06.08.2009 klo 16:43
The Trojans played a home game against the Tampere Saints in warm but soaking wet conditions. The Trojan fans, known for their loyalty, showed up in great numbers in despite of the team’s poor performance this season. The fans were disappointed to see their team fail once again after a very good start in a game that may have been the most critical one in the team’s recent history.
The Trojans took the lead only two minutes into the first quarter. Quarterback Billy Hart stayed daringly put in the box, waiting for the right moment to fling a long bomb to Ville Vene who was running towards the end zone. Hart let the ball go the very last second before the defenders laid their hands on him. WR Ville Vene caught the 58-yard touchdown pass and for the first time in a long while things were looking up for the Trojans. Danny Andersson held the ball for place kicker Miko Ylikoski and the PAT was good. 7-0.
The Saints first play nearly brought them a touchdown as WR Tuomas Kullaa received a short pass and managed to break loose. LB Sami Toivonen saved the day with his expert tackling. DB Iisakki Ullakonoja caught an interception right after and things were safe for a short while. The Saints got a touchdown soon after but the home team was saved by a penalty. In a while, the Saints’ WR Ilkka Laitinen caught a long pass but fell to the ground only a yard or two from the Trojans goal line. Scoring looked inevitable but, to anyone’s surprise, the ball came loose and ended up in Trojan LB Ilkka Koiranen’s hands with the assistance of Miko Ylikoski.
The Trojans fought hard to bring the ball out of their territory. There were beautiful passing plays featuring wide receivers Juha Yli-Arvela and Ville Vene; a couple of perfectly timed slants plays and a couple of curl routes together with one particularly astonishing QB keep brought the Trojans past midfield. Due to some gross defensive miscalculation, Yli-Arvela was hanging around by the 15-yard line all by himself with absolutely no defenders anywhere near him. Billy Hart was keen to exploit the situation and delivered the ball to Yli-Arvela who had all the time in the world to boogie past the goal line. The PAT was good once again and the fans were cheering for a 14-0 lead.
From hereon things would go all straight to hell. Only a few plays later RB Marko Husu scored one for the Saints. 14-7. The Trojans got close again much thanks to a 42-yard passing play with Mika Sevón in the receiving end. Troy went for a field goal but the kick not only missed the uprights but the ball itself. The next opportunity was missed to a fumble and the Saints scored with two minutes left in the 2nd quarter. The halftime score was an even 14-14.
The Saints squeezed in another TD right in the beginning of the 3rd quarter (Robert Bishop) and took the lead (14-21). The second half presented the Trojans only one opportunity to score. They were able to make their way only a couple of yards from the Saints’ end zone but couldn’t finish effectively. The Saints QB Veikka Lehtonen scored one more TD for the Saints in the 4th quarter for a final score of 28-14.
This defeat was a devastating blow to the Trojans as a team. Chances are that the team will do the worst in the league and get replaced by a successful minor league team. That means that the Trojans may not compete in the Maple League next season for the first time in the team’s history. There are two difficult games ahead and both need to be won. The only thing left to do at this point is to show up next Monday and try to root the Trojans on into a victory.