03.06.2008 klo 16:25
The game between Helsinki Roosters and Turku Trojans was extremely exciting to the very last second. In the end the men from the capital city won the game with a only a three point margin, 37 to 34 (26-27). Key figures in the game were Danny Anderson, playing starting quarterback in the Maple League for the first time in his career, and running back Teemu Pietiäinen with 3 touchdowns scored.
Kaarle Kurkijärvi would make a lousy traffic cop. He loves running against the red.
Quarterback Jayson Davis was unable to play because of an injury to the back of his thigh only a few days before the game. Only 17-year-old QB phenom Danny Andersson was not afraid to take the challenge and in fact made a very convincing debut in the League. 11 out of 20 passes were complete with only one interception. The passes were worth 133 yards and one touchdown.
The beginning of the game was stressful to the Trojans. The first two Rooster drives ended with Sonte Wong's TDs. One of Kari Hytönen's PATs was good and the figure was 13-0. Things started to look up in the beginning of the 2nd quarter; RB Teemu Pietiäinen scored from the 7-yard line. Sonte Wong immediately returned the ensuing kickoff all the way to the Trojan end zone. The Trojans found the technique worth trying themselves, and DB Seikko Vennelä did the same right after. Janne Stenberg PAT bounced in from the goal post. The Trojans were now only 20-14 behind.
Ville Järviö (24) and Iisakki Ullakonoja (28) are eager to join in on Sonte Wong's (18) conga line.
The Trojans began to dominate. WR Johnell Wyatte caught Danny Andersson's accurate pass in the end zone, but the TD was disqualified due to penalties. Soon after a seemingly greased-up Teemu Pietiäinen slithered his way through the Rooster defenses for his second goal that night. Janne Stenberg's PAT was good and now the Trojans were in the lead. 20-21.
Rooster offense was pretty pass heavy. QB Robert Johnson made as many as 52 passes of which 32 were complete (372 yards total). One of these passes was a 13-yard TD pass to Tommi Känsälä, which again turned the table. A bad snap ruined their point after try; 26-21. Luckily enough, our trusty running back Teemu Pietiäinen scored his 3rd and last TD in the end of the 2nd quarter, this time from the 3-yard line. The Trojan defense kept further intrusions at bay so that the team could retire 26-27 in the lead.
Roosters' Toni Luomajoki slipped through our defenses only a few minutes into the 3rd quarter. The red roosters made a successful 2-pointer to compensate for previous screw-ups in the kicking department. 34-27.
From this point on scoring TDs got a tad more complicated. There were last-minute interceptions at both ends to prevent scoring (Seikko Vennelä on our side), and eventually the Roosters started to play furious running game. The Trojans could hold them at the city gates, but Roosters' Kari Hytönen catapulted his projectile right over the wall and between the posts from the 7-yard line. 37-27.
There's nothing Janne "Cantor" Salonen wouldn't do for his team. Here he's giving ballet a shot.
The Trojans were determined to fight to the bitter end. With only 23 seconds left on the clock, Danny Andersson reached Ville Vene in the left corner of the end zone. Ville jumped high for the ball and barely landed in bounds. Stenberg's PAT was good and the Trojans earned the slim hope of keeping the offense with an onside kick. The kickoff was unfortunately a touchback that allowed the Roosters to run down the clock.
Trojan Teemu Pietiläinen (142 rushing yards) and Rooster Robert Johnson (373 passing yards) were decorated after the game. Johnell Wyatte had the best Trojan tackle record and Janne Stenberg was credited the greatest number of catches. Even though we lost the game, there was a number of great elements to our game. Both running and passing play produced yardage and the defense could keep the opponent's running plays in check. Pass defense and general self-control are maybe the things to work on for the next game against Helsinki Wolverines.
Story and photography:Kari Toivonen
English adaptation: Jussi Hakokari