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story.lead_photo.caption Sean Clancy, Paper Trails columnist

An Arkansas quarterback has found success on and off the gridiron in Finland.

On Sept. 12, Seth Peters, an All-State and All-Conference star at Greenbrier High School and a standout at Hendrix College, guided the Kuopio Steelers to the team's first Maple League Championship, a 21-0 victory over the Helsinki Wolverines in Maple Bowl XLI.

"We managed to do it this year," Peters says from Helsinki, where he lives. "It was a big weight lifted off of my shoulders. We knew we were one of the best teams, and it was our job to take care of business and we finally did it."

It was the Steelers' third consecutive trip to the Maple Bowl, where they had to settle for the silver medal the past two years. They scored all of their points early in the game, which was played in a downpour, and held on for the win.

Peters, 26, left for Finland four days after graduating in 2017 from Hendrix College, where he studied math and holds school records for passing yards, touchdowns, total offense and total offense per game.

He wasn't exactly familiar with the country, but has adapted nicely.

"I knew it was called 'The land of 1,000 lakes,' but that was about all I knew," he says. "Football is a pretty big scene over here, and it's getting bigger. ... It was really easy to fit in. My personality is pretty quiet, and that's how the culture is here. Everyone speaks very good English, and I've learned a lot of Finnish. Actually, Finnish is how I communicate."

The Steelers won the First Division championship in his rookie year, and Peters was named MVP. The next season, the Steelers were moved up to the top-tier Maple League.

"As far as the level of play, it has been compared to an average Division II school," says Peters, who threw for 1,457 yards and 22 touchdowns over five games in a season shortened by covid-19.

Outside of football, Peters is pursuing a master's degree in computer science from the University of Eastern Finland and works for Treet, a digital pharmacy company.

He won't go as far as saying he's retired, but he is hanging up his cleats for a while to concentrate on school and work.

Will he stay in Finland?

"It's tempting," he said. "A lot of my good friends are here; my job is really nice. I enjoy life here. It will depend on how the job goes and if there are opportunities in the States."



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