Finnish Maple Bowl: Kuopio Steelers vs Helsinki Roosters – Last word from the HCs


Graphic: Igor Lazarevic

The Helsinki Roosters and Kuopio Steelers will meet for the third time in 4 years on Finland’s greatest stage. This yr, the town of Lahti will host the forty second Maple Bowl as each groups are decided to be topped champions. The Steelers beat the Roosters 35-32 in Helsinki again in July in an exhilarating backwards and forwards recreation. The title preview recreation left, gamers, coaches, and followers anticipating one other hard-fought matchup in essentially the most extremely anticipated Maple Bowl in years.

This title recreation will actually characteristic the league’s finest groups as followers have saved a watchful eye on Finland’s two most proficient squads all season. Anticipate each skilled coaches to have made changes as these two powerhouse packages meet once more with the nationwide title on the road.

The Helsinki Roosters are led by Juha Hakala who is raring to reclaim the title after serving to the Roosters win eight consecutive Maple Bowls from 2012-2019. Nevertheless, the sometimes dominant Roosters fell off final season, narrowly lacking the playoffs within the shortened season. Followers can anticipate certainly one of Finland’s most embellished coaches to have his crew able to play for an additional championship.

Pekka Utriainen has led the Kuopio Steelers from the decrease leagues on japanese Finland to the head of the nation’s sport. Utriainen has a superb monitor document of each discovering and growing expertise, domestically and overseas. After elevating his Steelers to the Maple League in 2018, Utrriainen didn’t waste any time making three straight Maple Bowl appearances. After two powerful losses to the Roosters Kuopio dominated the remainder of the league in 2020 on the best way to the crew’s first Maple Bowl Championship. This yr the Steelers are coming off one other incredible season on a mission to repeat.

You’re going through one another within the Maple Bowl for the third time in 4 years, what are you able to say about this rivalry?

Utriainen: In a manner, I feel this would be the first time we are literally going to get a very good recreation within the Maple Bowl between us. Going again to 2018 we actually weren’t able to beat a robust Roosters squad, and in 2019 we had been so banged up by varied accidents going into the sport, the prospect of an upset was fairly slim. I really feel like each teaching staffs recognize and worth the work accomplished over on the opposite sideline, not solely in the course of the video games but additionally in the course of the offseason. These video games are the excessive factors of our seasons for each groups I consider.

Hakala: We’ve had a very good rivalry in opposition to Kuopio Steelers in previous years. Steelers is a well-coached crew that at all times has a aggressive roster crammed with good imports, so it’s good to play in opposition to them, I cant wait to face them once more in MapleBowl XLII on Sunday.

What was the foremost issue on your crew’s success this season?

Utriainen: I feel we’re a well-balanced crew. The native gamers which are in massive roles for us are all top-level gamers, and now we have once more managed to place collectively a really spectacular group of imports, on and off the sphere. We are able to undoubtedly assault in a number of methods and our protection has been extraordinarily sturdy in opposition to various kinds of offenses, and the primary purpose for that’s an in-the-line play on each side of the ball. Playcalling is at all times a lot enjoyable when your traces can do no matter is requested from them, and it properly too.

Hakala: We had a very good offseason this yr and general our roster could be very aggressive. We’ve had success in offense, protection, and in addition in particular groups in several video games which have helped us clinch some good crew wins.

The primary time your crew the sport got here right down to the wire, how have you ever adjusted for the upcoming Maple Bowl rematch?

Utriainen: It absolutely wouldn’t be a shocker if this one finally ends up being an in depth recreation too, as each groups are enjoying excellent soccer for the time being. By way of adjusting, there actually isn’t any totally different from every other recreation. We at all times attempt to discover the appropriate performs and ideas on offense, which ought to give us the most effective likelihood of blocking the opposite crew’s defensive entrance, which then supplies the chance for our ability place guys to make performs. On protection, we performed a strong recreation within the first spherical, however I do consider we’ll get extra stress from our nice D-Line extra typically and sooner than we did again in July, now going right into a extra acquainted enjoying floor and being brisker than we had been again then.

Hakala: Within the regular-season recreation, our offense performed properly, however on protection, we allowed too many massive performs. On Sunday we are able to’t afford to surrender 75 or 90-yard touchdowns to a crew that already has a really harmful offense within the type of their star working again Anthony Reasonover.

Which opposing gamers do you could be ready for?

Utriainen: Vast Reciever Rashad Nonetheless bought an enormous variety of targets within the earlier assembly, and the Roosters in all probability gained’t shrink back from throwing the ball to him once more early and infrequently. Greater image, I feel this can be a recreation the place our greatest line items within the league can be slugging it out down after down, and the winner of these battles will seemingly win the sport too.

Hakala: On their offense one title that’s written greater on the scout papers than every other and is Le’Anthony Reasonover. We’ve to ensure now we have sufficient hats on him each snap in order that we are able to restrict his play as a lot as attainable. On their protection, their coronary heart is their defensive position with Ikeem Allen, Semmie Radji, and Jani Lindqvist, however the thump is behind the road within the type of linebacker Maurice Wright Jr.  He could make performs everywhere in the discipline together with his good motor and sideline to sideline hustle. Additionally of their particular groups, their kicker Markus Ojainväli is a difference-maker. He bought damage within the final recreation of their common season and if he cant play it’s going to have an effect on their kicking recreation for certain.

Each coaches know the duty their groups face as two very evenly matched groups will hit the sphere on this championship recreation. The Roosters are decided to get again to the mountain prime whereas the Steelers goal to maintain the trophy in Kuopio. In the meantime, followers are excited for this one, as consultants are predicting one other thrilling matchup between these two powerhouse packages.

Watch the Maple Bowl Championship on AFI.tv, Helsinki Roosters @ Kuopio Steelers, September 12, 13:00 CET (1 pm, 7 am ET)

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