Helsinki Wolverines vs. Vaasa West Coast Vikings

Date: Saturday, July 8th, 2000

Kickoff: 1400H

Location: Palosaari Urheilukenttä (Fire Island Sportsfield), Vaasa, Finland. (a 6 hour bus ride from Helsinki)

Weather: Overcast. Mid 60sF/15C

Field Conditions: Decent quality grass, easy on the knees, yet muddy and slippery midfield. Soccer pitch arranged into a 100 yd football field. Long, white 2x4s taped to soccer goals served as uprights.

Uniforms: The Wolverines wore white jerseys, gold pants, blue helmets with Wolverine wings & stripes. The Vikings had navy jerseys, white pants and white helmets

Records: Wolverines 5-0 (#1 in South division), Vaasa 4-0 (#1 in West division)


First Quarter-

The Wolverines received the kickoff and struggled early on. Incomplete passes were the mark of our first drive that made a first down but little more. The Vikings like to run and so they tried. The Wolverines defense cut them short. Another series for both teams came after with no scoring. The Wolverines 3rd drive was successful in moving the ball. The offensive line made some room for the running backs to scat through. A long 30 yard plus pass to the left side was completed however when our WR tried to get into the endzone, he got hit and fumbled the ball which the Vikings recovered on their 1-foot line. Instant reply of our own video may prove that the ball crossed the plane of the goal line. However, the head referee (an American named Eric who has lived in Finland for 21 years) deliberated with the back judge at much length and ruled that the it was a fumble and recovery for the Vikings and not a touchdown.

Wolverines 0 – Vikings 0

2nd Quarter-

he game continued to see-saw. Both teams made first downs but came short of field goal distance. The Wolverines then began a 90 yard drive that resulted in a 10 yard run up the middle by our fullback. XPA (extra point attempt) was blocked.

Halftime score: Wolverines 6 – Vikings 0

3rd Quarter-

The Wolverines kicked the ball off to the Vikings. This quarter saw the same tough defensive battle with both offenses able to move the ball a little, yet not enough to find the endzone. The Wolverines began their pivotal series at the end of this quarter.

4th Quarter-

A long run of 50 plus yards gave us excellent field position. We ran a couple times and found the endzone. 2 pt. conversion pass to the left was complete.

Wolverines 14 – Vikings 0

The Wolverines defense played tough again and were able to recover a fumble and make an interception. Their efforts were translated into progress by the offense. We were able to pass and run again. This time a 60 plus yard run for a touchdown was the final nail in the proverbial coffin for the Vikings. Due to our kicker not dressed for the game and due to a (hopefully only) sprained knee of our defensive team captain/linebacker/2nd kicker, we had to go for the 2-pt conversion. Our attempt failed.

Wolverines 20 – Vikings 0

The W Defense played tough for the final minutes.

Final: Wolverines 20 – Vikings 0

Summary: Wolverines stats: 113 yds passing. 275 yds rushing. In the toughest game of the season, the Wolverines were able to outplay the Vikings when it mattered the most. Kudos go to our coaching staff who prepared the defense with the Vikings style of play. We were ready for the Vikings TE & WR reverses, hook and ladders, plus flea flickers. We are now the only undefeated team in the Finnish Division League. We don’t have a game this coming weekend, and our next practice is Tuesday, July 18th. Next games are vs. Tampere, Sipoo, HKI 69ers and Lohja (these last 3 teams are in the South division and we have already beaten them once). We are now with 6 wins and 0 losses. Our goal is to be the top seed for the playoffs.

From a Center’s Perspective: The offensive line played quite well even though were slightly outsized. One of the Vikings defensive lineman (6-5, 270+lbs) is heading to the University of Nebraska after he graduates from high school. He was no super star and was easily roadblocked to compensate for his ‘pull-down the shoulder pads’ tactic. All of the O line also played defensive line due to 7 defensive players being absent. I played left tackle and register 4 tackles to add to the 2 from last week. I almost had a fumble recovery, but two plays later our D recovered the ball on another fumble.

It was a grueling bus trip having to get up at 0445 for the 0545 departure, but it was easy to sleep in the morning. Evening entertainment including a card game, a singing barbershop quartet of Finnish folk songs, Super Bowl 27 (Dallas vs. Buffalo), an NFL Rocks video from ’93 and the movie Conspiracy Theory. (Some of the above was due to the coaches allowing us to buy 2 beer apiece for the road trip back home.)

That’s all for now. Until next week.

Post game notes: The glory of victory and a post-game hamburger and ice cream. The sense of accomplishment on the field of battle.

You know it’s a bad sign when you take a week off of practice and when you get back into the thick of things you notice that the rest of your teammates are having too much fun at practive. Too many jokes, too many easy plays, not enough hitting.

Not only that, but on Saturday morning. I had a sense of uneasiness about today’s game. It was as if, damn I’m tired, but I shouldn’t be. Do I have to go play in this weather? Maybe we should’ve practiced harder.

It’s the sense of forboding that goes a long way into determining the outcome of this sport.

Copyright © 2000 Nando’s Notes. All rights reserved.