PREVIEW: Swedish Super Series Final XXIX – Carlstad Crusaders v. Örebro Black Knights

Swedish Title Game a Rematch of 2013 Final!

The Swedish championship game this Sunday, September 7th, featuring the reigning champions, the Carlstad Crusaders, who steamrollered the league in 2014, aiming for a perfect season, and their opponents from 2013, the Orebro Black Knights who have not beaten Carlstad since 1999, promises to be a thriller. Super Series – SM-Final XXIX at Tele2 Arena in Stockholm.

The game will be televised nationally in Sweden. Game time is 2 p.m. local Swedish time (8 a.m. EST).  The Swedish television channel TV4 will be broadcasting the game live for those in Sweden HERE.

PREVIEW

Carlstad boasted the top offense in Sweden in 2014 scoring an average of 58.8 points per game and 523 yards per game but the Black Knights had the best overall defense allowing only 266 yards per game. Carlstad relies heavily on the run accumulating 219 yards per game on the ground, although the Black Knights were second with 198 a game.

The two teams met twice in the regular season and Carlstad won both contests handily beating Orebro 42-9 at home  and then handing them a 48-20 beating in Orebro three weeks ago. However, a look at the stats from each game tell an interesting story. Carlstad had a combined 380 yards on the ground and scored seven touchdowns rushing while Orebro rushed for 168 yards and no touchdowns. The tale is slightly different in the air with Orebro amassing 524 yards passing in the two games and three touchdowns. Carlstad’s passing yardage was slightly less as they had 438 total passing yards and four touchdowns.

They are Sweden’s two top teams in creating turnovers with Orebro having a +18 rating and Carlstad +16.

Carlstad Ready to Repeat

Carlstad quarterback Anders Hermodsson gave opponents fits during the season both with his arm and legs. He led the league in passing throwing for 3,038 yards and 41 touchdowns and was sixth in rushing with 596 yards gained and 17 touchdowns. He is a force for Orebro’s front four to reckon with. Running back Brett Koepp led the league in rushing yards gaining 705 yards on 67 carries while his backup Christian Forsman rushed for 476 yards. Hermodsson’s favorite target is Team Sweden wide receiver Fredrik Isaksson who at 6’5″ and 200 lbs is tough for defensive backs to deal with.

The Crusader defense is anchored by linebacker Christian Kuylenstierna who led the team and the league in tackles with 74.

Black Knights Seek Revenge

Orebro’s offense finished third in the league averaging 418.3 yards per game. The Black Knights also had the league’s best defense allowing 266 yards every game.

Black Knights’ quarterback Joe Clancy (replacing the injured Andrew Shoop) has only played three games so far, two regular season games and last week’s playoff win against the Royal Crowns. Nevertheless, he has put up impressive numbers and with receivers like Johan Stal and Strahinja Stepovic  who had 156 yards against Carlstad in the final regular season game, he can cause problems for the Carlstad secondary. The Black Knights’ running backs boast Team Finland starter Veikko Lehtonen (79.4 yards per game) and Filip Bäckström (67.1). Örebro’s biggest test will be finding an early rhythm. The Crusaders have a habit of jumping out to early big leads  and forcing turnovers.

Orebro linebackers Mike Hicks, Olle Balksäter, Anton Källvik and Filip Jönsson are a highly talented group but, like last week, the Black Knights front four have to get pressure on Anders Hermodsson. Team Sweden’s Aleksi Nyström has returned to the lineup.

Carlstad enters the game as the favorite but the Orebro Black Knights were in the same position in last season’s title game and pushed the Crusaders to the limit before losing 47-25.

Roger Kelly
Roger Kelly is an editor and a writer for AFI. A former PR Director the B.C. Lions of the Canadian Football League for 7 years, he now lives in Sweden writing about and scouting American Football throughout the world.
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