Midweek Midsummer Clash in Sweden!
The Carlstad Cruaders enter their last game before the midsummer break against the Orebro Black Knights (3-1) at Behrn Arena in Orebro on June 17 with a perfect 6-0 record while only leading the league in two individual offensive categories – yards rushing per carry – Brett Koepp is averaging a stunning 13.7 yards per rush attempt – and points per game as Koepp is averaging 13.5 points per game. He has also scored nine of the team’s 30 touchdowns this year, eight of them on the ground. Otherwise, the rest of the team is performing at an average, for them, level.
The fact that the Crusaders are entering the game with their fourth offensive coordinator of the season may have something to do with the teams dip in offensive power. Current offensive coordinator Rick Rhoades is OC number four following Duke Iverson, Matt Adkins and B.D. Kennedy. And yet the team continues rolling along with head coach Malik Jackson finally seeming to find his footing. Although he will be scrambling for offensive coordinator number five very soon as coach Rhoades heads back to the United States following this game he is confident his team will be just fine.
Jackson’s team is finally starting to click after the departure of former head coach Duke Iverson three games into the season as other players continue to emerge, such as running back Christen Monclair who scored four touchdowns last week against Vasteras. Meanwhile quarterback Anders Hermodsson is beginning to find a rhythm with his receivers.
Orebro enters Wednesday’s contest (the coming weekend is Swedish Midsummer, the biggest long weekend of the entire year which explains why four games are being played in Sweden Wednesday and Thursday) with a 3-1 record and struggling to find an identity. Head coach Randy Beverly arrived in Sweden just as the season started and only had two weeks to get his team ready.
So far Orebro has played the Limhamn Griffins twice and won and then beaten the Vasteras Roedeers, in second to last, 27-20 while dropping a 19-0 decision to Uppsala in their season opener 19-0.
They still have a ways to go. Quarterback Grant Welp is now starting to find his receivers after his offensive line has started to gel. Veteran Johan Stal just celebrated his 100th game in Sweden’s top league and is always dangerous. Meanwhile running back Anton Kallvick is third in rushing in Sweden averaging 74 yards a game.
Other players are starting to make a difference. Defensive end Patrick Nyman, who converted from receiver, is quickly making offensive coordinators take notice.
This is a critical game for both teams. The Crusaders need a win to stay ahead of the surging Tyreso Royal Crowns at the top of the standings while the Black Knights need to find the form that took them to the last two championship finals in Sweden.
The Livestream for this game is of top quality and will even include slow motion replays.
LIVE STREAM: Carlstad Crusaders v. Orebro Black Knights. Kickoff 7p CET (1p EDT)
Anders Hermodsson photo: Tommy Andersson.