Friday Night Maple League: Porvoo Butchers vs Vantaa Taft

Somebody had to win the game! Friday night the Porvoo Butchers hosted Vantaa Taft in a clash of the completely defeated as both teams entered the game with 0 wins in the Maple League thus far. Weather was overcast and eventually the rain came pouring down, but it was worth it to see these two teams play some good football.

Highlights can be seen at ruutu.fi
Highlights can be seen at ruutu.fi

Better Late than Never

So it took 4 games to get their first win, but the Butchers showed incredible resolve to finish this game, coming out on top 17-14 in the last seconds of the game. There is a silver lining here for Vantaa’s team, despite the devastating loss. TAFT thoroughly dominated this game statistically but had two key drives in the 3rd quarter result in no points, including a 9 minute, 65 yard drive that ended with a missed field goal. Taft is getting better each week and will figure out how to win before this season is over.

 

The Good

Cole Webb29/39, 290 yards, 1 td, 1 int

 

Photo courtesy of FSC Media

Cole Webb put the TAFT offense on his back and said “He aint heavy“!!! Webb managed the game like a general in the service, and when plays needed to be made, he made them! I witnessed this young man dive head first for a first down with no regard for his body, as well as go air born for the pylon late in the game for the go ahead score(I know he scored, but Maple League referees are not up to snuff yet)! Cole Webb is a fighter and I’m sure after this midsummer break he will have Vantaa on the right path to success.

 

 

Jim Barry6.5 tkls, 1 td

Mr. Barry had to have more than 7 tackles, the guy was EVERYWHERE! The TAFT defense was flying around all game, but most plays ended when #3 got near the ball. The most amazing part about Jim’s performance is that in the second half he stepped in on offense to help give both the running and passing game some extra blocking. Then late in the 4th quarter, he was given the reward of pounding in a 1 yard touchdown. It was a pleasure to watch Jim Barry grind all game on both sides of the ball doing the dirty work that TAFT needed.

Michael Galantini – 8 tkls, 2 tfl

 

Photo courtesy of Sami Ranta

Michael Galantini was his usual dominant self. In the Butchers 3-4 defense he is the perfect model for a nose guard who can make trouble for any offensive line. The TAFT running game was nonexistent all game because Big Mike was controlling the line of scrimmage. Late in the game when Vantaa abandoned the run game, he played some defensive end to help put pressure on Webb. Galantini will always make the Butchers defense formidable.

 

 

Kemani Jones – 17 att, 99 yds

 

Photo courtesy of FSC Media

Kemani Jones is a caged beast. When allowed to roam freely he is as dangerous as any player I’ve ever seen, the problem is the Butchers utilize him too sparingly for him to dominate the game as he should. Jones had some incredible runs in this game when the opportunities were there and made the most of them. There was one point when he ran so fast his shoe came off! Unleash the Beast!!

 

 

Joel Sisler9 rec, 140 yds, 1 td

 

Photo courtesy of Sami Ranta

Sisler is an outside linebacker, so they say. In my personal opinion Sisler is the best player on the TAFT roster and needs to be utilized as such. Early in the game Joel caught a 30 yard touchdown(30 yards of yac) pass and it just never stopped. Using the comeback route to perfection he created separation from the undersized Butchers cornerbacks all game. For some reason in the 3rd quarter Vantaa decided to keep him out on the offensive side as they saw two drives end in nothing on the scoreboard. I know managing a two-way player is difficult, but Stokes better figure it out if he wants to win some games. Late in the 4th quarter when the game was on the line and TAFT needed to score guess who came in to run drag routes, post routes, comebacks, corner routes, and whatever else routes Webb needed? Yep, the last scoring drive for Vantaa was the “Give it to Joel” show! I know TAFT has other offensive weapons ( Cedric Johnson, André Dahlman, Jim Barry, Jani Luiro, & Tyrwone Still), but if you wanna win put Sisler in!!!

 

 

 

Mikko Seppänen – 4 rec, 52 yds, 1 td, 4tkls, 2 pbus, 1 int

 

Photo courtesy of FSC Media

Mikko is the golden child of the Porvoon Butchers and showed why on Friday night. An overall great athlete, he was asked to play cornerback in the second half of the game due to injuries. Without flinching he immediately contributed on defense as well as still being the top target on offense. The 4th quarter alone was a Mikko Seppänen highlight reel. It started with a dropped interception that would have meant six points for the butchers and sealed the game midway through the 4th quarter, but I will give him a pass on it since it was extremely wet and he wasnt accustomed to intercepting passes, yet. With 15 seconds left in the game, Mikko makes a diving catch in the end zone to put the Butchers ahead 17-14. The crowd was not very big, but that small stadium EXPLODED when the golden child saved the game! First play of the TAFT rebuttal happens to be a tipped pass which ends in a Mikko Seppänen interception! So just a quick recap, this guy makes the go ahead score, then follows it up with the game sealing interception? Yea, that’s what happened Friday in Porvoo!!

 

 

Photo courtesy of Sami Ranta

 

 

 

The Bad

Trevor Vasey – 12/33, 130 yds, 1 td, 1 int

Both teams played well during this game, but Vasey was the weakest link on the field. Early in the game, the Butchers strategy looked good balancing the pass with the run so Jones could be effective. Of course there were a few drops as they had an outrageous amount of 10 the week before. But I paid close attention to the drops in this game, the receivers are to be blamed, but at some point you have to realize that the quarterback has to get on the same page with them. Vasey has a very high slingshot release that hides the ball until its pretty much  on you, which lead to dropped balls as the receivers just didn’t have the reflexes to make the catches in that short amount of time. For a baseball pitcher this is a great release, not so much for a quarterback. A real positive I noticed was that when the offensive line gave Vasey a clean pocket he was much more consistent in finding the open receivers down field, which led to some successful plays. I’m 100% sure the weather played a factor as well since pretty much all of his passes in the second half(after it started to pour down raining) were quacking their way to receivers. What was disturbing was the inconsistency Vasey had in the 4th quarter when the team needed him to step up most. There were times where instead of taking drop back steps, he just back pedaled then set up to throw. He began looking down receivers at the beginning of plays and still managed to throw late passes, messing up the timing of the routes. On the very last drive to make th go ahead score, Vasey continually threw the ball high and nowhere near his receivers. Luckily, a few long runs by Jones and a diving catch by Mikko saved him from being the reason the Butchers lost. I truly believe Trevor Vasey is a capable quarterback, but I think his bad football habits will be the downfall of the Butchers this season.

 

Cedric Johnson – Injured in the 2nd quarter . . . Cedric’s injury changed the landscape of the game for TAFT and led to the defensive players(Xavier André, La Trice Little, & Jim Barry) having to help the best they could on offense. Hopefully this is a minor injury and Cedric will be back for the next TAFT match.

Stephen Stokes – Inserted the game in the 4th quarter . . . When my wife and I arrived at the stadium, we saw Stephen stokes in a t-shirt and sweats lined up with his team. I pointed out to my wife that I was glad that he didn’t have to suit up this week. She calmly replied “He’s wearing cleats, he’s ready.” Then we both laughed of course and thought nothing of it. Fast forward to the 4th quarter, and hot damn!! There is #28 Stephen Stokes playing running back as the Vantaa TAFT are trying to win a football game. I know Cedric Johnson went down early in the game, but Stokes had almost no actual impact on the game by inserting himself late in the game. He did have one monster hit on Jones, and punt return for pretty much zero yards, but other than that you couldn’t tell he wasnt on the sidelines still. Just a bad coaching decision by Stokes that leads me to believe he is still thinking about the game from a player’s view, which could be why TAFT has yet to taste victory this season.

The Extras

Tyrwone Still – 4 rec, 70 yards . . .Still played a big part in the passing game for TAFT, make big catches in the middle of the field mostly from play action passes.

Jani Luiro – 3 rec, 32 yards . . . With only a few receptions Luiro showed speed, agility, and insane acceleration. Definitely the top Finnish wideout for TAFT.

Ville Kurvinen – 1 rec, 14 yards . . . Ville was supposed to bring consistent hands to the Butchers receiving corps, and he did exactly that. Ville had a 50 yard touchdown reception in the 1st quarter negated by a holding penalty, which was exactly what the Butchers needed early to gain confidence that passes could indeed be caught. Stat wise he was underwhelming, but he was more of a boost of confidence for the team this week.

Robert Karlsson – 3 rec, 34 yards . . . Karlsson should have had at least 3 more catches and 30 more yards in this game. This guy ran that 10 yard out route to perfection all game to only receive high, late, and wobbly passes that were just not catchable.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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