Wasa Royals, Hämeenlinna Huskies emerging as Maple League favorites in Week 3

The top league of American football in Finland, Vaahteraliiga (Maple League), played its third week of games on Thursday and Monday nights. This week of games All games in the Maple League are shown live through the subscription service Ruutu, and can be viewed after the games as well.

Thursday, May 18th

Hämeenlinna Huskies 50, Tampere Saints 0

The Hämeenlinna Huskies looked impressive in their Maple League Debut against the Saints. Stan Bedwell put up big numbers completing 30 of 36 pass attempts (83%) for 350 yards and 4 touchdowns. Bedwell shared the wealth evenly between his skill position players throughout the game. Running back Arkadi Meerschout led the team with 7 receptions for 75 yards receiving. Roman Runner and Ruben De Ruyter both had 60+ receiving yards and a touchdown catch. On the ground, Bedwell, Meerschout, and Niko Lester combined for 101 yards rushing. The Huskies displayed a variety of weapons offensively and utilized them all throughout the contest.

On the defensive side of the ball the Huskies were a very aggressive defense that tightened up each time the Saints seemed in position to get on the scoreboard. Linebacker Tahj Jones finished with 5.5 tackles to lead the Huskies defense. Roman Runner and defensive back Mikko Isoääntä both had an interception in the game as well.

Highlights can be seen at ruuti.fi Photo Credit: Hilarious Hobbit

The Tampere Saints are accustomed to being the Maple League underdog, but they showed signs of improvement this week against the Huskies. Despite not scoring any points, quarterback Raleigh Yeldell has built some chemistry with his receiving corps. Yeldell was 13 of 24 passing for 149 yards. The Saints relied heavily on Yeldell to scramble and make plays with his legs. At one point, while being tackled Yeldell threw a dart to his receiver to convert on a third down. This play was an example of what is possible if the Saints can stay in a rhythm. The 12 penalties committed by the Tampere Saints often times stopped any type of rhythm or momentum they had.

The Saints defense is a lost cause. Linebacker Tony Ballon was active all game with 10 total tackles, but the majority of those tackles were after decent yardage had been gained by the Huskies. Defensive backs Benjamin Ylipää and Elliott Jeffcoat were once again amongst the leaders in tackles for the Saints defense. Ylipää had 8.5 tackles and Jeffcoat had 6.5 total tackles. As long as these two are making most of the tackles for the Saints defense, they will continue to struggle in games this season.

Key Player Stats

Hämeenlinna Huskies

QB Stan Bedwell – 30/36 , 350 yds, 4 td
RB Arkadi Meerschout – 5 att, 29 yds, 1 td/ 7 rec, 75 yds
WR Niko Lester – 2 att, 26 yds, 1 td
WR Roman Runner – 6 rec, 64 yds, 1 td
WR Tommi Pinta – 5 rec, 48 yds
WR Ruben De Ruyter – 4 rec, 67 yds, 1 td
LB Tahj Jones – 5.5 tkls, 0.5 tfl
LB David Izinyon – 4.5 tkls, 0.5 tfl
DL Rickhard Helenius – 4 tkls, 1 tfl
DB Daniel Mackenzie – 4 tkls, 1.5 tfl
DB Mikko Isoääntä – 3 tkls, 1 pbu, 1 int
DB Roman Runner – 3 tkls, 1 int

Tampere Saints

QB Raleigh Yeldell – 13/24, 149 yds
RB Tuukka Lehtonen – 8 att, 47 yds
RB Matti Airalsinen – 5 att, 32 yds
WR Juzz Tiny – 7 att, 25 yds/ 4 rec 30 yds
WR Mikko Sinikallio – 4 rec, 39 yds
WR Jaakko Koivunen – 4 rec 29 yds
LB Tony Ballon – 10 tkls, 1 tfl
DB Benjamin Ylipää – 8.5 tkls, 1 pbu
DB Elliott Jeffcoat – 6.5 tkls, 0.5 tfl
DB Janne  Moisio – 3.5 tkls, 1 pbu

Monday, May 22

Wasa Royals 40, Seinäjoki Crocodiles 8

The Wasa Royals are a VERY good team. They proved this Monday night at the Botnia Bowl against the Seinäjoki Crocodiles. The final score of this game can be misleading to anyone who did not witness the game. Heading into halftime the Royals were losing 8-6 and did not look like a championship caliber team. Towards the end of the first quarter, Royals quarterback Justin Sottilare was picked off by Anthony Brooks inside the Royals 35 yard line. The Royals defense held the Crocodiles, but an untimely pass interference penalty on fourth down extended the drive. Seinäjoki quarterback Brett Arrivey scored later on 2 yard run, followed by a successful 2 point conversion.

The Wasa Royals defense did not allow any more success for the rest of the game. Linebacker Chris Young led his team with 12 tackles, 3.5 tackles-for-loss, and one sack. Defensive lineman Martti Kass also contributed with 3.5 tackles and a forced fumble. After throwing his second interception, Justin Sottilare settled in and the Wasa Royals started to look like the team that scored 40 points. Running back Tom Suoste carried the rushing load with 131 yards and 2 touchdowns. Sottilare went 15 of 25 passing for 207 yards with 3 touchdowns, and receiver Juusi Kaas had 3 receptions for 65 yards and 2 touchdowns.

Highlights can be seen at Ruutu.fi Photo Credit: Samppa Toivonen

The Seinäjoki Crocodiles showed passion and effort throughout the game. Quarterback Brett Arrivey went 12 of 26 passing for 86 yards and 1 interception. Offensively the Crocodiles had very little room for error against the Royals defense. Seinäjoki made it a team effort adding Cory Magwood into the running back rotation, and also letting Dijon Washington line up at receiver. Still they were just no match for the Royals stout defense.

On the defensive side of the ball the Crocodiles started very strong before being overrun by the Royals offensive attack. Linebacker Cory Magwood led the Crocodiles with 6 tackles and 2 tackles-for-loss. Defensive back Dijon Washington also contributed with 4.5 tackles and 1 pass defensed.

Key Player Stats

Wasa Royals

QB Justin Sottilare – 15/25, 207 yds, 3 tds, 2 int
RB Tom Suoste – 16 att, 131 yds, 2 td
WR Juusi Kaas – 3 rec, 65 yds, 2 tds
WR RJ Long – 5 rec, 64 yds
WR Spencer Cutlan – 4 rec, 42 yds, 1 td
LB Chris Young – 12 tkls, 3.5 tfl, 1 sack
LB Benjamin Snåfs – 5 tkls, 1 tfl
DL Martti Kass – 3.5 tkls, 1.5 tfl, 1 ff
DB Rufail Khalifa – 1.5 tkls, 1 pbu, 1 int

Seinäjoki Crocodiles

QB Brett Arrivey – 12/26, 86 yds, 1 int (1 rush td)
RB Jaska Värinen – 15 att, 33 yds/ 2 rec, 25 yds
WR Anthony Brooks – 3 rec, 21 yds
LB Cory Magwood – 6 tkls, 2 tfl,
LB Juhani Koivumaki – 1.5 tkls, 1 int
DB Dijon Washington – 4.5 tkls, 1 pbu
DB Anthony Brooks – 1.5 tkls, 1 int

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Perfect Pervis is a football enthusiast from Texas City, Texas. Perfect currently resides in Finland, playing & coaching American Football and writing a blog about the football culture in Europe.