WR/K Clemens Erlsbacher scored all 17 points for the SWARCO Raiders (Photo: Schellhorn)
Austrian Bowl XXX was one for the ages. Unfortunately the SWARCO Raiders came out on the wrong end. In the first ever Austrian Football League (AFL) final that went to overtime The Oakland Raiders’ sister-team lost 24-17 (7-7; 7-7; 3-3; 0-0, 7-0) to the Raiffeisen Vikings Vienna.
“It was a great game by both teams. We really played the Vikings hard. That’s why this loss hurts so much”, said SWARCO Raiders head coach Shuan Fatah. “In the end some of the little things made the difference. But I’m very proud of the team. We’re in a rebuilding mode right now. You saw it today as many young players had to prove themselves. And they did just that. You better be ready, cause the future belongs to us”.
WR/K Clemens Erlsbacher was once again Mr. Everything for the Tyroleans as he scored all 17 points. He caught 3 passes for 46 yards and a touchdown, ran 3 times for 13 yards and a score and scored a 36-yard field goal. On top of that he had 104 kickoff return yards. QB John van den Raadt completed 7 of 14 passes for 85 yards with a touchdown and 2 interceptions. He also rushed 16 times for 91 yards. RB Andreas Hofbauer had 23 rushes for 88 yards. DB Arno Andreas intercepted a pass and LB Fabian Seeber led his team with 7 tackles (6 solo) and a tackle for loss.
The Vikings won the coin toss and elected to receive. Erlsbacher’s kickoff went out of bounds, giving Vienna the ball at its 35. After a quick first down the SWARCO Raiders defense stopped the Vikings. And after an unsuccessful fourth down play the Tyorlean offense took over at its own 44. A 14-yard run by van den Raadt gave the team its first fresh set of downs. Then Hofbauer had rushes of 14 and 5 yards. Next up was a 7-yard run by van den Raadt. With his first pass of the game the quarterback found Erlsbacher for a 12-yard touchdown strike. Erlsbacher then added the PAT to give the SWARCO Raiders a 7-0 lead with 6:55 minutes left in the first.
WR Laurinho Walch returned the ensuing kickoff to the Tyrolean 48. A run by RB Islaam Amadu gave Vienna a first down at the 34. Then Amadu ran for 9 yards, but moments later Vienna faced a 48-yard field goal try. K Christopher Kappel’s kick was no good, giving the ball back to the SWARCO Raiders at their own 31. On the third play from scrimmage DB Valentin Schulz picked off a pass from van den Raadt and returned the ball to the opposing 43. Amadu then opened the drive with a 16-yard run. A few plays later Gross found Walch for a 14-yard touchdown pass. The PAT tied the game at 7-7 with 2:51 minutes left in the first.
Erlsbacher returned the kickoff to the 21. A Hofbauer rush gave the Tyroleans a first down at their 34. After van den Raadt got sacked he found Erlsbacher for 20 yards. A few plays later van den Raadt tried to escape the pass rush, but was tackled from behind and lost the ball. Vienna recovered the fumble at their 49. On the very next play Gross threw a 51-yard touchdown pass to WR Stefan Postel. Kappel made the extra point to give the Vikings a 14-7 lead with 8:58 minutes left in the second.
After an Erlsbacher return to the 17 Hofbauer started the drive with e 7-yard carry. Then van den Raadt rushed for 6 yards. WR Christian Willi then caught a 24-yard pass. After a 6-yard run by Hofbauer van den Raadt found Erlsbacher at the Vikings 25. Next up was a 10-yard completion to Willi. Hofbauer added a 7-yard run. Moments later Erlsbacher scored from 3 yards out on a double reverse. He also added the PAT to tie the game at 14-14 with 3:55 minutes left in the second.
After a touchback on the ensuing kickoff Vienna started at its 25. A quick three-and-out followed. Erlsbacher returned Postel’s punt to the Vikings 34. But the Tyrolean offense couldn’t move the chains. So Erlsbacher came on for a 50-yard field goal. His kick went just wide left.
The third quarter started with Erlsbacher’s kickoff return to the 41. But on the very first play from scrimmage LB Paul Werner intercepted a pass from van den Raadt and returned the ball to the Tyrolean 40. A penalty gave Vienna a fresh set of downs. Later Walch caught a 10-yard pass on fourth down. But the SWARCO Raiders defense stiffened and allowed only a 33-yard field goal to Kappel and his team. With 7:23 minutes left in the third Vienna was up 17-14.
Erlsbacher returned the next kickoff to the 32. Hofbauer gained 7 yards on the first play from scrimmage. Van den Raadt then ran to the Vikings 41. A few plays later Hofbauer ran to the Vienna 28 on a fourth down play. Later in the drive Erlsbacher kicked a 36-yard field goal to tie the game at 17-17 with 1:44 minutes left in the third.
The kickoff resulted in a touchback. On the very first play of the drive Andreas picked off a pass from Gross and gave the Tyroleans the ball at the opposing 36. After three offensive plays the SWARCO Raiders faced a fourth down. Erlsbacher ran to the 15 on a statue of liberty play. But a penalty after the play moved the ball to the 30. The next three plays also went the wrong direction so the drive ended with the Tyroleans’ first punt. Erlsbacher’s kick was downed at the 13.
Again Vienna went three-and-out. After the punt the SWARCO Raiders began at their 35. Rushes by Hofbauer, van den Raadt and RB Lukas Miribung moved the ball to the opposing 39. Then van den Raadt ran 22 yards. That was followed by a 5-yard run by Hofbauer. A penalty gave the Tyroleans a first down at the 7. But just when everyone was hoping for a score Erlsbacher fumbled and DB Craig Sedunov recovered at the Vikings 11.
On the ensuing drive Gross found WR Dominik Bubik at the 40 on a third down play. Two completions moved the chains to the opposing 46. But with 17 seconds left Vienna went for it. Gross’ pass to WR Manuel Tanner fell incomplete, giving the SWARCO Raiders the ball at their own 37 with 11 seconds left in regulation. A penalty moved the ball 5 yards forward. Then van den Raadt got sacked, but a dead-ball penalty gave the Tyroleans a first down at the Vienna 49. After another 5-yard penalty against Vienna van den Raadt tried a Hail Mary pass, but it fell incomplete. Overtime.
Vienna had the ball first, starting at the opposing 25. Gross began overtime with a 6-yard pass to Walch. That same combo hooked up for a 13-yard completion. A penalty moved the ball back to the 20. Gross then found Bubik for 16 yards. On the next play Amadu scored a 4-yard touchdown run. Kappel added the extra point to give the Vikings a 24-17 lead.
Now it was the SWARCO Raiders turn. Two rushing plays and a short pass went almost nowhere. Facing a fourth down and 9 yards to go van den Raadt’s pass fell incomplete, ending the game.