IFAF Europe: Helsinki Roosters win North Group; Advance to Final 4 in France!

Helsinki Roosters top Carlstad Crusaders 42-30 at home!

via Helsinki Roosters

photos by Jari Turunen

Helsinki Roosters will travel to Le Mans, France for the IFAF Europe Champions League final four tournament in July.  The Swedish and Finnish national champions had tough and exciting game at Helsinki Velodrom Stadium. Roosters won the final of North group by the score of 42 – 30.

# 11 Jaycen Taylor

#11 Jaycen Taylor

Swedish football power house Carlstad Crusaders started the game strong and at high speed. Quarterback Andreas Hermodsson orchestrated Crusaders a 0-17 lead. Hermodsson was also playing the first violin of his orchestra by rushing to two touchdowns, with rushing 106 yards and passing 335 yards and a touchdown. Roosters came back to the game by scoring two touchdowns during the last two minutes of the second quarter. Running back Jaycen Taylor and wide receiver Michael Aboujaoude scored from Robert Johnson’s pass.

#7 Andreas Hermodsson

Roosters started the 3rd quarter as they finish the second. Cornerback Pekka Rantala intercepted Hermodsson’s pass. Roosters quarterback Robert Johnson also used his feet to keep Roosters offense on the field. Wide receiver Markus Lievonen took Roosters to 21-17 lead by catching Johnson’s pass at the end zone.

Roosters defense was fired up by Rantala’s interception. Defensive tackle Victor Sarvi sacked Hermodsson loss for 8 yards and after three plays later linebacker Santtu Äyräväinen blocked a punt and Kimi Linnaimaan scored a touchdown (28-17).

Crusaders next drive was efficient despite of a holding penalty. Hermodsson kept Crusaders hope alive by rushing to a strong five yards touchdown. (28-14).

Roosters’s running back Jaycen Taylor started to make difference at the right time. He scored an 11 yard rushing touchdown at the end of long drive (35-24). But the game was not over. Crusaders offense walked back to their sideline after six plays and a touchdown (35-30).

The Roosters strong 4th quarter took them to the victory. After wide receiver Kimi Linnainmaan caught a touchdown (42-30) Roosters defense stopped Crusaders at Roosters’s 10 yards line.

#8 Robert Johnson

Head coach Juha Hakala was very proud of his team fighting comeback being behind 0-17.

 “We started slowly and there was not that fighting spirit. We gave big plays to Crusaders whose both fronts were very strong. Our defense change the momentum by Pekka Rantala’s interception and Victor Sarvi’s sack. We didn’t change our game plan but having more depth in our roster started to make difference. Crusaders had players playing both side of the ball.”

 Press conference on the field after the game:

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FULL Game statistics

ALL Game photos provided by Jari Turunen

John McKeon is a former professional and collegiate American Football player and coach now living and working in New York. His goal is to spread news, information, and opinion on the global growth of the sport he loves.