Sweden captures gold in Danish downpour

Team Sweden adapted to the weather and in a downpour downed a feisty Danish squad 26-14 to win the IFAF NY European Junior championship and earn a berth in the World Junior championship next year.

Gentofte Stadium outside of Copenhagen, Denmark was transformed into a quagmire in the second quarter and the Swedes handled it better with their size.

Running-back-turned quarterback, Jonathan Gustafsson was named game MVP after carrying the ball 33 times for 135 yards and scoring a decisive touchdown. Michael Cox Jr, star of Sweden’s opening win over Finland, threw for one touchdown and ran for another while Carl Görranson and Axel Ripa also scored for Team Sweden.

Danish linebacker David Tawake Christoffersen recorded an amazing 16 tackles to earn MVP honors for Team Denmark. Lasse Engel returned a kickoff for a touchdown while Nicholas Kaplan caught a touchdown pass from Mads Hagen Jakobsen to account for Denmark’s scoring, which was all in the first quarter.

Team Sweden continued where they left off against Finland scoring on their first two drives as Göransson took the ball in from the 43 yard line to open the scoring. After Sweden held the Danish offense in check, Cox connected with Ripa and Sweden went up 12-0.

But the Danish special teams kicked into action at this point with Engel returning the ensuing kickoff for a touchdown. And then Danish defensive lineman Joakim Juul Ladefoged partially blocked a punt on the next series giving Denmark excellent field position. The Danes took full advantage with Kaplan hauling in a touchdown pass three plays later and suddenly the tables had turned and Denmark held a 14-12 lead, as the second quarter started.

Then came the rain. This wasn’t just rain. This was a torrential downpour that shut down the passing game.

Sweden was the first to take advantage with Cox Jr taking off for a 43 yard touchdown midway through the quarter, restoring the Swedish lead, 18-14.

And then Swedish offensive coordinator Aaron Fiddler (Orebro Black Knights head coach) made full use of his size advantage on the offensive line adding a double tight formation and big men in the backfield for blocking and inserting Gustafsson at quarterback. Behind the huge line and tight ends, Gustafsson simply ran the ball. Inside the tackles. For the rest of the game.

Sweden kept pounding the ball inside. Gustafsson would dart right or left but always behind a massive lineman or two. Denmark’s offense sputtered in the heavy downfall and Sweden’s size advantage up front took its toll.

Gustafsson scored early in the fourth and with Denmark unable to move the ball successfully, Sweden simply marched, controlling the ball the rest of the game, earning them the win and a ticket to the World Championships.




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