The Helsinki Roosters (10-1) and Wasa Royals (3-8) racked up nearly 1,000 yards of offense and 100 points between them as the Roosters held on for a 49-41 road victory in Vaasa, Finland.
This was Helsinki’s 10th straight win and locked up first place in Finland Maple League.
Led by Adam Connette who was simply unstoppable on this night, Helsinki took a 24-13 halftime lead but had to keep scoring the rest of the way to stay ahead of the Royals.
Connette had 347 all purpose yards in the game, rushing for 170 yards and a touchdown while catching eight passes for 148 yards and another touchdown while scoring a third touchdown on a fumble recovery. Nnamdi Agude hauled in six passes for 65 yards and three touchdowns while Roosters quarterback Miro Kadmiry threw for 271 yards and four touchdowns. Defensive back Monteze Latimore added a 45 yard pick six for Helsinki.
For the Royals, quarterback Diondre Borel had another big night throwing the football, completing 24 of 50 passes for 395 yards and five touchdowns. His favorite target was Nicholas Peterson who caught 11 passes for 158 yards and one touchdown while Aymeric Nicault had six receptions for 141 yards and two touchdowns and Alpha Jalloh hauled in six for 83 yards and two touchdowns as well.
Helsinki opened the scoring when Connette jarred the ball loose from Jalloh’s arms on a punt return, pouncing on it in the end zone with just under nine minutes left in the first quarter.
The Royals responded on the ensuing kickoff with Zach Blair taking the ball all the way back to tie the game at 7-7.
Two series later, Borel hit Jalloh from 16 yards out and Wasa went ahead 13-7.
Kadmiry finally got the Roosters offense moving after the defense forced a Wasa safety to narrow the gap to 13-9. Seven plays later, Kadmiry hit Agude for a 10 yard score and with the two-point conversion, Helsinki went out in front 17-13 early in the second quarter.
The Roosters took a solid lead on their next possession when Kadmiry marched them 85 yards in eight plays, capping it with a 15 yard touchdown pass to Connette extending the lead to 24-13 going into the break.
Wasa came out on fire in the third as Borel hit Nicault for a 70 yard touchdown strike to reduce the lead to 24-20. Six minutes later, Kadmiry found Agude for a four yard touchdown pass to increase the lead to 31-20.
With the Royals defense struggling, Kadmiry engineered another touchdown drive, marching his team 78 yards in six plays culminating it with a 23 yard touchdown pass to Agude and Helsinki took a 37-20 lead early in the fourth quarter.
Borel responded, finding Jalloh on the next series, hitting him with a five yard touchdown pass to again reduce the lead, this time to 37-27.
It was the Wasa defense’s turn to get a stop and they did on the next drive, forcing an unsuccessful field goal attempt. Borel took over and hit Nicault with his third touchdown pass of the day, reducing the lead to 37-34 with five minutes to go in the game.
Connette put a dagger into the hearts of the Royals on the very next play from scrimmage, finding a gap and racing 65 yards to up the lead to 43-34.
Then Borel, forcing the issue, committed his first error of the game, throwing an interception which Monteze Latimore turned into a pick six to give Helsinki a 49-34 lead with four minutes left.
Still the Royals were not done. Borel took his team on an 80 yard drive and then hit Peterson from six yards out with just over two minutes left and the score was 49-41.
The onside kick attempt failed however and Helsinki managed to keep control of the ball and run the clock out.
With the win, Helsinki took a stranglehold on first place while the Royals find themselves next to last in the Maple League with one game left.