pass. That was a wake-up call for the defending champion Roosters. They scored four straight touchdowns, forcing two key turnovers, including a pick six to take a commanding 28-7 lead by the end of the first quarter. Connette, Kadmiry, Curtis Slater (interception) and Luster all scored.

Aksela Olin added a field goal midway through the second quarter while the Roosters defense rose up. Slater got his second pick of the day to halt the only dangerous drive the Butchers mounted.

The Butchers were able to reach the Helsinki six yard line in the third quarter but missed a field goal attempt. Meanwhile, Taylor scored on a one yard run after Connette had connected with Thomas for a 44 yard gain, and the Roosters extended the lead to 38-7. Olin added another field goal with just over three minutes left in the game to give Helsinki a 41-7 lead.

Farley and the Butchers would not give up though, marching down the field on six play, 58 yard drive capping it with a Farley-to-Luoma touchdown pass with two minutes remaining.

The Roosters will now prepare to face the Wasa Royals in Maple Bowl XXXVIII on September 9. The Royals defeated the Hämeenlinna Huskies in the other semifinal.



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