Just when it looked like the Örebro Black Knights had a burst of life late in the game against the Stockholm Mean Machines scoring two touchdowns in the space of 30 seconds, and were poised to perhaps steal a game, the Mean Machines snuffed it out.
With Stockholm leading 30-22 but the Black Knights in possession of the ball after a successful onside kick, and plenty of time left, Mean Machines safety Ludwig Myren scooped up a fumble by Örebro quarterback Dammy Agbabiaka at midfield and returned it all the way to the end zone, to give his team at 38-22 lead and halt Örebro’s surging momentum.
The Mean Machines went on to preserve the lead and secure their fourth straight victory without a loss in Sweden’s Superserien and look more and more like a team ready to defend their title.
Stockholm receiver Ben von Jagow had a game to remember with five catches for 116 yards and two touchdowns and wreaked havoc in the Black Knights secondary. Jan Weinreich who started at quarterback in place of Tim Morovick, competed 15 of 30 passes for 251 yards and four touchdowns with Edvin Almeida Taborda (3 for 66 yds, 1 TD) and Pär Lindelöf (3 for 21 yds, 1 TD) the other receivers catching touchdown passes. Robin Gavelin Miranda kicked three extra points and a field goal.
For Örebro, offensively it was not the performance head coach Tim Speckman had been hoping for as starting quarterback Jake Sisson, harassed all game long, completed just nine of 21 passes for 83 yards and one touchdown but was picked off once. Johannes Lindeus caught the lone touchdown pass while Agbabiaka scored both rushing touchdowns before his ill-fated fumble. Kasper Wedberg was held to 46 yards rushing on 11 carries.
Stockholm opened the scoring with the offense looking sharp. Weinreich hit Almeida Taborda for a 36 yard gain and then found von Jagow for a 26 yard touchdown just over two minutes into the game.
It looked like another rout might be on.
That’s when the Black Knights changed the narrative. Sisson took charge, engineering a 67 yard drive, finishing it with a 31 yard scoring pass to Lindeus and the game was suddenly tied 7-7 still early in the first quarter.
Then an interception by Örebro’s Filip Jönsson gave Sisson the ball back and he moved the offense into field goal range. Joey Cafferky made no mistake, kicking a 34 yard field goal and for the first time this season, Örebro held a lead over the Mean Machines, 10-7.
That lead would hold until late in the first half when Weinreich connected with Almeida Taborda for a 26 yard touchdown with a minute and a half left in the second quarter and Stockholm went up 14-10.
Then with just 44 seconds on the clock, Weinreich moved the ball deep into Örebro territory, thanks to a 35 yard pass completion to von Jagow and kicker Robin Gavelin made good on a 35 yard field goal to extend the lead to 17-10 as the whistle blew.
The third quarter saw Stockholm reassert their dominance as the defense forced a fumble and a bad punt as well as getting an interception. The offense scored twice more with von Jagow getting his second touchdown on a four yard pass from Weinreich and Lindelöf also scoring, hauling in a 14 yard touchdown pass and the Mean Machines took a commanding 30-10 lead into the fourth quarter.
Thing looked bleak for the Black Knights when Sisson suffered a helmet-to-helmet hit after maneuvering his team down to the Stockholm 40. The penalty on the play took Örebro to the 20 yard line but with Sisson out, Agbabiaka entered the game and promptly scored on a 22 yard scramble, closing the gap to 30-16.
Örebro finally got a defensive break when the defense forced a Weinreich fumble, giving the offense the ball on the Mean Machines 10.
Agbibiaka wasted no time, scoring on the very first play from scrimmage and suddenly the lead was cut to 30-22 with just over six minutes left in the game.
Örebro’s onside kick worked and the Black Knights had momentum going their way. However, with the ball on Stockholm’s 40, Agbabiaka could not control a high snap and Stockholm linebacker Ludwig Myren grabbed the bouncing football and raced 47 yards to the end zone, giving the Mean Machines a 38-22 lead.
That touchdown took all the momentum away from Örebro and the offense was unable to move the ball on the next possession. Stockholm then kept control of the football for the last five minutes of the game and the Mean Machines came away with an important win with several starters missing.
Next up for Stockholm is the Uppsala 86ers on Saturday, September 19. The Black Knights will play the Carlstad Crusaders at home on the same day.