Sweden wins EC gold in rainy slugfest

Sweden takes the EC gold medal in a game heavily influenced by the rain.

Photos: Chris Palmgren / CP88

The game started off like thunder for the Swedish team, scoring on their first two drives. First on a 43 yard score by RB Carl Göransson and next on a pass from QB Cox Jr. to Axel Ripa. With both PAT attempts unsuccessful for Sweden, the score was 12-0. The Swedish offense and defense seemed like a mouthful for the Danes; but football is played in three units.

On the kickoff after the 2nd Swedish score, the Danish runningback and kickreturner, Lasse Engel took the short kick all the way to the end zone for the first Danish score. 12-7.

This would not be the last time the Danish special teams unit would excel. Already on the next Swedish drive Joakim Juul Ladefoged, the long armed defensive lineman form team Denmark, got his hand on the punt, and with defensive back Alexander Mylsted falling on the ball, the unit gave the Danish offense good field position on the next drive.

Three plays and a Touchdown Pass from Hagen Jakobsen to Kaplan later, the lead had changed. 12-14 Team Denmark.

Then came the rain.  

The next score would be a 43 yard rush by Michael Cox jr. with 8 minutes to go in the 2nd quarter giving team Sweden the lead going in to the half.  

Half Time would be used by the coaching staff on the two teams to make the right tweaks to handle the weather. Something the Swedes figured out better than the Danish team did. The Swedes showed up to the tournament with a heavy formation, with two tight ends and four players in the offensive backfield, giving direct snaps to the QB. A strategy that seemed to work well for the Swedish offense in the pouring rain. Especially after putting in RB #25 Jonathan Gustafsson as the QB behind the big o-line they really started moving the ball. Gustafsson ended up rushing 33 times for 135 yards primarily from this formation. Gustafsson ended the game by running the ball for a touchdown in the beginning of the 4th quarter.

By winning the European Championship, team Sweden has secured a spot in next year’s World Championship.

Game MVPs

Sweden: RB Jonathan Gustafsson, 33 carries, 135 yards, TD

Denmark: LB David Tawake Christoffersen, 16 tackles, 9 solo

Scoring Summary

1st quarter

6-0 Touchdown #22 Carl Görranson (PAT no good)

12-0 Touchdown #39 Axel Ripa pass from #1 Michael Cox Jr. (PAT no good)

12-7 Touchdown #18 Lasse Engel Kickoff Return (PAT good)

12-14 Touchdown #7 Nicholas Kaplan pass form #6 Mads Hagen Jakobsen (PAT good)

2nd quarter

18-14 Touchdown #1 Michael Cox Jr. (Two-point conversion no good)

4th quarter

26-14 Touchdown #25 Jonathan Gustafsson (Two-point conversion good)

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Dynamic quarterback led Sweden to big win

Quarterback Michael Cox Jr shined in Sweden’s 61-30 win over Finland.

Photo: Chris Palmgren

Finland got off to the best start, but came up short in the U19 European Championship in a high-scoring game against Sweden. The two teams ran and passed for 13 touchdowns and 91 points combined.

Finland put in a lot of skill and effort, but had nothing that could stop Swedish quarterback #1 Michael Cox Jr who at times looked like a grown-up playing with children. The Finnish defense had absolutely no chance to stop him, when he scrambled.

The Swedish quarterback was voted Man of the Day after a performance that included five touchdowns, more than 350 yards of total offense – in no more than two quarters.

Finland found the endzone on the first drive of the game, when quarterback #8 Viljami Rautavirta found #2 Waltteri Kinnunen for a touchdown, but Sweden answered right back on their first possession. And then the Michael Cox Jr-show started.

The college-bound Swedish-Jamaican rushed for five touchdowns, three from more than 50 yards and added another one through the air, when he found receiver #84 Johannes Lindéus for 78 yards.

Finlands offense moved the ball well and got in the endzone one more time before the halftime break, with the scoreboard showing 33-16 to Sweden.

Sweden got another touchdown in the beginning of the third quarter and 24 points ahead, Cox was put to rest and replaced in the middle of the third quarter by the backup-quarterback and Sweden rotated their players.

Both teams continued to put points on the board, but the Swedish lead was never in danger. Finland finished the tournament with two defeats, while Sweden will square off against Denmark for the European title on Friday.

Game MVPs
After the game the two quarterbacks where chosen as game MVPs.

Sweden: Quarterback #1 Michael Cox Jr. Despite playing only two quarters of football, he scored five touchdowns, rushed for 248 yards on 8 attempts and completed 3 passes for 132 yards.

Finland: Quarterback #8 Viljami Rautavirta. The Finnish player combined for more than 300 yards of total offence and four touchdowns. He finished the game with a passer rating on 118,8.

Who the European Champions will be is decided tomorrow, when Sweden meets Denmark. The game is played at Gentofte Stadion and kicks-off at 18.00.

Scoring summary: Sweden – Finland

1st quarter
0-7 Touchdown, Waltteri Kinnunen 11 yard pass from Viljami Rautavirko (PAT good)
7-7 Touchdown, Villy Tengroth, 24 yards run (PAT Good)
7-14 Touchdown, Michael Cox Jr, 72 yards run (PAT Good)
10-14 Field goal, Otto Laakonen, 24 yards
10-20 Touchdown, Johannes Lindéus 78 yard pass from Michael Cox Jr (PAT No good)

2nd quarter
16-20 Touchdown, Samu Ojanen 14 yard pass from Viljami Rautavirko (PAT good)
16-26 Touchdown, Michael Cox Jr. 71 yard run (PAT good)
16-33 Touchdown, Michael Cox Jr. 2 yard run (PAT good)

3rd quarter
16-40 Touchdown, Michael Cox Jr. 58 yard (PAT good)
22-40 Touchdown, Viljami Rautavirko, 31 yards run (Two-point conversion no good)

4th quarter
22-47 Touchdown, Carl Göransson, 31 yards run (PAT good)
30-47 Touchdown, Markus Haapasaari  13 yard pass from Viljami Rautavirko (Two-point conversion good)
22-54 Touchdown, Gustav Skeppner, 50 yard kickoff return (PAT good)
22-61 Touchdown, Carl Göransson, 2 yard run (PAT good)

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Denmark Defeated Finland in Opener

The U19 European Championship kicked off today when Denmark hosted Finland. And even though the final score was close, the home team was in good control of the game from start to finish.

Photo: Chris Palmgren

After the national anthems was sung and the coin toss was performed by former Indianapolis Colts player Björn Werner, Denmark started with the ball and on the first drive WR #82 Thomas Ashworth found the endzone on a short run.

Finland answered right back with a field goal, but the Danes enhanced their lead shortly after when quarterback #6 Mads Hagen Jakobsens scrambled for 44 yards.

On the next drive it was Finlands turn to get in the endzone. QB #8 Viljami Rautavirta found WR #82 Markus Haapasaari with a 21 yard pass.

In the second quarter Denmark scored twice. First RB #1 Mads Neumann-Pedersen who ran for eight yards and afterwards Mads Hagen Jakobsen found his receiver #7 Nicholas Kaplan in the corner of the endzone.

After a mostly uneventful third quarter, Denmark got another touchdown in the beginning of the fourth quarter when Mads Hagen Jakobsen found Thomas Ashworth, who scored his second touchdown and extended the Danish lead to 35-10.

The Finns tried to create a comeback late in the game and the “Blue Lions” found the endzone twice, but the Danish lead was too big.

Danes: We lost focus

After the game, the Danish Head Coach, Lars Carlsen, said he was pleased with his team’s effort, especially in the first half. But the Danes will have to play through all four quarters if they are to beat the Swedes.

“We played a really good first half, dominating the Finns, but we lost focus in the second,” he said on a press conference afterwards. “We still are a young team and have not played games on this level before, and against a really good team like Finland, you can’t take the eyes of the ball.”

He was happy with the win, but more important the second half was a good learning process for his team. “On this level you’ve to play the game to the end,” he said.

Finns: A two-sided game

Denmark was the best team in the first half but the Finns came back strong in the second, the Finnish Head Coach Tero Virtanen said after the game.

“We started slow and dug ourselves in a hole in the first half. Down 18 point we fought back. Fighting like we should’ve done in the first,” he said.

Game MVPs

Game MVP from Denmark: RB #1 Emil Neumann-Pedersen. The Danish running back showed speed, strength and agility and his 166 yards on 24 carries and one touchdown, was important for the Danish victory.

Honorable mentions to Danish RB/KR #18 Lasse Steemann Engel who ran for 93 yards on 12 carrieres and also contributed well on special teams.

Game MVP from Finland: DB #41 Mikko Behn had a strong performance with two interceptions.

The next game for Finland is tomorrow, Thursday at 15.00, when the play their archrivals from Sweden. Denmark has a resting day before they meet Sweden on Friday at 18.00.

Both games will be played on Gentofte Stadion. The winner of the U19 European Championship will book a ticket to the IFAF World Championship.

Scoring summary: Denmark 35 – Finland 24

1st quarter
7-0 Touchdown #82 Thomas Ashworth (PAT good)

7-3 Field goal, # 3 K Otto Laakonen, 36 yards

14-3 Touchdown #6 Mads Hagen Jakobsen, 45 yards run (PAT good)

14-10 Touchdown #82 20 yard pass from #8 (PAT good)

2nd quarter
21-10 Touchdown #1, run (PAT good)

28-10 Touchdown #7 Nicholas Kaplan pass from #1 Mads Hagen Jakobsen (PAT good)

4th quarter
35-10 Touchdown #82 Thomas Ashworth pass from  #6 Mads Hagen Jakobsen (PAT good)

35-16 Touchdown #36 Onni Soininen 8 yard pass from #6 Viljami Rautavirta (Two-point conversion no good)

35-24 Touchdown, Fumble recovered in the endzone by OL #50 Tony Koskinen ((Two-point conversion good)

  • Photo: Chris Palmgren
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Denmark seeks revenge against strong Finns

Denmark and Finland open the Under-19 European Championship, when the two teams meet at Gentofte Stadion on Wednesday.

Photo: Riitta Rinta-Tassi

Blue Lions missing strong profiles from 2016

The two head coaches must be very familiar with the opponent, as the two teams have run into each other at several occasions. Last time at the Nordic Championship in 2016, where the eventual winners of the tournament from Finland, won the game 56-14.

The Danish team will seek to revenge that humiliating defeat and keep the chance of booking a world championship-ticket alive.

And the blue lions from Finland will be without some of their big profiles from that game, including quarterback Oscar Drockila who has club duty with his Czech team Ostrava Steelers and running back Karri Pajarinen. So, it is “next man up” for the Finnish head coach.

“We are above all a team,” head coach Tero Virtanen tells salj.fi.  “We play two games virtually every day. That’s why it’s important for us to have 45 players in our hands, each of whom can put the ball in any situation.”

Talented linemen on both sides

The Finnish team will instead be led by quarterback Viljami Rautavuori from Helsinki Wolverines and on defense by the 1,87 meters and 140 kilos heavy defensive lineman Aleksi Olavuo also from Wolverines. Also standing out is the huge offensive lineman Mikko Rajala from Turku Trojans. The 18-year old is 1,92 tall and listed at 145 kilos.

On the other side, the Danish head coach Lars Carlsen, is also missing one of his most talented players. Middle linebacker Magnus Vöge, who is getting ready to play his senior year of high school football in Oklahoma.

The head coach must put his hopes that a talented offensive line spearheaded by Kasper Kaufmann Sørensen from AaB 89ers, can make space for running back Emil Neumann from Søllerød Gold Diggers. Wide Receiver Thomas Ashworth from Søllerød Gold Diggers will have to have a good game, if the hosts shall hope for a win.

The game kicks off at 12.00 at Gentofte Stadium, Ved Stadion 10, 2820 Gentofte. 

Tickets can be purchased at daff.safeticket.dk or in the door. If you can’t get to Gentofte Stadium don’t worry, all the matches are streamed live on Zibrasport.dk/daff/live/

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