03.05.2009 klo 21:56
The Tampere Saints visited the Young Trojans for a decisive game that determined which one of the two teams will play in the young men’s national finals. A good crowd of Trojans and Saints fans attended the game and witnessed slightly unusual plays and a number of critical fumbles. The Trojans, almost all individuals nicknamed “Mad Dog” (ask announcer Heikki Nevalainen for further information), played a very run-heavy offense for reasons that will unfold as you read on.
The Saints made no progress in the beginning of their opening drive as they fumbled a pitch out while executing an option play. They recovered the ball deep in their own territory and had to punt. The Trojans advanced the ball using a similar strategy to the one that had worked so well in the Jaguars game last week; RB Ilkka Koiranen running and QB Danny Andersson playing well-timed keep plays with occasional passing plays mainly to WR Ville Vene. They reached the end zone eventually but fumbled, allowing the Saints to recover the ball and take it right away for a touchdown ride. A four man Trojan fire team sandwiched the ball carrier during the conversion to prevent any further loss. 0-6 for the visitor.
The Ref is trying to signal the way to the Trojan end zone, but these guys have other plans.
The following drive introduced RB Sami Toivonen as a ball carrier, a pass receiver, and an over-the-defender leapfrogger. After a couple of runs by Ilkka Koiranen he took over and gradually brought the team inside the 20. Just as the Saints defense was catching on to the system, quarterback Andersson decided to keep the ball to himself and run for a TD. Another keeper by the same man and the Trojans were in the lead. 8-6.
Danny Andersson mambos his way to the touchdown factory.
The Saints continued to employ an option offense and yet again fumbled the ball over the pitch back. Trojan Mikko Hohkuri took better care of the ball and secured it for a dramatic, point-scoring drive. In the beginning of the 2nd quarter, the Trojans were on the 1-yard line and, being reluctant to kick, decided to go for it. The pass was incomplete but Danny Andersson could not get off the ground. A Saints defender was penalized for roughing the passer. The Trojans had four more goes at a TD, but Andersson was injured in the leg and could not play for the rest of the game. WR Ville Vene took over as a quarterback and the Trojans would switch to an even more rushing-centered strategy. It only took one hand-off to score; Sami Toivonen somersaulted over the goal line. Vene, an experienced receiver, assumed the antics of his injured predecessor and played keep plays starting right away; he even broke a tackle on his way for a two-pointer. 16-6.
Sami Toivonen understands the delicate balance in movement that is central to scoring.
Once the Saints returned the kickoff they held on to ball for about five yards until they went for a pitch out and fumbled for the third time. This time they recovered it themselves downfield with miles to go. Trojan defenders such as Ville-Valtteri Suojanen made sure they would eventually punt. The Trojans began their offense with a spectacular bulldozer-style dive by Sami
The sky is hardly a limit when Ville-Valtteri Suojanen secures a touchdown pass.
Toivonen that mowed down some six Saints before finally coming to an end 18 yards upfield! Good thing they had all 11 on the field. The Trojans finished their drive with an equally impressive 30+ yard touchdown pass to Ville-Valtteri Suojanen. The conversion did not go as planned but 22-6 for the home team nonetheless.
Ilkka Koiranen with an alternative view on the game. The guys in the conga line admire his discovery.
You already guessed what happened after the kickoff, right? Yes, the Saints went for yet another option thingamajick but totally blew the pitch out part. The Trojans hardly bothered to go for the ball but waited out until the inevitable punt. Now, what do you know, the Saints blew the snap too. The punter ran after the stray ball, picked it up a few yards from their own end zone and punted it straight out of bounds around their own 16. All it took to score was a few short running plays featuring Sami Toivonen and a final keep by Ville Vene. Toivonen put in another one for 30-6. With 17 seconds to go before halftime and no timeouts left, the Saints were able to surprise everyone and score a beautiful TD with a long bomb to Pekka Kurenniemi. The halftime score was 30-14.
A Saint goes marching down. Ville-Valtteri Suojanen assists.
The 5th botched pitch occurred at a 1st down situation at the Saints own 9. Ville-Valtteri Suojanen recovered and scored; Koiranen made a successful a 2-point conversion for 38-14. A few downs and one broken-in-half down marker later the Trojans regained possession and quickly brought the ball back to where it belongs. The final impressive, three tackles breaking run was executed by Koiranen. Suojanen’s tackle-assisted somersault brought home two more points. The final score was 46-14. The rest of the game was non-scoring. Yes, there was a 6th time the Saints lost the possession of the ball due to a pitch-related incident (Martti Valimaa for the recovery). The Trojans carried on playing a rushing-intensive game with mainly our younger RB Valtteri “Meat Pie” Varjokivi advancing the ball.
They’re begging for Ville Vene to stop but he’s just too damn busy.
The Trojan offense relied much on the quintet described in the report above. The defense was able to keep the Saints from advancing any more than 38 yards (all passing plays; rushing plays yielded only a total of 0). Tuomas Valtonen, Kalle Vähätalo, Eetu Siltari and Sebastien Valtakari stood out as tacklers. Mikko Hohkuri worked hard and was credited 4 tackles, 3 assisted and one fumble recovery. The Trojan offense made 328 yards rushing and 72 passing.
The Helsinki Wolverines beat Vantaa TAFT in a tight 14-13 game and will meet the Trojans in the Championship Final next week.
Story: Jussi Hakokari
Photography: Kari Toivonen