The Örebro Black Knights scored twice in the first half and then hung on to defeat a feisty Uppsala 86ers squad 13-7 in Uppsala this past weekend as the Swedish Superserien wound up the regular season.
The win didn’t make any difference in the standings or the playoff seedings but it was important for a Black Knights team heading into a semifinal matchup with the Carlstad Crusaders.
Running back Mike Gentili played a key role rushing 17 times for 75 yards while catching four passes for 53 and the game’s first touchdown. In other words in played a part in almost half of his team’s 47 offensive plays. Quarterback Jake Sisson threw for 110 yards and one score while Dammy Agbabiaka completed a 25 yard touchdown pass to Filip Wetterberg. Hjalmar Gertsson had two catches for 27 yards and Johannes Lindeus two for 22 yards. Örebro’s leading receiver, Jimmy Palmborg was held to two receptions for eight yards.
For Uppsala, quarterback Victor Ekberg is coming into his own completing 18 of 32 passes for 149 yards and a touchdown with Mattias Gauthier being his main target. Gauthier hauled in six passes for 58 yards and his team’s lone touchdown while running back Oscar Nevermann had four catches for 34 yards and Isac Vikman had four for 33.
The game started tentatively as neither team could gain any momentum until midway through the quarter when Sisson found a streaking Gentili in behind the Uppsala secondary, hitting him for a 33 yard touchdown.
The 86ers were handed a golden opportunity to start the second quarter as Gentili fumbled the ball away on his own 23 yard line. But the Uppsala offense could not capitalize and kicker Alexander Zisoloulus missed a 39 yard field goal attempt.
The game settled into an exchange of punts and field position with both quarterbacks dueling there as well. Jake Sisson got the better of the contest though as he was booming punts of up to 60 yards while Ekberg struggled. Late in the second quarter he had a 37 yard punt returned to the Uppsala 25 yard line. One play later Agbabiaka hit Wetterberg with a 25 yard touchdown strike and the Black Knights took a 13-0 lead with three minutes left in the first half.
This seemed to give the 86ers offense a spark, as Ekberg marched them from the 39 yard line all the way down to the Örebro 25, mixing up his plays, converting three key first downs. However, a false start with almost no time remaining, left them stranded on the 30 as the half ended.
Both offenses had trouble in the third quarter until an Uppsala punt, from deep in their own zone gave the Black Knights the ball on the 86ers 35. Behind Gentili’s running, Örebro reached the four yard line but a Joey Cafferky field goal attempt was blocked with almost not time left in the third.
The fourth quarter followed the same pattern with Uppsala unable to mount a sustained offense. A fourth down conversion failed at midfield and again Sisson and the Black Knights marched down to the four yard line. And again a Cafferky field goal attempt was blocked.
With just under five minutes remaining in the game, Ekberg mounted Uppsala’s best drive of the game, marching them 80 yards in eight plays. He finished by hitting a wide open Gauthier for a touchdown with a minute and a half left in the game to close the gap to 13-7.
Unfortunately for the 86ers, the onside kick was recovered by the Black Knights.
An Örebro drive ended with Sisson’s worst punt of the game and Uppsala had one last chance with 51 seconds on the clock from their own 48. This time they reached the Örebro 28 but a last gasp fourth down went nowhere and the Black Knights had their third victory of the season.
The win did nothing to change the standings however.
The Swedish Superserien semifinals are scheduled for October 10 and 11. The 86ers travel to Stockholm to face the Stockholm Mean Machines on October 10 while the Carlstad Crusaders will host the Örebro Black Knights on October 11.