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SWARCO Raiders beat Dragons


DB Simon Muigg intercepted a pass(Photo: Schellhorn)

The SWARCO Raiders, sister-team of The Oakland Raiders, have won their first home game of the 2014 Austrian Football League (AFL) season. They beat the Danube Dragons 44-20 (13-0; 0-7; 7-6; 14-7) at Tivoli Stadium. The Tyroleans have won 14 of their 16 matchups with the Dragons.

The game's best player was RB Andreas Hofbauer. He gained 109 yards on 15 carries and scored 3 touchdowns, giving him 5 on the season. He also caught a 23-yard pass. QB John van den Raadt completed 22 of 36 passes for 322 yards with a touchdown. He also ran 10 times for 50 yards and a score. WR Julian Ebner caught 5 passes for 101 yards. WR Adrian Platzgummer caught 4 balls for 89 yards and a touchdown. LB Simon Hoser recovered a fumble and DB Markus Krause and DB Simon Muigg each intercepted a pass.

"I'm very happy with the way we played today", said SWARCO Raiders head coach Shuan Fatah. "We wanted to show a much better performance than last week and that's exactly what we did. We had some nice plays on offense and defense. It was definitely an exciting game for our fans".

The Dragons won the coin toss, but elected to defer. After the kickoff the SWARCO Raiders started their first drive at their 34. Hofbauer gained 10 yards on the first play from scrimmage. Next Platzgummer caught a 9-yard pass from van den Raadt. Moments later Hofbauer dashed through a whole and ran 43 yards into the endzone. WR/K Clemens Erlsbacher added the extra point to give the Tyroleans a 7-0 lead with 10:57 minutes left in the first.

A touchback on the ensuing kickoff gave the Dragons the ball at their 25. On the drive's third play RB Dominik Kecskemeti lost the football and Hoser recovered at the opposing 34. After two short runs by Hofbauer van den Raadt found Ebner for a 9-yard gain. A little later though Erlsbacher missed a 30-yard field goal try. The Dragons took over at their own 20, but had to punt after a three and out.

The Tyrolean offense regained possession at their own 37. After a short pass from van den Raadt Platzgummer ran to the Dragons 49. Then Erlsbacher caught a 19-yard pass. Later van den Raadt threw a 10-yard pass to WR Damaso Tarneller. Then he found WR Christian Willi for 11 yards. A penalty gave the home-site a first down at the 4. From there Hofbauer punched the ball into the endzone. The two-point conversion failed, but the SWARCO Raiders extended their lead to 13-0 with 4:00 minutes left in the first.

After a short kickoff return the Dragons started at their 11. QB Cary Grossart found WR Georg Pongratz at the 36. His short passes then led the Dragons into enemy territory. Later Kecskemeti ran to the 32. Then DL Reinhard Pardeller sacked Grossart at the 37. On fourth down the quarterback found WR Johannes Prammer at the 19 for a first down. But moments later K Stefan Knaller missed a 37-yard field goal try.

The SWARCO Raiders took over at their 20. A penalty moved the ball back 10 yards. On the drive's first play Ebner caught a 9-yard pass. Then Hofbauer ran to the 37. Van den Raadt showed his legs with an 11-yard run. On the next play Erlsbacher caught a quick pass and ran to the Dragons 34. Next up Willi caught an 11-yarder. The drive ended with Erlsbacher's 37-yard field goal. The Tyroleans were up 16-0 with 6:59 minutes left in the second quarter.

The Dragons started their next drive at their 25 after a touchback on the kickoff. Grossart found Pongratz for 18 yards on the first play from scrimmage. Then he scrambled for 12 yards. The defense gave up another 12-yard gain to Pongratz, before shutting down the Dragons offense. An incomplete pass on a fourth down gave the Tyroleans the ball back at their own 29. On the first play van den Raadt threw a 7-yard pass to Tarneller. On the very next play he found a wide-open Platzgummer for a 64-yard touchdown pass. Erlsbacher added the PAT to give the SWARCO Raiders a 23-0 lead with 4:26 minutes left in the second. 

The kickoff resulted in yet another touchback. The Dragons started at their 25. On the drive's third play from scrimmage Krause picked off a pass from Grossart and returned the ball to the Dragons 42. On the very next play van den Raadt hooked up with Ebner for a 40-yard gain. On first and goal a touchdown pass was nullified. And on the next play a fumble on a pitch was recovered by LB Ramon Azim, who returned the ball to the Tyrolean 38. A few plays later Grossart ran to the 15. The drive ended with Grossart's 9-yard touchdown pass to WR Thomas Haider. Knaller added the PAT to cut the SWARCO Raiders lead to 23-7 with 70 seconds left in the first half.

The Dragons opened the third quarter at their own 36. Two rushes by Kecskemeti gave them a fresh set of downs. Then two personal fouls against the Tyroleans moved the ball 30 yards. A sack by DL Philipp Margreiter cost the Dragons 12 yards, but they still were able to cash in when Grossart threw a 20-yard touchdown pass to Pongratz. The two-point conversion failed. With 9:23 minutes left in the third the Tyroleans were up 23-13.

Erlsbacher returned the ensuing kickoff to the 36. Hofbauer ran to the Dragons 29 on the very first play of the drive. On the next play RB Lukas Miribung ran for 7 yards. Three short van den Raadt passes moved the ball to the 8. Hofbauer finished the drive with a 3-yard touchdown run. Erlsbacher's kick was good, extending the SWARCO Raiders lead to 30-13 with 6:05 minutes left in the third.

The Dragons started their next possession at their 25. Grossart threw a 36-yard pass to Prammer on the first play. But a few plays later LB Fabian Seeber sacked him on third down. A penalty on fourth down gave the Dragons new life, but on the very next play Muigg picked off Grossart's pass and ran the ball to the Tyrolean 44.

On second down van den Raadt ran 14 yards to the Dragons 41. Later he found Hofbauer with a 23-yard pass. That was followed by a 10-yard pass to Erlsbacher. Van den Raadt finished the drive with a 2-yard touchdown run. The PAT gave the Tyroleans a 37-13 lead with 11:53 minutes left in the fourth.

After a short kickoff return the Dragons began at their 26. Two passes from Grossart to Prammer moved the ball to the Tyrolean 29. But a few plays later a fourth down pass fell incomplete, giving the SWARCO Raiders the ball at their 29. Miribung gained 10 yards on first down. Later van den Raadt ran to the opposing 49. Then he threw a 41-yard pass to Ebner. On the next play Miribung scored with a 3-yard touchdown run. The extra point extended the lead to 44-13 with 8:30 minutes left in the fourth.

The Dragons started at their 25. This time Grossart moved his team downfield with short passes and timely runs. He finished the drive with a 23-yard touchdown pass to Haider. The PAT was good, cutting the SWARCO Raiders lead to 44-20 with 4:49 minutes left in the game.

The SWARCO Raiders have a bye next week. On Saturday, April 12 they will play their first game in the new BIG6 European Football League. The Tyroleans travel to Switzerland to face the Calanda Broncos.

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