Örebro Black Knights ready to return to Sweden’s elite

After a couple of less than normal seasons, the Örebro Black Knights have positioned themselves as challengers for the throne as the Swedish Superserien gets set for its ‘post COVID-19 lockdown’ season.

The Superserien will be the third league in the world to play a season of football since the COVID-19 pandemic swept across the globe.

The Superserien will kick off the season with four teams – Örebro Black Knights, Carlstad Crusaders, Stockholm Mean Machines and Uppsala 86ers – and will play a shortened season with each team playing a total of six games starting August 22 with the regular season winding up September 26.

The Black Knights suffered through a tough 2019 season finishing with a 1-4 record but that was preceded by a decade which saw the team reach the championship final four times including three straight years, from 2013 through 2015.  Örebro reached the 2017 title game where they lost to the Carlstad Crusaders.

Black Knights new head coach Tim Speckman, a native of Redwood City, California,  and graduate of Willamette University, has had an extensive football coaching career in Germany, most recently as the run game coordinator and offensive line coach for the Kiel Baltic Hurricanes of the German Football League. Speckman had been in Sweden earlier in the year but left for Germany where he lives, due to the coronavirus pandemic. He has been able to return with the unprecedented support of the Black Knights fans who donated money to the club for his housing.

“I’ve been coaching in Europe for nine seasons now. The community around the Black Knights has proven to be a special one. They really pulled together like nothing I’ve seen before to make this season work under difficult circumstances. Not just in regards to bringing me back but on several other points as well. I will be forever grateful for the love and support I have received from this community. I’m just glad we get to play some ball and to have a new adventure in 2020. I’m excited to see how it all plays out.”

With his own situation taken care of, Speckman has been able to return to a semblance of normal football life with an offense led by quarterback Jake Sisson. In the offseason, the Black Knights picked up Sisson, the top quarterback from the Serbian league in 2019, who led the Kragujevac Wild Boars to their fourth straight Serbian title. The 24 year old, 6’0″, 22o pound is a native of Jamestown, New York and was a three year starter for the Edinboro Fighting Scots amassing 8,313 yards passing and 85 passing touchdowns.  He holds five of the top ten single-game total offense records and four of the top nine single-game passing yards records in school history.

“Jake is a smart and efficient gunslinger who can also make plays with his feet. Played at Div. 2 Edinboro University where he set several passing records and had an outstanding career.”

Returning at running back is Kasper Wedberg who has spent the past two seasons playing in France, in 2019 with French champions, the Thonon Black Panthers.

“It’s great to have him back in the lineup. He is a tough runner with great vision and balance. A veteran of European football and a big part of our offense this year.”

The receiving corps has been bolstered with the addition of a pair of excellent receivers, Johannes Lindeus and Dutch receiver Dylan Reede:

“Johannes is a young local talent with great speed and route running ability. He played at City College of San Francisco in 2019 which was recently featured on Last chance U. Dylan is a young player from the Netherlands (Amsterdam Crusaders) who we think will help us be efficient and dangerous in the passing game with his precise routes and strong hands.”

Speckman is optimistic about his offensive line with a couple of additions, Oscar Sunqvist  and Spanish national team member Eduardo Sanchez Gonzalez from Germany’s Ingolstadt Dukes:

“Both players have shown great skill during our pre season and we expect them to anchor the Oline group this year. Eduardo comes to us from the Ingolstadt dukes and is originally from spain where he was also a member of the Spanish national team.”

Defensively, Speckman feels he is lining up a tough veteran squad anchored by Team Sweden defensive lineman Sebastian Nilsson:

Sebastian is a member of the Swedish national team and a tough man to block in the middle. I think he will be a player who can create problems up front for our opponents. Our linebacking crew is also excellent led by Josh Murphy and Filip Jönsson. Both of these two players have proven to be outstanding and tough defenders over their careers both in the USA and Europe. Josh played last year in the GFL for the Allgau Comets and we are happy to have him back.”

The Örebro secondary relies on veteran experience according to Speckman:

“We feel really confident in Eric Murphy, Jonathan Armendariz, and Jacob Wesslén all of whom are experienced and talented players who we will count on to keep our opponents limited in their passing game. Each of them has their own style, but they have all shown us that they will be leaders in our defense this year.”

The Black Knights open their 2020 season at home, hosting the Uppsala 86ers.

Black Knights 2020 schedule

August 22: Uppsala 86ers @Örebro Black Knights

August 29: Örebro Black Knights @Carlstad Crusaders

Sept. 5: Stockholm Mean Machines @Örebro Black Knights

Sept. 12: Örebro Black Knights @Stockholm Mean Machines

Sept. 19: Carlstad Crusaders @Örebro Black Knights

Sept. 26:  Örebro Black Knights @Uppsala 86ers

Black Knights 2020 Roster (Click on image to enlarge)

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