Finland: Helsinki Wolverines explode for four 2nd half touchdowns to defeat Porvoo Butchers

The Helsinki Wolverines, playing without head coach Michael Mattingly, used an explosive second half to pull away from a stubborn Porvoo Butchers squad and defeat them 48-34 as Finland’s Maple League past the midpoint of the season.

With the win, the Wolverines maintained their hold on second place in the Finnish top league with five games to go in the regular season.

Helsinki quarterback Jabari Harris led the Wolverines completing 21 of 27 passes for 273 yards and three touchdowns with wideout Sebastian Sagne catching nine of those passes for 135 yards and two scores. Teammate Martin Emos hauled in six for 55 yards and a touchdown while RJ Long had three for 28 yards. Running back William Young led all rushers with 14 carries for 90 yards and a touchdown with Harris chipping in two more touchdowns on nine carries for 54 yards.

For the Butchers, quarterback Brandon Gwinner threw for 207 yards and two touchdowns while rushing for another 68 and a touchdown. Running back Seth Rowland rushed for 66 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Wide receiver Mikko Seppänen had 123 yards receiving and one touchdown for Porvoo while teammate Daniel Rubenstein added another touchdown on a 20-yard reception.

Wolverines WR Sebastian Sagne hauling in one of his 9 catches Photo: Jari Turunen

Helsinki opened the game with Harris marching his team on a textbook 80-yard drive, eating up seven and a half minutes, finishing it himself with a two-yard plunge into the end zone.

Gwinner wasted no time responding three plays later finding a gap and racing 26 yards to score and close the gap to 7-6.

Harris came right back finding Emos for a 15-yard touchdown reception to cap an eight-play drive and extend the lead to 14-6.

Again, Gwinner answered, engineering a 10 play, 70-yard drive, finishing it with a 20-yard scoring pass to Rubenstein. The veteran quarterback then punched the ball in himself for a two-point conversion to tie the game up at 14-14.

Wolverines RB William Young rushed for 90 yards and 1 TD Photo: Jari Turunen

A midfield interception gave the Butchers the ball right back but on their three-yard line. It took Gwinner five plays to get his team to the 20 but then he broke it open with an 80-yard touchdown bomb to Seppänen to give Porvoo the lead for the first time, 20-14.

This time Harris answered, taking the Wolverines from his own 20 down to the Porvoo 27-yard line. Then he found Sagne for a 27-yard score to grab a 21-20 lead going into the break.

The third quarter was all Helsinki as Harris scored early in the second half on a nine-yard run and then Young punched the ball in from a yard out after exploding for a 30-yard gain on the previous play. The Wolverines took a 35-20 lead into the fourth quarter.

Butchers QB Brandon Gwinner threw 2 TD passes and ran for 1 Photo: Jari Turunen

Rowland capped a 10-play drive early in the fourth with a seven-yard touchdown run to narrow the lead to 35-26 but the Wolverines had now found a rhythm on offense and scored on the next possession with Sagne catching a 15-yard touchdown pass from Harris to increase the lead to 41-26.

Gwinner was not done yet though, taking his team from his own 31 down to the Helsinki four-yard line before handing off to Rowland to again narrow the gap, this time to 41-34 with five minutes left in the game.

This was time enough for the Wolverines to pad their lead as Jonatan El Ouacef finished off a 55-yard drive, finding a seam to score from 22 yards out to make it 48-34 with two minutes to go in the game.

The Wolverines defense then bottled up Gwinner & co to secure the win.

In other Maple League action, the unbeaten Kuopio Steelers had no trouble beating the winless Kotka Eagles 54-6 while the Seinäjoki Crocodiles handed the United Newland Crusaders a 54-0 whipping.


American Football International is your source for news and updates about American Football outside the United States!