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Familiar Names Keep Their Lead

Week 2 of Men’s Maple League 2024 season carried no major surprises as teams with a win from week 1, Seinäjoki Crocodiles, Helsinki Roosters and Kuopio Steelers, each got another victory. Let’s check a little of each team’s past and upcoming matchups.


1 – Seinäjoki Crocodiles (2-0)

The Crocodiles caught their second win from Wasa Royals in the first Botnia Bowl of the season with the final score of 32 – 14. It seemed like the Crocodiles offense had something of a slow start but once they got their engines running, the Royals’ crowns were far in the distance as Christian Powell, Särkelä brothers and J’Kobi Reddick each scored a touchdownfor the home team. To be precise, Christian Powell got in the end zone twice, and managed to cross the magical limit of 10,000 career rushing yards in teh Maple League. A Great achievement to make for the new dad. Huge congratulations to CP and the family from all of us here at AFF!


It seems more than likely that the Crocodiles can keep up their winning drive as they head to week 3 matchup against Helsinki Wolverines. The back-to-back AFF defensive player of the week, Charles Akanno, will probably dominate the Wolverines’ O-line as we have seen in the past two weeks. There has been nothing wrong with the Crocodiles’ defense behind the D-line, either, with Tapola brothers and Aatu Tuokko among others keeping the receivers on their toes.


2 – Helsinki Roosters (2-0)

The Roosters had a top-tier performance against the Porvoo Butchers in round 2. The game ended with the final score of 28 – 7. Bryce Nunnelly took his place among the big receivers of the season with a hat trick, scoring 3 touchdowns. The Roosters have proved they are a valid passing threat, since the start of week 1. Santtu Vehkomäki, was barely present on the field, but Nunnelly and Rene Rautiainen made sure that Ambro Urjansson had targets downfield. Add Ethan Greenfield and Lassi Pajarinen on the ground attack, and you have yourself a dangerous offense.


In week 3 ,the Roosters will host the Lohja Crusaders coming off their bye-week. The Roosters defense, despite their injuries, has been tough as a rock, especially outside the box. Julian Bell is a defensive threat with 3,5 tackles and 1 long interception return last week. Unless the Lohja Crusaders have managed to gain a significant improvement in virtually every aspect of their game, the Roosters will probably remain undefeated.


3 – Kuopio Steelers (2-0)

The Steelers gave the Helsinki Wolverines a harsh welcome to the season as their matchup in Helsinki that ended with Savonians’ 6 – 46 victory. The quarterback Joshua Taylor has cemented his spot as one of the best ones of the season in his position. The Steelers have a great offensive roster with 6 different players recording a touchdown and each of the team’s 5 rushers averaging 3 or more yards per carry last week. The Steelers will now have a well-deserved bye-week, so we’ll wait and see what tricks they have up their sleeve against Porvoo Butchers in week 4.


4 – Porvoo Butchers (0-2)

Everyone probably expected a better start for the Butchers, they themselves more than anyone. A difficult matchup against the Helsinki Roosters in week 2 proved that Porvoo needs to get their act together. Rod Sylvestre, Vuoksenturja cousins, and Timi Nuikka had success on the defensive side of the ball, but when the offense doesn’t score, an ok defense is not enough.


Not sure if the playcalling was the problem in Butchers’ first 2 games of the season, but they were eager to part ways with their OC Ville Eskelinen, getting championship winning OC from last year, Kristian Lind, back to the spotlight. Butchers’ running game has been decent, but they lack the finishing touches. We shall see if Lind can turn the Butchers’ boat back to on course, now that Porvoo hosts the Wasa Royals in their home opener.


5 – Wasa Royals (0-2)

The Royals have had a tough beginning for their season, and losing the first Botnia Bowl probably hurts that Ostro-Bothnian toughness and confidence on some level. The Royals had decent plays in the first games, they even had the lead in week 2 at halftime. Demarco Artis and Raul Khalifa were the busiest defenders in the Botnia Bowl, but they have talent in other defenders, too.


After week 3 we will have a new team with a win, since both Wasa Royals and Porvoo Butchers have started the season with 2 losses. The Royals’ offense has to provide stronger support for Tom Suoste and Alpha Jalloh, and maybe consider expanding playmaking to other receivers, too, so that the defense against them would have to spread their focus.


6 – Helsinki Wolverines (0-1)

The season opener was not gentle to Helsinki Wolverines with the Kuopio Steelers beating them big time at the Velodrome. Darius Lewis was the workhorse of the Wolverines’ defense, but he alone cannot keep the whole offense on their toes. Their pass defense is in a need of urgent improvement, especially now that they visit the Crocodiles and must face the Särkelä brothers and other tough receivers.


The upcoming game against the Crocodiles is also an opportunity for improvement to the Wolverines’ offense. That’s what they need after Rasmus Laalo threw 5 interceptions and the entire offense only gaineed a total of 170 yards last week. Sebastian Lugora ran the ball decently, and when Kevin Adams managed to catch the ball, he averaged 29 yards after catch, so they have a chance to cook something, if the conditions turn out well.


7 – Lohja Crusaders (0-1)

It remains to be seen if the bye-week brought the Crusaders a chance to improve their game. As I wrote earlier, major upgrades are required for Lohja to get it going and have a chance against tough opponents, starting with the Helsinki Roosters this week. Marcos Mikkonen had decent rushing numbers in their season opener, so the situation is not completely hopeless for Lohja. However, they have a lot of work to do if they wish to get their win column open this week.


Week 3 matchups

Helsinki Roosters Lohja Crusaders, Thursday 30th May at 18:30

Seinäjoki Crocodiles Helsinki Wolverines, Friday 31st May at 17:30

Porvoo Butchers Wasa Royals, Sunday 2nd June at 16:30



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