Helsinki Roosters overwhelm Kuopio Steelers to capture 8th straight Finnish crown

The Helsinki Roosters silenced all the doubters Saturday at Ratina Stadium in Tampere, Finland in manhandling the Kuopio Steelers 50-6 in Maple Bowl XL to win their eighth straight Finnish title and 22nd overall.

The Steelers had beaten Helsinki in both their meetings this year and many questioned whether this year’s Roosters’ team could match up to previous years.

The answer was an emphatic yes they can.

Led by Finnish quarterback Miro Kadmiry, who threw for 195 yards and four touchdowns, and running back Karri Pajarinen who rushed for 81 yards and two touchdowns, Helsinki jumped out to a 30-6 halftime lead and then exploded for three touchdowns in the third quarter while their defense played superb football. Adam Connette caught two touchdown passes while Nnamdi Agude and Alexander Wasiljeff hauled in one each.

Roosters QB Miro Kadmiry Photo: Jari Turunen

Steelers quarterback Seth Peters was held to 95 yards passing and one touchdown while running back Gerard Johnson, the second leading rusher in Finland, rushed for 32 yards. Kuopio’s total offensive output came to 121 yards.

Nevertheless, the Steelers took an early 6-0 lead as Peters opened the game with a beautiful 11 play, 70 yard drive, hitting Jaakko Paananen from 13 yards out for the score. However, the Roosters special teams gave a hint of what was in store by blocking the extra point attempt with Monteze Latimore returning it all the way for two points.

From then on, it was all Helsinki as Kadmiry found Connette for a five yard touchdown pass and then, capitalizing on a 41 yard interception return by Latimore, handed off to Pajarinen for a one yard plunge and the score was suddenly 16-6.

Kadmiry engineered two more touchdown drives in the second quarter giving the Roosters a 30-6 cushion. First Pajarinen scored after powering his way in from the 15 yard line and then Kadmiry connected with Wasiljeff for a 59 yard bomb. Meanwhile the Roosters defense was keeping Peters and the Kuopio offense bottled up, never letting them out of their own end.

The third quarter saw Helsinki’s defense intensify their efforts with defensive end Camille Gruel scooping up a Peters fumble and rambled 37 yards to up the score to 37-6. Five minutes later, Kadmiry found Connette for a 15 yard touchdown strike and the score was 44-6.

Acrobatic Roosters WR Adam Connette scored 2 TDs Photo: Jari Turunen

The Roosters special teams played their part as well with Connette returning a Kuopio punt 52 yards to the Steelers 15 yard line. Five plays later, Kadmiry hit Agude for a four yard touchdown pass and the lead ballooned to 50-6.

With the game well in hand, Helsinki backed off some in the fourth quarter and Kadmiry gave way to back up Henri Väänänen. The defense did not let up though, keeping the Steelers pinned down inside their own 35 yard line the rest of the game.

Needless to say, Roosters head coach Mikko Koikkalainen was happy about the play of his quarterback and his team:

“Miro [Kadmiry] has had an unbelievably great season. He is a great person and deserves this. We have a pretty crazy group of players who had an incredibly good season and made our (coaches) jobs really easy. Our coaching staff is absolutely insane. Kalle Karppinen is such a great defensive coordinator. All the assistant coaches and the players were excellent today. The defense completely shut down Kuopio and after that it was easy to call the offense. Our two lines, the offensive line and defensive line. Yes, they were key units today.”

In a year when many thought the Roosters had slid from their dominance, they turned it all around after losing the opening game of the season to Kuopio.

Check out the Maple Bowl highlights

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