Helsinki Roosters stage monster upset, whip Wasa Royals

The Helsinki Roosters (2-2) are definitely back, and in contention for the Finnish title after handing the previously unbeaten Wasa Royals (3-1) an embarrassing 49-13 thumping, Friday night at the Velodrome in Helsinki as Finland’s Maple League winds up its second to last weekend of regular season play.

The Royals had entered the game as favorites after three straight, convincing wins, while Helsinki had stumbled with a 1-2 record, although last week’s 60-12 whipping of the Porvoon Butchers was a hint of things to come.

But no one expected this. It was a shellacking from the opening whistle.

New Roosters running back Mike Gentili made his presence known right away bursting out for a 74 yard touchdown on the second play from scrimmage en route to a 147 yard rushing day. . Quarterback Miro Kadmiry threw for 301 yards and five touchdowns with the other new “old” addition Kimi Linnainmaa, who came back to his old club after the Canadian Football League season was cancelled, also making his mark with eight catches for 198 yards and three of the six passing touchdowns. Arrtu Erkkila caught two more touchdown passes while Ville Karhinen caught one as well. In all, Helsinki racked up 491 yards of offense compared to the Royals‘ 278, much of which came late, when the game was already decided.

Royals star Alpha Jalloh had a frustrating game with 58 yards receiving and one touchdown but 27 yards and the score came with the score already 49-6 with a minute to go in the game. Quarterback Brandon Gwinner rushed for 129 yards and a touchdown, but 64 of that was also late in the contest with the score already out of hand. He only threw for 87 yards completing just 12 of 22 passes.

Royals QB Brandon Gwinner Photo: FSC Media

From the game’s opening whistle, the Roosters made a statement scoring three times in the first half to take a 21-0 lead (Gentili had one and Linnainmaa two)  while keeping the Royals bottled up in their own end for the entire first two quarters.

The onslaught continued in the second half. Helsinki scored another three straight touchdowns (Erkkila, Linnainmaa and Karhinen) to boost the lead to 42-0 before Gwinner finally broke out, taking off for a 64 yard touchdown run with five minutes left in the game.

With the score 42-6, Erkkila pulled down a 16 yard touchdown pass from Roosters backup quarterback Henri Vaananen to make it 49-6.

Jalloh did manage the last minute touchdown but the Roosters did not mind. The game was won and emphatically. The 49-13 score is a statement that no team is safe from the defending champions.

Helsinki moved into a three-way tie with the Helsinki Wolverines and Seinajoki Crocodiles, both also with 2-2 records, for the final two playoff spots. The Roosters will face the Wolverines next weekend in the last regular season game of the year.

Photos: FSC Media

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