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SWARCO RAIDERS celebrate comeback win over Prague


RB Sandro Platzgummer scored 4 touchdowns. Photo: Markus Stieg

The SWARCO RAIDERS remain unbeaten at Wattens. The Oakland Raiders sister-team celebrated its ninth win in its ninth ever game at their "second home", beating the Prague Black Panthers 33-27 (0-7; 6-13; 6-7; 21-0) in the last regular season game of the 2015 Austrian Football League (AFL) season.

The Tyroleans trailed 27-12 after three quarters before mounting a huge comeback to secure home-field advantage in the AFL playoffs. They will host a semifinal game on Saturday, July 4 at Innsbruck's Tivoli Stadium.

"This game was crazy. We refused to give up and got rewarded for it", said SWARCO RAIDERS head coach Shuan Fatah. "Although this was a team effort win, I want to congratulate Sandro Platzgummer to a huge performance".

Sandro Platzgummer was the man of the match. The 18-year old running back had the biggest game of his young career, scoring 4 total touchdowns and gaining 372 yards. He had 14 rushes for 194 yards and 2 touchdowns, caught 2 passes for 54 yards and 2 scores and returned 2 kickoffs for 124 yards.

LB Florian Hueter secured the victory with his sack on Prague's fourth down at the Tyrolean 24 with less than 40 seconds left. DL Korbinian Hoffmann had 2 sacks and LB Fabian Seeber had a sack, too. LB Philipp Margreiter forced a fumble. QB Sean Shelton completed 7 of 22 passes for 121 yards with 2 touchdowns and one interception. RB Fabien-André Gärtner had 6 rushes for 20 yards. WR Clemens Erlsbacher caught 3 balls for 33 yards.

The Black Panthers won the coin toss and elected to receive. Their first drive ended when K Marek Hrubon missed a 57-yard field goal try. Taking over at their own 40 the SWARCO RAIDERS punted after a three-and-out. Prague regained possession at its 20. QB Kyle Newhall-Caballero had rushes of 7 and 14 yards before finding WR Jan Dundacek for 38 yards. A few plays later he threw a 5-yard touchdown pass to WR Jakub Wolesky. Hrubon's extra point gave the Black Panthers a 7-0 lead with 2:15 minutes left in the first.

Sandro Platzgummer returned the ball on the ensuing kickoff 66 yards to the Prague 34. Shelton found Erlsbacher for 12 yards, but on the last play of the first quarter DB Stanislav Jantos intercepted Shelton and returned the ball to midfield. On the second drive of their next possession Newhall-Caballero found WR Jan Stiegler for 43 yards. He finished the drive with a 6-yard scoring strike to Wolesky. The PAT gave Prague a 14-0 lead with 10:24 minutes left in the second.

After another Tyrolean punt the Black Panthers started at their own 40. Newhall-Caballero found Wolesky for 20 yards, before rushing for 23 yards. Later Hrubon kicked a 28-yard field goal to give the Black Panthers a 17-0 lead with 4:07 minutes left in the second.

On their next drive the SWARCO RAIDERS finally found an answer. Sandro Platzgummer returned the kickoff 58 yards to the opposing 42. Gärtner ran for 12 yards on the first play. Then Sandro Platzgummer rushed for 23 yards. Shelton finished the drive with a 5-yard touchdown pass to Sandro Platzgummer. The PAT was blocked. With 2:15 minutes left in the second the SWARCO RAIDERS trailed 17-6.

On Prague's next drive Margreiter forced a Newhall-Caballero fumble on the very first play from scrimmage. Starting at the opposing 33 the Tyroleans missed an opportunity to cut the deficit when Shelton's fourth down pass fell short. Prague regained possession at its 33 and marched down the field. Hrubon scored on a 52-yard field goal as time expired in the second quarter. Prague led 20-6 at the break.

The SWARCO RAIDERS opened the third quarter in style. Starting at their 25 Sandro Platzgummer opened the drive with a 10-yard run. On the next play he sprinted 65 yards for a touchdown. After another blocked extra point the Tyroleans trailed 20-12 with 11:28 minutes left in the third.

Prague's first drive of the third quarter ended with a punt. But after moving the chains to midfield the SWARCO RAIDERS also had to punt. The Black Panthers took over at their 19. Newhall-Caballero found Wolesky for 19 and 43 yards and finished the drive with a 16-yard touchdown pass to Dundacek. Hrubon's extra point gave the Black Panthers a 27-12 lead with 2:35 minutes left in the third.

After a short kickoff the SWARCO RAIDERS began their next drive at their 40. Shelton ran for 17 yards on the very first play from scrimmage. Later Erlsbacher caught a 16-yard pass. Then Shelton ran for 10 yards. On the first play of the fourth quarter Sandro Platzgummer scored on a 14-yard touchdown run. The two-point conversion failed, cutting the deficit to 27-18 with 11:54 minutes left in the fourth.

Prague punted on their next drive, giving the Tyroleans the ball back at their 35. On the second play from scrimmage Sandro Platzgummer ran for 18 yards. On the next play he caught a 49-yard touchdown pass from Shelton. K Dennis Wiehberg scored the PAT. With 7:22 minutes left in the fourth the Black Panthers lead was down to 27-25.

Prague's next possession ended with a three-and-out. The SWARCO RAIDERS then took over at their 21. Shelton started with a 13-yard pass to RB Simon Muigg. Later Sandro Platzgummer ran for 8 yards, then Shelton found WR Christian Willi for 21 yards. Shelton ran for 9 yards on the next play and finished the drive with a 24-yard run. Sandro Platzgummerwas successful on the ensuing two-point conversion and the SWARCO RAIDERS led 33-27 with 3:24 minutes left in the fourth.

The Black Panthers had one final chance to regain the lead. They started at their 18. After a sack by Seeber Newhall-Caballero found Dundacek for 22 yards. A 7-yard pass to Stiegler was good for another first down. A penalty gave the Black Panthers a first down at the Tyrolean 24. After three consecutive incompletions Newhall-Caballero was sacked by Hueter on fourth down to give the SWARCO RAIDERS the ball and the win.

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