RB David Oku scored two touchdowns in his SWARCO RAIDERS debut (Photo: Markus Stieg)
The SWARCO RAIDERS have won the first of four contests in the BATTLE4TIROL, a football series they created themselves. On Saturday the Oakland Raiders sister-team beat the Stuttgart Scorpions from Germany 34-9 (6-3; 0-0; 14-6; 14-0) at Tivoli Stadium in Innsbruck.
Watch the game on demand on www.raidersTV.at.
On a snowy Easter Sunday RB David Oku was the best man on the field. He gained 176 total yards. Oku ran 11 times for 73 yards and a touchdown. He caught 3 passes for 21 yards and scored on an 82-yard punt return. QB Sean Shelton completed 16 of 26 passes for 170 yards and 2 touchdowns. He also 6 rushes for 57 yards and a touchdown. WR Kyle Callahan caught 8 balls for 114 yards and 2 touchdowns just one day after giving his comeback as quarterback in a game against the Danube Dragons. DB Enrico Martini caught 2 interceptions. DB Talib Wise had a sack and led the Tyroleans with 14 tackles (11 solo).
"This was a very important win for us", said SWARCO RAIDERS head coach Shuan Fatah. "We played a very physical and ambitious Stuttgart team. We needed to give everything we had to secure the win. At the beginning our import players needed to shake off the rust a bit, but the longer the game went the better we played".
The Scorpions won the coin toss, but deferred. The SWARCO RAIDERS punted on their first possession. After a punt by WR Clemens Erlsbacher the Scorpions at their 45. On the very first play QB Thomas Schneider found WR Daniel Balazovic for 8 yards. A few plays later Stuttgart faced a fourth down. But Wise was there to sack the quarterback. The Tyroleans took over at their 45. Shelton threw to WR Adrian Platzgummer for 6 and 8 yards. Later he found Callahan for 8 yards on a fourth down play. Then RB Fabien-André Gärtner ran for 9 yards. Shelton then rushed to the 6. Two plays later Oku scored on a 4-yard run. The two-point conversion failed, but the SWARCO RAIDERS led 6-0 with 4:48 minutes left in the first.
After the kickoff RB Pascal Flöser returned the ball to the Scorpions 33. A penalty gave Stuttgart 15 extra yards. Then Schneider ran for 5 yards. On the next play he found WR Fabian Weigel at the Tyrolean 16. Momenta later Flöser kicked a 31-yard field goal. With 1:10 minutes left in the first the SWARCO RAIDERS lead was cut in half to 6-3.
After punts on both sides the SWARCO RAIDERS took over at their 5. Oku opened the drive with a 14-yard run. After a 10-yard penalty Shelton had consecutive 11-yard rushes. Later Gärtner ran for 15 yards. But several plays later the Tyroleans failed on a fourth down play, turning the ball over on downs at the Stuttgart 26.
The Scorpions moved to the 44 on a Flöser run. Two penalties against the SWARCO RAIDERS and a pass to WR Fabian Weigel moved the chains to the opposing 33. But moments later Martini picked off a Schneider pass in the endzone to end the threat.
Stuttgart went three-and-out on their first possession of the third quarter. Oku fielded the punt at the 18 and ran 82 yards for a touchdown. Abfalter added the PAT to give the SWARCO RAIDERS a 13-3 lead with 9:51 minutes left in the third.
The Scorpions weren't shocked, though. Starting at their 26 Flöser had two rushes to set up a fresh set of downs. Then FB Patrick Geiger ran to the Tyrolean 49. A few plays later Flöser gained 28 yards. Schneider finished the drive with an 11-yard touchdown pass to WR Lasse Ahlgrimm. The extra point went wide, but the Scorpions had cut the SWARCO RAIDERS lead to 13-9 with 5:32 minutes left in the third.
After a penalty on the ensuing kickoff the Tyroleans began at their 35. On the drive's first play from scrimmage Oku rushed for 14 yard. A few plays later he caught a pass at the Scorpions 38, then rushed for 7 and 12 yards. Shelton finished the drive with a 17-yard touchdown pass to Callahan. Abfalter's extra point gave the SWARCO RAIDERS a 20-9 lead with 54 seconds left in the third.
The kickoff went out of bounds, giving Stuttgart the ball at their 35. Schneider and Flöser led their team to the opposing 28 before a fourth down pass fell incomplete. The Tyrolean offense took over and a run by Oku gave them a new set of down at their 40. On the next play Callahan caught a 53-yard bomb from Shelton. And on the very next play the duo hooked up for a 7-yard touchdown pass. Abfalter added the PAT to give the SWARCO RAIDERS a 27-9 lead with 4:56 minutes left.
Stuttgart tried to come back and marched into enemy territory, but they failed on yet another fourth down play. Taking over at their own 46 RB Simon Muigg ran 34 yards for the SWARCO RAIDERS. Two plays later Shelton scored on a 16-yard touchdown run. The PAT gave the SWARCO RAIDERS a 34-9 lead. 1:37 minutes were left to play.
The Scorpions tried to close the gap, but ran into Martini once again. The defensive back intercepted his second pass of the night with 17 seconds left.
The SWARCO RAIDERS play another double-header next weekend. On Saturday, April 11 they host the Düsseldorf Panther from Germany in their second BATTLE4TIROL matchup (kickoff 9:00 a.m. PT). On Sunday, April 12 they host the Graz Giants in an AFL contest (kickoff 6:00 a.m. PT).