31.05.2004 klo 11:07
The Maple League's 25th season opened Saturday afternoon, 29 May, with the Trojans hosting the Pori Bears. The Trojans came away with the victory, 24-7 (10-0 at half-time).
The Trojans played the game without either of their American players, although both are scheduled to arrive in Turku by the middle of this week. Many of the Trojans players had the chance to play on both sides of the ball for this game, due to injuries to several key players.
Place kicker Jukka Satola opened the scoring for the new season with a 39 yard field goal early in the first quarter. Satola also played receiver and randomly on the defensive side of the ball as well. He would later help to break the game open at the end of the third quarter with the score 17-7. Satola's perfectly timed onside kick was brilliantly recovered 25 yards down field by J-P Nummi.
Running back Tuomas Niemelä scored two rushing touchdowns and lead the Trojans' ground attack with a handful of excellent runs. Credit must also be given to the team's offensive line play, in spite of having only two regular starters on the field, the run blocking was in fine form.
Receiver Pekka Piminäinen was drafted in to the starting quarterback role, and played a fine game - his first as a quarterback. His four yard scoring run on a quarterback sneak mid way through the fourth quarter sealed the victory for the Trojans.
The real key to the victory was the play of the defense, which kept the Bears passing game in check. The highlight of the Trojan's pass defense was an interception by defensive lineman Mika Paasi, at the end of the first half.
When the Bears succeeded in completing any passes, their receivers immediately had the hit put on them by defensive backs J-P Nummi, Mikko Virolainen or Seikko Vennelä.
The game MVP award went to middle linebacker Janne Salonen.
The Trojans' next game will be played away against the Seinäjoki Crocodiles, Saturday, 05 June. Kickoff is at 16.00.