Saturday, the Helsinki Roosters take on the Wasa Royals in the Maple Bowl. There are so many stars involved in this game, I just had to get some of their views on the matchup. Today we will hear from Royals running back Joakim Jakobsson.
48 rush attempts, 164 yards
15 receptions, 157 yards
You are one of the original Royals players. What does it feel like to be playing in the Maple Bowl after all your hard work to get here?
It very nice that we have made it to the Maple Bowl. For the organization it is a big milestone, but for the team and the players the only thing that matters is the win. We didn’t come for the Maple Bowl event, we came to win the championship and be a great team. We have grinded hard for 5 long years and it has been a privilege to be part of this teams journey from the start in 2013. We have a lot of players in our team that haven’t won a championship even though they have played for many years. We want to win it for them and for us.
Technically a fullback, you are active in the run game, but also a capable pass catcher. Do you think the Royals run game or pass game will make the difference in this big game?
We haven’t used our run game very much this season but that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist. One reason for that is that me and Tom Suoste have been injured on different occasions, but the biggest reason is that we have a great quarterback that can throw accurate passes to our top notch reciever squad. We will take what the Roosters defense gives us in the Maple Bowl. By air or ground doesn’t matter. Only thing that matters is first downs and touchdowns, and in the end the W.
Besides the rainy game against the Turku Trojans, the Wasa Royals have been playing great the last two months. How has the momentum helped you have confidence against the Roosters?
We have great talent on our team and it took a while to get our game flowing. Last year we had difficulties winning tight games but this year we have won the tight games which have boosted our confidence a lot. We know that no one can keep up with us when we play at our highest level. They must come up to our level if they want to compete with us. The win we had over the Roosters in the regular season just showed what we can do when we play at our level. Even though we won that game we still made a lot of mistakes, so we are still waiting for our perfect game.
The Roosters beat you, then you beat the Roosters, but now you play in Helsinki for the championship. Do you feel like Roosters have an advantage because of the game location?
No! If we would come by bus the same day it would be an advantage, but we arrive the day before which means we will have fresh legs, we will have a good night of sleep (no kids) and a championship hotel breakfast. We will be able to focus 100% on the game on gameday. At the stadium we will have our fantastic fans from Vaasa (fanbus), our fans around Finland, and the crowd will be behind us because they want a new champion.
Winning the Maple Bowl would be historic for the Royals. What would it mean to you personally to beat the Helsinki Roosters and win the Maple Bowl?
I have sacrificed a lot for football and for the Wasa Royals. All the time away from my wife and kids has been very difficult for me, but especially for my wife that had to take care of everything when I’ve been away at practice or on home or away games. It will be easier for me to justify all the sacrifices to my wife after we win the Maple Bowl. As an athlete, winning the Maple Bowl would mean that I’m and we are the best of the best and I can ride into the sunset as a winner. Win or lose, I will play as hard as I can and leave it all on the field.