Stockholm Mean Machines capture Swedish crown behind outstanding game by QB Mark Pappas

The unbeaten Stockholm Mean Machines were simply too much for the Örebro Black Knights this past weekend in the Swedish Superserien Championship Game, dominating the second-place team from the opening whistle and rolling to a 52-8 blowout win in from of a raucous crowd at Behrn Arena this past weekend in Örebro.

Örebro had defeated Stockholm in last year’s championship 28-14 but this year’s Mean Machines looked a little different after having a perfect 6-0 regular season. This perfect record included two wins over Örebro, one of which was a 51-7 blowout.

Örebro ended the regular season at 3-3 but thanks to an incredible game by quarterback Trevor Vasey, they cruised past the Carlstad Crusaders in the semifinals with a 43-20 victory and went searching for the second consecutive title. Meanwhile, the Mean Machines rode a strong first quarter to pull off their semifinal win over the Tyresö Royal Crowns 35-16.

Stockholm WR Matt Retzlaff caught five passes for 118 yards and 3 TDs Photo: Stefan Akander

When the game kicked off, Stockholm got off to a hot start with Pappas and the offense marching on a 75-yard drive that ended in a 30-yard touchdown to wide receiver Matthew Retzlaff. The Mean Machines defense stayed true to their name and forced a quick punt, which again ended with a touchdown from Pappas a 79-yard touchdown strike to Johan Hallgren. After receiving the kickoff, the Black Knights’ drive started ugly. After a first-down sack followed by an incomplete pass, Vasey finally connected for 15 yards. But the drive ended in a hurry when Stockholm linebacker Roni Salonen laid the boom on wide receiver Johannes Lindeus to force a fumble. Pappas took that opportunity for a one-play drive thanks to a 20-yard dart to Robin Gavelin-Miranda. After another Örebro punt, Pappas took his team down to the Black Knights’ nine-yard line and Miranda booted a 25-yard field goal giving the Mean Machines a commanding 24-0 lead still in the first quarter.

As Stockholm headed into the second quarter, it was clear they needed to keep their same strategy from the semifinal, play good defense to ride this commanding lead out. They did just that as the quarter started with the Black Knights turning the ball over on downs. Pappas then tossed a 43-yard touchdown pass to Anton Blomgren to boost their lead to 31-0 three minutes into the second period.

Then it looked like Örebro finally woke up. Vasey engineered a beautiful 6:37 minute drive capping it with a 19 yard touchdown pass to Filip Wetterberg followed by a two-point conversion. The Black Knights’ optimism lasted for a minute and six seconds. That’s how long it took for Pappas to find Retzlaff in the endzone for his second touchdown. In case anyone isn’t paying a touchdown, that made it an incredible five first-half touchdown passes for Stockholm’s man under center – in the title game. Örebro were forced to punt again and the Mean Machines headed into halftime with a seemingly unsurmountable 38-8 lead.

Coming out of the locker room, Örebro still could not get anything going on offense. However, their defense improved a little with Stockholm taking their foot off the gas forcing them to punt on their first drive of the half. However, they couldn’t contain the Mean Machines offense for long as they scored another touchdown delivered by Pappas who connected with Retzlaff from 16 yards out to extend the lead to 45-8.

Örebro Black Knights QB Trevor Vasey Photo: Stefan Akander

The fourth quarter was much the same as the Black Knights were shut out again although this time they did reach the red zone. Vasey led his offense down into Stockholm territory before fumbling the ball. Stockholm linebacker Adam Westin scooped it up and raced the other way to score, making it 52-8.

The MVP of the game was Mark Pappas. He finished with 353 yards passing including six touchdown passes, all while completing 70% of his passes. On the defensive side of the ball, linebacker Roni Salonen led the team with 5.5 tackles along with the recovered fumble for a touchdown.

This win gave Stockholm their third Swedish crown in five years after appearing in the title game every year since 2018.

However, even with all their success, you can still bet the house that they’ll be celebrating this one for a while.

A current student at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, Jordan grew up playing football. He began writing in high school after creating his own website and hopes to continue his pursuit for a career in sports media.