Iceland: England’s Northumberland Vikings defeat Reykjavik Einherjar as football returns after 3-year absence

On the outskirts of Reykjavik, Iceland, the Reykjavik Einherjar finally returned to action this past weekend after a nearly three-year hiatus from international play. Iceland’s only American Football team hit the field with about 30 players in front of an enthusiastic crowd starved of live football.

The Einherjar, named after the Viking warriors who died in battle and ascended to the mythological halls of Valhalla, took on a similarly named Northumberland Vikings team out of Great Britain. The teams traded blows in the first half as Reykjavik’s veteran quarterback Stan Bedwell, completed a long touchdown pass to speedy receiver Tómas Andrés Kolbeinsson. The Vikings, however, responded, scoring two touchdowns to take a 14-6 lead into the locker room after a run from Johnny Mbuyi.

The third quarter is when things began to heat up as European Hall of Fame quarterback Bedwell found standout running back Sigurður Jefferson Guarino to narrow the lead to 14-12. On the next series, Bedwell struck again hitting Nick Woods for another score as the Einherjar took the lead 18-14. The Vikings answered with a beautiful touchdown throw to Lee Davidson, re-taking the lead, 22-18 after a successful 2-point conversion.

Sigurður Jefferson Guarino scores in the third quarter Photo: Reykjavik Einherjar

In one play, Reykavjik struck back as Bedwell found Tómas Andrés Kolbeinsson once again, streaking down the left side for a 75-yard touchdown. The shootout continued on the next series as the Vikings‘ speedy receiver Jack Mulholland scored on a 70-yard pass to restore the lead, 30-24, following another successful 2-point conversion. Northumberland then recovered their own squib kick and found the end zone once again breaking the game open to 36-24.

The Einherjar, filled with many players going both ways, began to show their fatigue as a dropped pass led to an interception. The Vikings Johnny Mbuyi took advantage, scoring to make the game 44-24 late in the fourth.

The resilient Einherjar were not done, scoring again as Bedwell connected with Tómas Andrés Kolbeinsson on a 55 yard pass and then took the ball in himself to close the gap to 44-32. The Vikings weren’t done though as Johnny Mbuyi added a final touchdown to make it 52-32.

Both teams pose together after the game Photo: Reykjavik Einherjar

Reykjavik’s squad had several standout players including young running back Sigurður Jefferson Guarino and receiver Tómas Andrés Kolbeinsson. Up front, Bjarki Már Gunnþórsson played well on the offensive line. Defensively Nicholas Woods, Sindri Þór Sigurðsson, and lineman Nikulás Snær Magnússon were some of the Einjerhar’s best playmakers. Quarterback Stan Bedwell, in an unlikely appearance, threw for nearly 400 yards and accounted for five total scores.

At the end of the game, the Einherjahr’s Tómas Andrés Kolbeinsson who finished with well over 200 yards, was awarded the home team MVP as running back with Johnny Mbuyi and Jack Molland named MVPs for the visitors.

Overall, the day was a great showing for the Reykjavik Einherjar as the sport continues to grow in a small country. Expect the Einjerhar to continue to improve their team as they look to schedule more international games in the future.

Johnny Mbuyi (Left) Tómas Andrés Kolbeinsson (Center) Jack Mulholland (Right) Photo: Reykjavik Einherjar

Alex is a former professional American football player who is now studying in London. His goal writing for AFI is to stay involved with the game that has given him so much. Alex enjoys covering leagues and players and sharing different football