The import of Alpha Jalloh saw an instant reward for the Carlstad Crusaders as the American player made a major impression on his team’s victory over the London Warriors in Sweden. The Warriors dreams of reaching the Northern Europe Football League championship game received an instant jolt on the Crusaders first play from scrimmage with a touchdown run of 49 yards from Jalloh. “I got the ball, saw a gap and took a chance with a run. Coach had told me to try to take the gaps when I can and I did today,” said Alpha Jalloh.
The Warriors had their chances but it was Marcus Johnsson for the Crusaders who pulled in a touchdown pass that saw Carlstad stretch their lead. A turnover in the final two minutes for London provided the spark the offense needed. Taylor Burke’s 22-yard touchdown catch from Jerome Allen saw the Crusaders take a 12-6 lead into the locker room.
The teams exchanged turnovers at the beginning of the second half, but it was Jalloh’s interception that led to a score with Johnsson taking it in for his second touchdown. The Warriors hit back with a James Cherry touchdown catch and appeared to be matching their opponents until the final quarter when the Crusaders controlled the show.
First, Olof Femstrom finished a 60-yard Crusaders drive with a touchdown run. And to complete their dominance of the final period, Jamie Staniford from the UK, aided by the blocking of his offensive line, took it in from the three-yard line before Jacob Dahre with a two-point after catch completed the scoring for Carlstad’s 32-12 victory.
In victory, Crusader’s head coach Tracey Gere acknowledged how good his opponents had been. “Even though the scoreboard showed 32-12, it was much more even than that. London made it tough for us and is definitely the best team we have met this year.”
The Crusaders will play the Helsinki Roosters in the Championship game on Sunday May 21.
This Warriors’ European adventure may have ended in defeat, but London can now turn their focus on winning a fifth straight BritBowl.
BAFA National League Update
The Hertfordshire Cheetahs (4-0) went marching on with a 54-0 smothering of the Maidstone Pumas and sit on top of SFC 2 with the Berkshire Renegades putting a hole in Portsmouth Dreadnoughts’ hopes for the season with a 27-6 victory.
Of the teams with 3-0 records, the Wembley Stallions won 21-0 against London Blitz B, the Nottingham Caesars edged the Coventry Jets 13-6 while the Sandwell Steelers fought a ding dong battle against the Leicester Falcons for their win.
Leicester racked up 21 unanswered points before Sandwell found their feet to respond with a touchdown of their own that saw the Falcons with a 21-7 halftime advantage. As the teams exchanged scores in the third period, the Falcons took a 35-20 lead into the fourth quarter.
Sandwell fought tenaciously in the final fifteen minutes to avoid defeat, scoring twice to reach within one point. When Leicester gained a first down on their opponents 12 with six minutes remaining, the opportunity to increase their lead faltered with an unsportsmanlike penalty followed by a quarterback stumble.
It looked all over when the Steelers conceded a safety, but their defense stepped up to force a punt providing Sandwell’s offense one final opportunity that they seized upon. Leigh French ran it in for the amazing comeback triumph. Next weekend, the Steelers travel to the (0-2) Birmingham Bulls while Nottingham has a bye.
In the Premiership North, the defending champions Tamworth Phoenix began their season with a 52-0 win over the Lancashire Wolverines, while the East Kilbride Pirates’ 20-15 win over the Edinburgh Wolves saw them go 2-0.