Helsinki Wolverines QB Chris Forcier/WR Sebastien Sagne feeling confident again after win over Porvoon Butchers

When the Helsinki Wolverines, one of the preseason favorites to win the Finnish title this year, walked off the field two games ago after being thoroughly outplayed and humiliated 70-6 by the Kuopio Steelers, they had one thing in mind.

Forget about the game.

Well, they certainly did that this week when they outgunned the Porvoon Butchers 41-20, regaining their confidence.

According to quarterback Chris Forcier, who had a completely dismal outing against the Steelers throwing for just 67 yards, the win against the Butchers last Thursday was as much about reaffirmation as it was about redemption. He threw for 209 yards and a touchdown while rushing for 142 and three more.

“We basically had no choice with a short week and only three days to prepare for Porvoon. For me personally, playing on natural grass, on an ankle that had been bothering me after injuring and re-injuring it, it was a great feeling. I played three quarters vs the Crocodiles and some change. A quarter and a half vs Wasa and one half vs Kuopio but Mike [head coach Mike Mattingly] didn’t want me to risk my ankle anymore. For the first time since the start, my ankle felt good and I was able to play an entire game, also for the first time.”

The tentativeness from the loss the week before was gone and Forcier and the rest of the team looked more in sync than they have all season:

“We are still building the chemistry of this team and with eight to nine new starters as well as a lot more inexperienced players on the team, it has taken a while for things to gel. Learning pass protection is not easy and our o line has taken longer to come together as a unit because of that. But my guys did a great job in this game. And the run blocking was great too. I saw the lanes just opening up.”

Helsinki Wolverines WR Sebastien Sagne draggng defenders to the end zone Photo: Irja Vaateri

This was also a breakout game for wide receiver Sebastien Sagne, the Finnish native who has returned after spending the past few seasons playing in Germany. Forcier and the coaching staff had a plan going into this game to get Sagne the ball more. He only had eight catches and 247 yards receiving in three games going into this one. He matched the catch total in this game with eight receptions for 162 yards and a touchdown.

“For Sebastien, this was a game I wanted to get him a lot of touches. Which included me moving him around some and experimenting with him inside and outside in different formations. He’s a guy that needs to have 8 plus catches a game.”

Naturally, Sagne noticed the difference, but he had not let his lack of touches bother him too much:

“Hey, if you’re a receiver, you just have to accept that and take what you get. You can’t let it get to you. The game before was such a mess and the team did get demoralized. So this felt good. I was actually surprised.  But I did what I needed to do and I’m happy with that. I just want our offense to keep getting better especially upfront since the Roosters game will be a tough one. “

Sagne agrees with Forcier about the time it takes for an offense to get into sync.

“Offensively we are still finding our rhythm and best personnel. Our offense will keep improving and we’ll be getting ready for our next game against the Roosters. “

Helsinki Wolverines WR Micky Kyei eluding defenders Photo: Irja Vaateri

Forcier also admitted they had to find ways to make use of the other weapons in their offensive arsenal, in particular receiver Micky Kyei, who along with Sagne, has had great success playing in the German Football League.

“We had to utilize Mickey more in the backfield with his running ability to balance the offensive production. And we did that some in this game. “

Both Forcier and Sagne concede that almost as quickly as the week before, they need to forget about this win and look ahead to the biggest game of the year coming up for them against the Helsinki Roosters. Forcier explains:

“This win against Porvoon was big for us to get back on track, with confidence on both sides of the ball. We have the Roosters this week and know the challenge that will be with them catching stride at the right time themselves.”

Check out Irja Vaateri’s photography here.

Roger Kelly is an editor and a writer for AFI. A former PR Director the B.C. Lions of the Canadian Football League for 7 years, he now lives in Sweden writing about and scouting American Football throughout the world.