SWARCO Raiders beat Valencia in EFL quarterfinals

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RB Tory Cooper (R) scored twice against Valencia. Photo by Schellhorn.

In their first game of the 2010 Eurobowl season the SWARCO Raiders, marketing teammate of The Oakland Raiders, celebrated a big fiesta against the Valencia Firebats. The Tyroleans defeated the Spanish champion 55-13 (14-7; 14-0; 21-0; 6-6). Despite heavy rain 4,000 people attended the quarterfinal game at Tivoli Stadium to see the Tyroleans' seventh straight victory in Eurobowl competition. In the semifinals the SWARCO Raiders play Berlin Adler (June 5/6).

In the second semifinal the Turek Graz Giants play against the Raiffeisen Vikings Vienna. With three of the four remaining teams in the Eurobowl competition coming from the AFL, Austria one more time proves its dominance in Europe's world of football.

SWARCO Raiders head coach Santos Carrillowas pleased with his team's performance. "I'm very proud of my guys. Everyone has done a great job," said Carrillo. "Due to injuries we had to play without some of our starters, but their backups have stepped in and did everything right."

On offense RB Tory Cooper and QB Leon Jackson III had yet another strong outing for the SWARCO Raiders. Cooper ran the ball 14 times for 139 yards and two touchdowns. Jackson completed 12 of 13 passes for 209 yards and 3 touchdowns. "Leon and Tory played great. Our receivers also had a nice game. Overall I'm very pleased with the way we played," mentioned Carrillo. Jackson's favorite targets were WR Andreas Pröller with 6 catches for 101 yards and a touchdown and WR Jakob Dieplinger, who caught two balls for 75 yards and a score. The defense forced four turnovers (two interceptions, two fumbles) and sacked the Firebats quarterbacks five times.

The Firebats had a good start, though. They finished the opening drive with a 4-yard touchdown pass from QB Stuart Franklin to LB/RB Jason Brisbane. After the extra point Valencia had a 7-0 lead with 7:28 left in the first.

The SWARCO Raiders started their first drive at their own 22. On second down Jackson hit Pröller for a 16-yard gain. Later Pröller caught a 14-yarder. RB Florian Grein then moved the ball to the opposing 26. Dieplinger caught a 16-yard pass before Cooper scored from 10 yards out. K Robert Balazinec added the extra point to tie the game at 7-7 with 4:16 left in the first.

After a Valencia punt the Tyroleans started at their own 4-yard line. Cooper ran for 14, 3 and another 14 yards. On the next play Jackson hit Dieplinger in full stride. The receiver raced down the right sideline for a 59-yard score. The PAT made it 14-7 for the SWARCO Raiders with 33 seconds left in the first.

The Spanish team started their next drive at their own 42 and quickly moved to the Tyroleans 15. The drive ultimately ended when DB Manuel Eisenführer intercepted Franklin on fourth down. After the SWARCO Raiders punt it was time again for the defense to shine. CB Markus Krause, who just like Balazinec joined the Oakland Raiders' International Guest Coach Program in 2009, picked off a Franklin pass and returned the ball 25 yards for a touchdown. After the PAT the Tyroleans were up 21-7 with 4:56 left in the first half.

The Firebats were forced again to punt. Cooper returned the ball 18 yards to the SWARCO Raiders 39. On the first play from scrimmage he then gained 15 yards. Later Pröller caught a 21-yard pass. On the next play Cooper scored from 19 yards out. The PAT was good and the Tyroleans held a 28-7 lead with 1:34 left in the second quarter.

The third quarter started with a drive by the home team, starting at their own 29. After a short pass to Pröller Cooper moved his team on the ground and through the air to the opposing 40. Pröller later hauled in a 22-yarder, that gave the Tyroleans a first and goal at the Valencia 7. On second down Jackson finished the drive with a 3-yard touchdown-pass to Pröller. After a successful PAT the score was 35-7 with 6:34 left in the third.

The SWARCO Raiders defense forced another punt. But the punter couldn't handle the snap. He avoided a safety by running out of his own endzone and to the 3-yard line. The home team took over and took full advantage of the great field position. Jackson threw his third touchdown of the night, a 2-yarder to WR Philipp Heider. The PAT was good again. The SWARCO Raiders had a 42-7 lead with 4:18 left in the third.

Although the Firebats started their next drive on the Tyroleans 43, the series ended with no points again as a fourth down pass from the 26 sailed incomplete. The SWARCO Raiders didn't waste any time to extend their lead. With his first carry of the game 17-year old junior RB Andreas Hofbauer ran the ball 68 yards for a touchdown. After the extra point the score was 49-7 with 1:10 left in the third.

Valencia then found the endzone for a second time. RB Voncarie Owens scored on a 33-yard run with 6:191 left in the fourth. The PAT failed and so the score was 49-13. The game's last highlight came when Grein answered the Firebats' touchdown with a scoring run of his own. His 37-yard touchdown-run with 4:56 left in the game made it 55-13.

Next Saturday the SWARCO Raiders go on the road to play the Salzburg Bulls in the Austrian Football League. The game kicks off at 6 a.m. PT (3 p.m. CET).

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