LB Florian Hueter and the defense gave up one touchdown in two games at Prague (Photo: Schellhorn)
The Austrian Football League (AFL) game between the Prague Black Panthers and the SWARCO Raiders, scheduled for Saturday, March 30, had to be cancelled. Constant snowfall makes the field at Prague’s Slavia Stadium unplayable. The game will be re-scheduled soon.
In week 2 of the new Austrian Football League (AFL) season the SWARCO Raiders, sister-team of The Oakland Raiders, were supposed to travel to Prague to face the Black Panthers.
„We’re facing a very tough challenge at Prague“, said SWARCO Raiders head coach Shuan Fatah. “Prague’s team is extremely hard to read. Basically they are a complete new team”.
Fatah is right. A few months ago the Prague Panthers decided to merge with the Prague Black Hawks. The new team is called Prague Black Panthers. Now the two best teams of the Czech Republic have built a bond, hoping to be able to play among the AFL’s elite.
Last weekend new head coach Tom Smythe and his team showed exactly that. Despite trailing 24-0 early in the second quarter of their season opener at the Raiffeisen Vikings Vienna the Black Panthers never gave up. They closed the gap to 24-14, before Vienna secured the win with a late touchdown.
The SWARCO Raiders heard the shot, but they have no reason to hide. The three-time Austrian Bowl champion opened its season with a dominating 31-21 win over the JCL Giants Graz. The Tyroleans were up 31-0 before the Giants were able to score some late points against the youth players.
The games against Prague were no different since the Czech team joined the AFL in 2010. The SWARCO Raiders dominated all four AFL meetings, winning by a combined score of 161-48. Twice the teams met in Prague in the AFL since 2010. The Tyroleans gave up a total of one offensive touchdown.
The teams also met in the European Football League (EFL) quarterfinals last season. The SWARCO Raiders won 56-14. With 56 points scored and a 42 point differential the Tyroleans tied two team records for games played in the EFL.
The offense that likes to score big on Prague also had a nice start to this year’s season against Graz – although the starters played only three quarters. QB Kyle Callahan completed 12 of 21 passes for 129 yards and a touchdown. He also ran for a score. RB Andreas Hofbauer had 8 carries for 58 yards and caught 3 balls for 19 yards. RB Lukas Miribung rushed 8 times for 52 yards and a score. Newly acquired import RB Jaycen Taylor did not play. He comes to Tyrol from the Parma Panthers, were he had 2,932 rushing yards and 44 touchdowns over the last two seasons.
WR Talib Wise caught 4 balls for 41 yards and a touchdown, had a 1-yard touchdown run and 102 return yards. WR Damaso Tarneller caught 3 passes for 44 yards. WR Julian Ebner had a 12-yard catch. WR Clemens Erlsbacher hauled in one pass for 13 yards and had a 13-yard run.
Just like last year Erlsbacher also excelled on special teams. Er kicked a 42-yard field goal and 4 extra points. He also had 4 punts for a 35.2 average with 3 punts being downed inside the opposing 20-yard line.
The SWARCO Raiders defense also had a good day against Graz. Despite having to start many new players or having to put players in new positions, Fatah’s defense forced a turnover and had 4 sacks.
The team was led by LB Florian Hueter, who had 9 tackles (6 solo), 0.5 tackles for loss and a forced fumble. LB/DE Philipp Margreiter had 2 sacks, 5 tackles (4 solo) and 4.5 tackles for loss. DB Enrico Martini had 6 tackles (4 solo) and 0.5 tackles for loss. LB Florian Seeber added 4.5 tackles (4 solo), one tackle for loss and a fumble recovery. DL Korbinian Hoffmann had 2 sacks and 3 tackles for loss.
The new season and the merging of the two Prague teams bring many new faces to the Black Panthers. In at the quarterback position is QB Andrew Shoop. He completed 15 of 25 passes for 218 yards with 2 touchdowns and an interception in his debut. He also was his team’s best ball carrier with 9 runs for 17 yards.
The other new import player, RB/DB Andre Whyte had a tough first game. He gained minus 4 yards on 7 carries and caught 6 balls for 36 yards. Shoop and Whyte each had a fumble. WR Jan Stiegler was the team’s best weapon, having caught 7 passes for 146 yards and a score. WR Jakub Wolesky also caught a touchdown.
The Black Panthers defense gave up 365 yards at Vienna, but thanks to their offensive miscues the defense didn’t have much of a chance to shine. Too often did Vienna receive the ball in favorable field position. LB Dan Krejbich led his team with 9 tackles (8 solo). LB Milos Hildebrant had 6.5 tackles (6 solo), 2 tackles for loss and a sack. DL Lukas JIra also had a sack. DB Jiri Hamal caught an interception.
Watch the SWARCO Raiders 2012 season live and as-live for free on www.raidersTV.at.