Seinäjoki Crocodiles Topple Helsinki Roosters In Finland

The Seinäjoki Crocodiles have pulled off a minor upset in Finland by beating the previously undefeated Helsinki Roosters 27-23 Friday night.

With the win the Crocodiles avenge an earlier 29-27 loss to Helsinki and leapfrog the Roosters into first place in Finland’s Maple League.

Seinäjoki quarterback Justin Sottilare threw for 197 yards and one touchdown while recently acquired running back Steven Strother carried the ball 26 times for 157 yards and another two scores. Strother had helped the Koç Rams win the Turkish league title before arriving in Finland.

Roosters running back Jaycen Taylor had 127 yards rushing and two touchdowns in the loss. Quarterback Mic Brown did not have a great day completing eight of 19 passes for 79 yards and a touchdown.

The Crocodiles took a 10-0 halftime lead behind a 30 yard score by Strother and a Spencer Cutlan field goal. Helsinki mounted a second half rally and closed the gap to 10-7 early in the third as Taylor sliced his way in from six yards out. But Sottilare connected with Niko Lester on a 23 yard touchdown pass to restore Seinäjoki’s 10 point lead.

Finland - Crocodiles-Roosters - 2016 action - 2pic

Photo credit: Salla Lahti

Brown responded by engineering a 72 yard drive capping it with 10 yard touchdown pass to Onni Juvonen, and then made good on the two point conversion to pull Helsinki to within two, 17-15.

Strother scored his second touchdown of the game midway through the fourth quarter giving the Crocodiles a 24-15 lead. However, Mic Brown had found his rhythm and answered with another touchdown drive, this one finished by Taylor who scored both the touchdown and the two-point conversion making the score suddenly 24-23 for the Crocodiles with four minutes left in the game.

Then Strother was again outstanding as Seinäjoki, behind his running and two crucial 15 yard penalties, managed to eat up the entire four minutes and Cutlan kicked his second field goal of the game with no time left to gain the 27-23 win and the valuable two points.

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.