CEFL Championship, Week 1
Stockholm Mean Machines – Kuopio Steelers 31-28
Exceptionally exhilarating, endlessly enjoyable! A nerve-wrecking matchup was seen on Saturday in Stockholm, when the Mean Machines hosted Kuopio Steelers in the CEFL Championship opener.
This game had it all: terrific tosses, riveting rushes, a tide of turnovers, and a plague of penalties. A decider came at the last seconds on a 4th and goal.
The Mean Machines struck first with a touchdown pass from Mark Pappas to Elliot Eriksson Reer on their opening drive, 6-0.
The visitors answered right back with a 12-yard score by their running back, LeAnthony Reasnover, to take the lead, 6-7.
The home team was undeterred, and a field goal by Alvin Gustavsson and a touchdown pass from Pappas to Anton Blomgren put them back on top, 16-7.
In the final minutes of the second quarter, Steelers’ quarterback Ambro Urjansson connected with Hannes Harju for two identical touchdown passes into the right corner of the end zone, bringing their team to halftime lead 16-21.
Following the break, the Swedes brought the score back in their favor with two rushing touchdowns by Carlos Holmqvist and Lukas Männistö Sjöström. Pappas added a 2-point conversion by connecting with Robin Gavelin Miranda, giving the Mean Machines a lead, 31-21.
Tenacious Steelers refused to back down, and Reasnover broke through for another rushing touchdown in the final quarter bringing the score to a tense 31-28.
From then on, offenses were marked by turnovers as both teams’ passers recorded interceptions.
With 2 minutes and 14 seconds left on the clock Steelers had the last say. Reasnover was staring in receiving and running roles, advancing the ball to opposing 6 yard line, when an ensuing penalty backed them off by 5.
From there, after 3 incompletions and with 15 seconds to play, the Finns chose not the kick the equalizer and went for it all. Reasnover was handed the ball one final time and a swarm of defenders closed in on him. Desperately trying to pass the ball to his teammates he got called for an illegal forward pass, ending the drama at 31-28.
Winning this intense clash the Mean Machines have placed in the second round, where they’ll visit last season’s champions, Schwäbisch Hall Unicorns on 13 May.