Showdown in Sweden as Carlstad Crusaders host Örebro Black Knights in regular season finale

The Carlstad Crusaders enter the final regular season game of the 2017 Swedish Superserien tonight, June 21 in Carlstad, looking to remain undefeated as they prepare for the playoffs. Their opponents at Tingvalla, the second place Örebro Black Knights have other plans. They would like to erase the memory of a 34-0 blanking at the hands of the Crusaders a month ago and finish the regular season as a true contender for the Swedish title.

The two teams were in the same situation a year ago. Carlstad had handed the Black Knights a whipping early in the season. In the second contest, Carlstad needed a last second defensive stop on a two-point conversion to win the game 35-34.

A win by the Crusaders would leave them with a 10-0 and undefeated for the third time in four years during the regular season.

Carlstad boasts the best offense in Sweden averaging 48.2 yards per game while the Black Knights aren’t far behind at 45. Defensively, the Crusaders also top the list having given up only 46 points in nine games. Örebro again is second surrendering an average of 7.8 points a game.

Carlstad WR/ DB Alpha Jollah is always dangerous Photo: Tommy Andersson

Carlstad quarterback Phil Juhlin has dominated the passing statistics in 2017 and leads the league for the second year in a row, with 2,301 yards and 31 touchdown passes. Corbin Lawler of the Black Knights is third on a run-first team with 1,222 yards and 17 touchdowns.

Örebro’s backfield tandem of Kasper Wedberg and Marcus Hudritsch are second and third in rushing in Sweden with a game remaining while their counterparts on Carlstad, Christian Forsman and Victor Toresson are fourth and fifth.

The difference is in the air as Carlstad’s Jacob Dahre and Marcus Johnson are numbers one and two in receiving yardage while no Black Knights receivers are among the top five.

Defensively, Carlstad is tough to deal with. Linebacker Christian Kuylenstjerna leads a front seven that puts relentless pressure on quarterbacks and running backs. Örebro’s offensive line needs to be able to handle that pressure better than they did in the second half in the loss at home. Crusaders defensive lineman Ove Flemstrom was a nightmare for Lawler in that game.

Nevertheless, Örebro was able to move the ball in the first half, and reached the red zone three times without scoring. That was a factor as Carlstad was able to make big plays in response.

Black Knights DB/KR Danny Wynne Photo: Tommy Andersson

Örebro linebackers Eric and Josh Murphy lead a speedy defensive front seven while safety Danny Wynne forces quarterbacks to keep a eye out all the time. Wynne’s kick return skills are superb and he can give the Black Knights excellent field position.

The joker for Carlstad is wide receiver/safety Apha Jollah. Since arriving six weeks ago he has had an impact. Left in man-to-man coverage situations he is deadly and in the secondary he is a true ball hawk.

This may be the game of the year in Sweden and a prelude to the Swedish championship game

Photos: Tommy Andersson




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.