The SWARCO Raiders, Austrian sister team of The Oakland Raiders, recorded a new chapter in their team history. Despite bad weather conditions the Tyroleans won Austrian Bowl XXVII 23-13 (7-0; 6-6; 7-7; 3-0) against the Raiffeisen Vikings Vienna at Vienna’s Ernst-Happel stadium to win their second championship in five days. They won Eurobowl XXV last Saturday against Berlin Adler.
It was the SWARCO Raiders first Austrian Bowl title since 2006 and the third in team history. WR Talib Wise was named the game’s MVP. He rushed 20 times for 129 yards and scored all three Tyrolean touchdowns. Wise gained a total of 309 yards on the ground, through the air and on special teams.
“I’m so proud of this team. I can’t put into words what they have accomplished in that little time,” said a happy SWARCO Raiders head coach Shuan Fatah. “The Vikings played tough and forced us to play at our best level. But today we avoided making mistakes for the most part, everything just clicked. This team has a great chemistry.”
In the pouring rain of Vienna QB Kyle Callahan completed 10 of 11 passes for 110 yards and a touchdown. WR Jakob Dieplinger caught 4 balls for 49 yards. The only negative part of the game was the ejection of RB Florian Grein, who was honored as the Austrian Football League’s (AFL) Offensive MVP of the year prior to kickoff. S John Clements was named the league’s Defensive MVP of the year. Led by him the SWARCO Raiders defense allowed only 89 points in 11 games.
“We didn’t have much time to prepare for this championship game,” said Wise. “It is amazing what coach Fatah has done here. I’m so proud to be a part of this team.”
Wise returned the opening kickoff to the 46. Callahan opened the drive with a 6-yard pass to Dieplinger. Then Grein ran for 6 yards and WR Pascal Maier caught a 9-yard pass. But a sack from LB Simon Blach ended the drive. After a touchdown on Maier’s punt the Vikings started their first possession at their own 20.
Two rushes from RB Josiah Cravalho gave Vienna a first down at the 37. His next two runs also resulted in first downs. Standing at the Tyroleans 32 DL Gerald Breymann sacked QB Christoph Gross. The Vikings then came up empty when K Peter Kramberger’s 48-yard field goal try fell short.
The SWARCO Raiders started their second possession at their own 26. A penalty against the Vikings gave the Tyroleans a first down. Then Grein rushed for 7 yards and Callahan threw a 17-yarder to Dieplinger. Another penalty against Vienna gave the SWARCO Raiders a first down at the opposing 29. After a 6-yard pass to Dieplinger Callahan threw a short pass to Wise, who ran into the endzone from 23 yards out. K Christian Kellner added the extra point for a 7-0 SWARCO Raiders lead with 1:03 left in the first.
Vienna’s next drive ended with a three-and-out. After Kramberger’s punt the SWARCO Raiders started at their own 8-yard line. A short run from Grein and a pass to Maier moved the ball to the 21. After the next play Grein was ejected after he touched an official. Moments later his team had to punt. A short punt gave the Vikings the ball at the Tyroleans 25. A pass from Gross to Cravalho gave Vienna a first down at the 15. That’s where the drive stalled. But Kramberger hit a 32-yard field goal to cut the SWARCO Raiders lead to 7-3 with 4:52 left in the second.
Wise returned the ensuing kickoff to the Vikings 19. On first down Callahan ran for 5 yards. Then he found Maier for 9 yards. On the next play Wise scored again, this time on a 5-yard run. The PAT failed but the SWARCO Raiders extended their lead to 13-3 with 3:30 left in the second.
Starting at their own 21 Vienna got a boost from Gross’ 41-yard completion to WR Daniel Stenzel at the Tyroleans 29. On the next play WR Valentin Schulz caught a 13-yard pass. But yet again the SWARCO Raiders defense held the Vikings to three points as Kramberger kicked a 29-yard field goal. With 16 seconds left in the second the SWARCO Raiders were up 13-6.
Vienna had the ball first in the second half, starting at their own 25. After a first down run by Cravalho DE Robert Zernicke tackled Gross for a loss. Then the Vikings lost 20 yards on penalties and had to punt. Wise returned the ball to the opposing 41. Two runs by Wise brought 5 yards. Then WR Andreas Pröller caught a first-down pass. Wise then ran for 8 yards and for 4 yards to the Vikings 17. On the very next play Wise scored on a 17-yard touchdown run. Kellner added the PAT to give the Tyroleans a 20-6 lead with 6:30 left in the third.
The Vikings found the right answer. Another long completion from Gross to Stanzel – this time for 39 yards – gave Vienna a first down deep in SWARCO Raiders territory. Two plays later Gross threw a 27-yard touchdown pass to WR Chauncey Calhoun. Kramberger made the extra point. With 4:28 left in the third the SWARCO Raiders were up 20-13.
The Tyroleans had to punt on their next possession, giving Vienna the ball back at the Vikings 25. Running the ball the Vikings marched to midfield, but a sack by Zernicke forced Vienna to punt. After Wise’s return the SWARCO Raiders started at their own 45. On first down Wise ran to the Vikings 34. Then he rushed for 5 yards. Callahan added runs of 8 yards and 2 yards. A penalty moved the ball to the Vikings 14. But a bad snap was recovered by LB Christopher James at the Vikings 16. But the SWARCO Raiders defense forced another punt.
Starting at their own 19 two runs by Wise gained 6 yards. A penalty cost the Tyroleans 5 yards. On third down Callahan pitched to Wise for a first down at their own 34. After two more short runs Wise broke loose and ran to the Vikings 27. Vienna’s defense was able to stop the Tyroleans shortly after, but Kellner’s 41-yard field goal extended the SWARCO Raiders lead to 23-13 with 75 seconds left in the fourth.The Vikings tried to score one more time, but ran out of time around midfield.