Video Replay: Two Terrific Games Wind Up Regular Season In Sweden

The regular season in Sweden wound up this week with two outstanding football games between all four playoff contenders. The Carlstad Crusaders held on for dear life against their arch rivals the Örebro Black Knights and came away with a thrilling 35-34 victory.

Meanwhile, the Uppsala 86ers and Tyreso Royal Crowns staged their own nail-biting season finale in a game to determine third and fourth place with Uppsala finally outlasting the Royal Crowns with a last-minute touchdown to win 31-28.

Carlstad Crusaders 35 – Örebro Black Knights 34

Sweden - Carlstad-Orebro - Koepp - Cullberg photo-2

Brett Koepp was his usual unstoppable self. Photo: Hans Cullberg

It was a game for the ages in Örebro, Sweden as the two Swedish finalists for the past three years waged a war that wasn’t decided until 11 seconds remained on the clock.

Carlstad quarterback Philip Juhlin threw for 336 yards and four touchdowns and power running back Brett Koepp, playing in his last regular season game in Sweden, carried the ball 22 times for 100 yards and a touchdown to lead the Crusaders. Receivers Jakob Dahre and Andre Holgård were superb with Dahre hauling in 10 passes for 146 yards and two touchdowns and Holgård spectacularly amassing 163 yards and two touchdowns on only four receptions.

Örebro’s Johnny Knox was outstanding in defeat with 260 yards passing and three touchdown passes while also carrying the ball 22 times for 72 yards and another score.

The last time these two teams met, the Crusaders rolled over the Black Knights 40-7.

The teams were deadlocked 14-14 at halftime before Carlstad surged ahead 35-21 midway through the fourth quarter. But an untimely fumble by Carlstad’s Josh Hartigan on his own goal line when fielding a punt from Örebro was recovered in the end zone by the black Knights for the touchdown giving them renewed energy.

Carlstad’s offense was stopped on the Black Knights 32 yard line with just over a minute to go and Juhlin elected to “pooch punt” the ball himself giving the Black Knights the ball on their own three with a minute to go in the game.

Knox marched his team on an magnificent eight-play 97 yard drive capping it with a four yard touchdown pass to Gauthier.

Then the dramatics began.

Black Knights head coach Aaron Fiddler went for the win instead of kicking the PAT for the tie. Carlstad stopped the two-point conversion attempt and the game was over.

This bodes well should the two teams meet again in the championship final in Sweden.

Uppsala 86ers 31 – Tyresö Royal Crowns 28

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Ricardo Miller Photo: Moses Sh

The Uppsala 86ers spotted Tyresö two first quarter touchdowns and trailed the Royal Crowns for much of the game taking the lead once and losing it, until quarterback Jared Stegman connected with Chiam James with less than a minute to go in the contest to complete a dramatic comeback.

Stegman completed 17 of 23 passes (74%) for 177 yards and three touchdowns while rushing 17 times for 75 yards and two touchdowns to lead the 86ers in a vital win. Ricardo Miller caught five passes for 41 yards and a score while James grabbed four for 63 yards and two touchdowns.

Tyresö quarterback Alex Niznak completed 14 of 31 passes for 172 yards and three touchdowns.

After the Royal Crowns shocked Uppsala with two first quarter touchdown taking a 14-0 lead, the 86ers had to play catch up the entire game. Still, Stegman pulled his team to within two points and trailed only 21-19 at the half.

The third quarter saw Stegman give Uppsala a 25-21 lead on a one yard plunge but the Royal Crowns came right back with Niznak engineering a nine-play 73 yard drive handing the ball to Emil Knutsson for the go ahead touchdown.

That set the stage for Uppsala’s final dramatics.

Watch a replay of the game here.

With the win, Uppsala will face the Örebro Black Knights in one semifinal in Sweden July 2 while Tyresö will travel to Carlstad to face the Crusaders.

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.