Round 4: Nordmen thump the Farmers in Kajaani

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After a long, two-week hiatus, the Rovaniemi Nordmen knocked off the rust and turned in an impressive win against the Milky City Farmers in Kajaani; the first American football game ever played in Kainuu.

The summer months are usually when most folks enjoy their summer vacations and like to relax. After having two weeks off from midsummer and the following week, the Nordmen were back on the road; this time in Kajaani and facing off against the Milky City Farmers. The first game to be played in Finland’s Kainuu region, the Farmers organized a fun, family event that drew a decent crowd; despite the rainy weather that plagued most of the game.

After electing to receive the opening kickoff, the Nordmen wasted little time with getting their offense going. Hot off his home debut against the Bouncers, WR/RB Miika Virkki picked up right where he left off; picking up about 30 rushing yards on the opening drive that was punctuated with a 25yd TD toss from QB Lucas Martinez to WR Olli Salmela; capping the short, four-play drive with six, quick points. After the failed 2pt conversion, the Nordmen defense came out solid with returning DE Adrian Rodriguez tallying two tackles and a sack within the first plays by the Farmers. The Nordmen took over with great field position on the Farmers 6 yard line and two plays later, went up by 12 after a 1yd TD run by WR/TE Alfonso Ikäheimo. The Nordmen defense continued to play strong throughout the rest of the 1st quarter, with Petri “The Pulverizer” Korhonen living up to his nickname, on his way to tallying 12 tackles and 3 TFL for -32yards on the day. After a long punt by the Farmers, the Nordmen were backed up at their own one and suffered a controversial safety; making the score 2-12.

The Nordmen offense sputtered a bit for the second quarter and despite putting the Farmers deep in their own territory after a 65yard punt by FB Jonathan Ashton, the Farmers pulled out all the stops and scored a long touchdown and adding the PAT to make the score 9-12, about half way through the second quarter. After a series of kicks that went out of bounds, the Farmers were finally able to keep one in between the lines, but DB/KR Aurélien Germay returned the kick to the Farmers’ 36 yard line; giving the Warriors of the Four Winds excellent field position, late the first half. Three straight hand-offs to Virkki saw the Nordmen knocking on the goal line as time was winding down in the 2nd quarter. A 5 yard loss by Martinez was made irrelevant, as the Farmers’ defense was called for pass interference in the end zone on a pass intended for Germay. With the ball on the one yard line, Ashton took it to the house for his first career touchdown; extending the Nordmen lead just before halftime to 9-18.

Kicking off to start the second half, the Nordmen defense showed why they have been so dominant against opposing offenses all year, on their way to shutting out the Farmers in the second half. The Farmers saw moderate success from RB Jordan Estevez; consistently picking up about 3-4 yards on every carry, but this was not enough for the barrage of tacklers that were all to eager to bring him to the ground. After the Nordmen defense forced the Farmers to turn the ball over on downs, Virkki took the first hand-off of the drive 55 yards to the house for his second TD of the season, follow by a 2pt conversion, that notch the score at 9-26 early in the 3rd quarter.

Rodriguez and Korhonen continued their dominance up front, along with the help of LB’s Olli Raito & Sami Rautiainen. Safety David “The Austrian Hammer” Kreuzhuber made his presence felt, as well, totaling 7 total tackles and 2 pass deflections, on the day. Rovaniemi’s defense stepped up big in this game, forcing three turnovers – 2 INTs by Germay and Raito and a forced fumble by LB Antti Aspi that was recovered by returning LB Tommi Uusitalo. The Nordmen added two sacks to their yearly total (Rodriguez & Kivelä) for a total loss of 12 yards, in addition to six tackles for loss, adding up to a loss of -66 yards. With a smothering defense, whatever chances the Farmers may have had in the first half of the game were quickly put out of reach by the superior Nordmen defense in the second half of play.

The rain played a huge part in the Nordmen game plan during the second half of the game and an errant, slippery pass by Martinez was picked off by the Farmers, marking their only turnover of the day. Germay answered with a pick of his own that he then returned for a TD, but was waived off due to an inadvertent whistle by the referees. Starting with the ball on their own 40, Virkki masterfully ran through traffic and broke tackles on his way to a TD that was also called back due to a suspicious illegal block in the back penalty. This didn’t discourage the Nordmen, though, as the offense continued to march down the field, late in the third. Martinez connected twice with Virkki to move the Nordmen to the 50 before picking up 43 of the remaining yards on the ground by himself, on the way to a 2yard TD run to make the score 9-32. Virkki, the offensive star of the game, notched 21 total touches on the day and added over 150 total yards, running for his second straight 100 yard rushing game of the season.

With their tank running low, the Farmers did little in the final quarter of play to move the ball against the staunch, Nordmen defense. Both teams chose to chew the clock, as injuries had done a bit of damage to both squads; thanks to the inclement weather. With a comfortable lead, the entire Nordmen roster was able to get plenty of playing time, with rookie DT Ernest “Big-E” Owusu-Brown getting in on a few tackles which he chose to celebrate by proudly waving the rain-soaked Nordmen flag on the sideline and chanting, “we came to conquer!” Yes we did, Ernest. Yes, we did.

The Nordmen will host the Karleby Goats this upcoming Saturday, July 16th at Susivouti in Rovaniemi. Kick-off is at 4pm with our game sponsor Rakas Ravintola and Arctic TreeHouse Hotel providing a VERY SPECIAL surprise for our raffle! Stay tuned for more details this week!

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