Vaahteraliiga Week 5

The top league of American Football in Finland, Vaahteraliiga (Maple League), played its fifth week of games from Thursday to Monday. All games in the Maple League are shown live through the subscription service Ruutu, and can be viewed after the games as well.

THURSDAY

Porvoon Butchers 31, Seinäjoki Crocodiles 0

Game highlights can be seen at Ruutu.fi       Photo Credit: Marko Tuominiemi

 

The Porvoon Butchers got off to a slow start against the Seinäjoki Crocodiles, as both teams spent the first four drives going 3 & out. The Butchers used a 26 yard catch by receiver Phung Nguyen to set up a touchdown run by running back Darion Hall. The Butchers led 7-0 after one quarter. Later in the half kicker Daniel Luoma added a field goal to put the Butchers ahead 10-0.  After a Crocodiles 3 & out, Darion Hall put the Butchers in good field position on a 27 yard punt return. After an injury to starting quarterback Jordan Moore, the Butchers squandered their scoring opportunity by throwing an interception in the end zone. With 23 seconds left in the second quarter, Daniel Luoma missed a field goal for the Butchers  and the score remained 10-0 at half time.

Jordan Moore returned to the game in the second half and wasted no time making his presence felt.  He connected with receiver Mikko Seppänen on a 34 yard pass to make the score 17-0 for the Butchers. The Crocodiles did not respond well at all, completing their third consecutive 3 & out possession to start the half. The Butchers managed to reach the Crocodiles 10 yard line, before attempting a field goal. Daniel Luoma missed the 26 yard field goal. The Crocodiles were unable to capitalize on this, as the Butchers defensive lineman Ville Kurvinen forced a fumble to get the ball back to the Butchers. Darion Hall wasted no time scoring on a 25 yard run to make the score 24-0. Using a 18 yard screen pass to receiver Anthony Brooks to extend their drive, the Crocodiles finally made it to the Butchers side of the field. A penalty by the Butchers put the Crocodiles at the 21 yard line with a chance to score. They did not score and turned the ball over on downs after a 4 & 6 incomplete pass. The Butchers started the fourth quarter with a long drive. A 36 yard pass from Jordan Moore to Phung Nguyen got the Butchers to the six yard line. From there running back Darion Hall scored his third touchdown to make the final score 31-0. Late in the fourth quarter, the Butchers retained possession for over 5 minutes to finish the game.

KEY PLAYER STATS

Butchers

QB Jordan Moore – 9/17, 163 yds, 1 td

RB Darion Hall – 26 att, 173 yds, 3 td

WR Mikko Seppänen – 4 rec, 51 yds, 1 td

WR Phung Nguyen – 3 rec, 77 yds

LB Sebastian Karbin – 5.5 tkls, 2.5 tfk, 1 sack

LB Niko Pennanen – 4.5 tkls, 1 tfl, 1 pbu

LB Troy Roach – 4 tkls

 

Crocodiles

QB Brett Arrivey – 8/18, 39 yds

RB Jaska Varinen – 18 att, 32 yds

WR Anthony Brooks – 5 rec, 19 yds

DB Tuomas Leinonen – 4.5 tkls

DL Filip Zacok – 4.5 tkls

LB Juhani Koivumäki – 4 tkls

 

SATURDAY

Helsinki Roosters 50, Tampere Saints 0

Game Highlight can be seen at Ruutu.fi     Photo Credit: Salla lahti

 

The Tampere Saints came out hot against the Helsinki Roosters in this game. On the opening drive the Saints drove down the field to the Roosters 4 yard line. Unfortunately for the Saints, the Roosters  “Bend But Don’t Break” defense stopped them on 4 straight downs. The Roosters offense looked to drive the entire field, but the Saints defense did not allow it. A quick 3 & out by the Saints followed by a 3 & out from the Roosters brought the first quarter score to 0-0. At the beginning of the second quarter the Saints again managed to get into the Roosters red zone. From the Roosters 10 yard line, the Saints had a field goal attempt blocked by linebacker Santtu Äyräväinen for the Roosters’ second red zone stop. Both teams traded 3 & outs before Saints quarterback Raleigh Yeldell was intercepted by Roosters defensive back Akseli Olin at the Saints 31 yard line. The Roosters capitilzed on the turnover with a 19 yard rushing touchdown by running back Karri Pajarinen. That made the score 6-0 for the Helsinki Roosters. Later in the 2nd quarter, Raleigh Yeldell was sacked by defensive lineman Okko Outinen, resulting in a fumble that was recovered by the Roosters on the Saints 29 yard line. Again, the Roosters would score off the turnover. This time they scored on a 10 yard run by quarterback Brandon Connette. The score was 14-0 at half time.

The Roosters redeemed themselves in the third quarter starting with a 69 yard drive, capped by a 3 yard touchdown reception by receiver Alexander Wasiljeff to make the score 20-0.  Running back Jaycen Taylor was responsible for the Roosters next points on a 4 yard score, to put the Roosters lead at 28-0. Roosters linebacker Ilya Redin forced a fumble to get the Roosters the ball on the Saints 21 yard line. Brandon Connette threw a 21 yard pass to receiver Bernard Luster and the score was 34-0 halfway into the third quarter. The Roosters would score once more on a 5 yard catch by Jaycen Taylor to make the score 42-0 entering the fourth quarter. The fourth quarter started with Santtu Äyräväinen forcing a fumble, that was recoverd by the Roosters at the 50 yard line. In similar fashion to the previous turnovers, the Roosters scored again, this time on a 50 yard pass from Brandon Connette to Alexander Wasiljeff, to make the score 50-0 with 10 minutes left in the fourth quarter. Respectfully, the Roosters let their backups finish this game that obviously got out of hand in the third quarter.

KEY PLAYER STATS

Roosters

QB Brandon Connette – 19/38, 282 yds, 4 td, 1 rush td

RB Karri Pajarinen – 18 att, 109 yds, 1 td

RB Jaycen Taylor – 5 att, 27 yds, 1 td/3 rec, 46 yds, 1 td

WR Bernard Luster – 6 rec, 63 yds, 1 td

WR Alexander Wasiljeff – 5 rec, 83 yds, 2 td

LB Santtu Äyräväinen – 7.5 tkls, 2 tfl, 1 ff, 1 blk

DB Pierre Couragux – 6 tkls, 2 tfl, 1 int

LB Ilya Redin – 6 tkls, 0.5 tfl, 1 ff

DL Okko Outinen – 3.5 tkls, 1.5 tfl, 1 sack

 

Saints

QB Raleigh Yeldell – 6/18, 75 yds, 3 int/ 17 att, 1 yd

RB Tuukka Lehtonen – 15 att, 61 yds

WR Juzz Tiny – 2 rec 24 yds, 5 att, -5 yds

LB Tony Ballon – 6 tkls, 1 ff

DB Ronny Lehmussaari – 6 tkls

DB Benjamin Ylipää – 2 tkls, 2 pbu

DB Anton Pouttu – 2 tkls, 2 pbu

 

 

MONDAY

Hämeenlinna Huskies 28, Turku Trojans 0

Game highlights can be seen at Ruutu.fi              Photo Credit: FSC Media

 

The Turku Trojans surprised the Hämeenlinna Huskies with good defense in this game. The game started as expected, with the Huskies driving down the field using a wide range of formations and plays capped off by an 11 yard touchdown catch by receiver Roman Runner, to make the score 6-0 for the Huskies. The Trojans showed a different offensive attack behind Finnish quarterback Teemu Thorström that included successful passes in addition to a dedicated run game. But that balanced offense was still no match for the dominant Huskies defense. The Huskies drove down the field using runs by quarterback Stan Bedwell and receiver Niko Lester to get them into the red zone. From there Stan Bedwell connected with receiver Tommi Pinta for a 11 yard touchdown. The Huskies would lead 12-0 after the first quarter. Then the trouble began as the Huskies were not able to score in the second quarter, mostly due to a large amount of incomplete passes. The weather played a part as the ball was wet and very difficult to throw and catch. The Trojans showed signs of life, but were unable to extend drives on 3rd downs, so they posed little threat in terms of points. The one chance the Trojans had to get points resulted in a blocked field goal attempt that was returned into their red zone. But nothing came of that great field position for the Huskies, and they went into half time leading 12-0.

The second half saw the Huskies finally take control of this game. Holding the Trojans to consecutive 3 & outs, the Huskies offense began to get in sync. On a drive that involved all offensive weapons touching the ball, the Huskies used Roman Runner on a jet sweep to make the score 20-0. The Huskies started their next series with a holding call, but managed to convert on one 3rd down and two 4th down attempts to score on a 9 yard touchdown pass to receiver Roman Runner, and made the score 28-0 in the fourth quarter. Penalties kept the Huskies from having an opportunity to score anymore in this game, despite their aggressive play calling. The Trojans gave one last try on a possession where the Huskies committed 3 separate pass interference calls that put the Trojans on the Huskies 2 yard line. But the Huskies defense never flinched as linebacker Tahj Jones led the charge to push the Trojans offense backwards. On 4 & 9, defensive back Aku Kattainen intercepted a Teemu Thorström pass to end any hopes the Trojans had of scoring in this game.

KEY PLAYER STATS

Huskies

QB Stan Bedwell – 26/48, 293 yds, 3 td

RB Arkadi Meershout – 5 att, 105 yds

WR Roman Runner – 8 rec, 86 yds, 2 td/ 1 rush td

WR Tommi Pinta – 4 rec, 62 yds, 1 td

WR Niko Lester – 4 rec, 32 yds/ 4 att, 44 yds

LB Tahj Jones – 8 tkls, 3 tfl

DB Daniel Mackenzie – 4.5 tkls, 1 tfl

DL James Perrineau – 4.5 tkls, 1 blk

 

Trojans

QB Teemu Thorström – 9/22, 77 yds, 1 int

RB Joshua Quezada – 20 att, 52 yds

WR Andy Misiuro – 5 rec, 51 yds

LB Ilkka Koiranen – 10 tkls, 1 tfl

DB Ville-Valtteri Suojanen – 5 tkls, 1 pbu

DL Olli Jokela – 3.5 tkls

LB Fredric Casteels – 3.5 tkls, 2 pbu

PERFECT PERVIS VIEW

Despite the blowout scores, this was not a very good week of football from the top teams in the Maple League. The winless teams in the Maple League seem to be making strides in closing the gap, but were each put away with ease in the second half of the games. I give credit to the coaching staffs that adjusted at halftime to put their teams in better situations for the second halves. This is a great sign heading into week six when teams with more compatible teams face off.

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