DB Markus Krause caught an interception (Photo: Schellhorn)
The SWARCO Raiders, sister-team of The Oakland Raiders, beat the Graz Giants 36-14 (14-7; 3-7; 7-7; 12-0) in their last regular season home game of the 2014 Austrian Football League (AFL) season. It was the tenth consecutive victory over the Giants for the Tyroleans.
QB John van den Raadt completed 11 of 14 passes for 127 yards and 2 touchdowns. He also ran the ball 11 times for 111 yards and 2 touchdowns. WR/K Clemens Erlsbacher scored 12 points. He caught 6 passes for 60 yards and a touchdown, kicked a field goal and 3 extra points. RB Andreas Hofbauer saw only limited action, rushing 4 times for 11 yards. Meanwhile 17-year old RB Sandro Platzgummer had 3 rushes for 25 yards and a touchdown. DB Enrico Martini and DB Markus Krause each intercepted a pass. LB Fabian Seeber led the team with 9 tackles (7 solo).
”This was a good game by the team”, said SWARCO Raiders head coach Shuan Fatah. ”We were missing many players. The ones that played did well. Next Saturday we face another tough task at Prague”.
The SWARCO Raiders won the coin toss and elected to receive. After the opening kickoff Erlsbacher caught the ball at the 1 and returned it 47 yards. On the drive’s first play from scrimmage Erlsbacher gained 6 yards on a double reverse. On the very next play van den Raadt did, what he did against Graz in their first encounter this season; he ran away from the defense for a 46-yard touchdown. Erlsbacher added the PAT to give the Tyroleans a 7-0 lead with 11:06 minutes left in the first.
After Erlsbacher’s kickoff and a short return Graz started at its 18. On third and 10 WR Dominik Szecsi caught a 14-yard pass. Next RB Alexander Sanz ran 10 yards. But on the next third down play DL Philipp Margreiter stopped Sanz in the backfield. After the Giants punt the SWARCO Raiders began at their 23. Van den Raadt started the drive with completions to Erlsbacher for 11 and 20 yards. Later he found WR Julian Ebner for 39 yards. The drive ended with a 7-yard touchdown pass from van den Raadt to Erlsbacher. His extra point gave the Tyroleans a 14-0 lead with 5:19 minutes left in the first.
After a short kickoff return the Giants started at their 22. Sanz ran to the 35 for a new set of downs. Later the Giants went for it on fourth down. Gubisch found Sommer at the Tyrolean 38. A 15-yarder to WR Maximilian Herdey gave Graz another first down. Later Graz had another successful fourth down conversion at the 12. Two plays later Sanz scored on a 12-yard touchdown run. K Heinz Hartl added the PAT to cut the SWARCO Raiders lead to 14-7 with 10:13 minutes left in the second.
After a touchback the Tyroleans started at their 25. A run by van den Raadt resulted in a first down at the 36. Then Erlsbacher caught an 8-yard pass. Passes to WR Christian Willi and Ebner gave the team a fresh set of downs at the opposing 39. Then Hofbauer ran to the 28. After a short run by young RB Sandro Platzgummer Erlsbacher extended the lead to 17-7 with a 37-yard field goal. 4:50 minutes were left in the second.
Graz started its next possession at the 25. Gubisch ran to the 37 for a first down. Then DL Reinhard Pardeller and DL Maximilian Pichler sacked the quarterback. But moments later a penalty on third down gave Graz new life. Sanz then caught a 10-yarder at the Tyrolean 25. The defense finally was able to stop Graz, which came away empty when Hartl’s last second 37-yard field goal try went wide right.
The Giants opened the third quarter at their 35 after Erlsbacher’s kickoff went out of bounds. On the first play from scrimmage Gubisch threw a 30-yard pass to Herdey. But a few plays later Graz’ went for it on fourth down and Gubisch’s pass fell incomplete. Taking over at their own 26 van den Raadt started the drive with a 9-yard pass to Willi. Then the quarterback ran to the Giants 39. Next up was an 8-yard pass to Erlsbacher. After van den Raadt got sacked he rushed to the 28. An option pitch from van den Raadt to Sandro Platzgummer gained 21 yards. Platzgummer also finished the drive with a 5-yard touchdown run. Erlsbacher’s PAT gave the Tyroleans a 24-7 lead with 3:32 minutes left in the third.
After the kickoff and a touchback Graz began at its 25. Gubisch ran 12 yards. Then Sanz rushed to the Tyrolean 48. Moments later Gubisch found WR Florian Wolf with a 44-yard touchdown pass. Hartl’s PAT cut the SWARCO Raiders lead to 24-14 with the last play of the third quarter.
Erlsbacher returned the kickoff to the 23. The drive ended with a three and out. After a bad snap Erlsbacher needed to show all his athleticism to get off the punt. The ball was downed at the Giants 28. Gubisch threw an 11-yard pass to Sommer. Then Sanz ran 13 yards. But a few plays later Martini picked off a Gubisch pass and returned the ball to the Graz 38. A 15-yard penalty for a late hit was added on top. A run by van den Raadt and one by RB Lukas Miribung were enough for a first down. Another penalty moved the ball to the opposing 6. Van den Raadt finished the drive with a 9–yard touchdown pass to WR Damaso Tarneller. The PAT hit the uprights, but the Tyroleans led 30-14 with 5:06 minutes left in the third.
The kickoff went out of bounds, giving Graz the ball at the 35. On the drive’s second play from scrimmage Krause intercepted a pass near midfield and returned the ball to the 25. A penalty moved the ball to the 10. Van den Raadt pitched to Willi for 5 yards. On the next play the quarterback scored on a 5-yard keeper. The PAT was no good, giving the SWARCO Raiders a 36-14 lead with 3:56 minutes left in the fourth quarter.
On Saturday, June 28 the SWARCO Raiders travel to Prague to face the Black Panthers in their last regular season contest. Kickoff is at 6:00 a.m. PT (3:00 p.m. CET).