Amsterdam Crusaders Win Tulip Bowl XXXI, First Dutch Title Since 2010

The Amsterdam Crusaders picked off Alphen Eagles quarterback Richard Bouthorn twice and totally stymied the Alphen offense in rolling to a 21-6 victory in Tulip Bowl XXXI, regaining the crown they had not won since 2010.

As a packed stadium looked on, the two teams, who were facing each other for the fourth time in five years, battled to the very end.

Both teams started off tentatively, feeling each other out. But Crusaders quarterback Joey Kraan soon found his rhythm in the first quarter and despite having a touchdown called back due to a penalty, he rebounded and found receiver Dylan von Gerhardt in triple coverage for the game’s first, spectacular touchdown.

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With Amsterdam fans on their feet, two series later Crusaders corner Nicky Bakker read Eagles quarterback Bouthoorn perfectly and picked him off taking the ball all the way to the end zone to extend the Crusader lead to 14-0.

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Bakker’s TD

As dark clouds gathered in the sky late in the second quarter, the mood seemed to take over the Alphen bench and a few minutes later the skies broke forcing both teams into the dressing room for an unwanted 30 minute break.

The Crusaders opened the second half the same way they finished the first as Kraan was on target with his throws. Receiver Fran Van Berkum found himself free in the end zone and Kraan hit him with the game’s third touchdown pass giving Amsterdam a seemingly insurmountable lead heading into the fourth quarter.

Alphen finally got a chance to get back into the game, when Bouthorn tossed a long ball to Ananias Semedo who took it all the way down to the Crusader three yard line. But the Crusader defense was undaunted and finally forced a turnover on downs. Nevertheless, with five minutes left in the game Semedo caught his second long ball of the afternoon, this time zigzagging his way into the endzone to put Alphen on the scoreboard.

Unfortunately it was too little too late and Amsterdam held on preventing the Eagles from “four-peating” and giving them their first Tulip Bowl title in five years.

Needless to say, Crusader quarterback Joey Kraan was happy with the win:

“This is unbelievable. Each year we kept getting closer and now we finally can hold the Tulip Bowl. This was no easy victory and it proved how well we prepared for the game. We will long remember this one.”

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Alphen head coach Errol Zeefuik was philosophical about the loss:

“Even though you have won a championship three times in a row, this does not automatically mean you will win the fourth.”

Richard Bouthoorn felt that the Eagles only had themselves to blame:

“We took this too lightly. Everyone just assumed we would win it but that is not the case. We need a 100 percent commitment from everyone. That is the way to build chemistry. If you don’t you will not click together.”

This was the 17th Tulip Bowl victory for the Crusaders since the game’s inception in 1985 which is by far the most by any team in history. They have appeared in the game 25 times. Alphen has made it to the final five times and won three.

With thanks to Perry Hendricks of for the article.

Photo credits: Sander Evenwel

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.