In a battle for 1st place in the Austrian Football League (AFL) the SWARCO Raiders added a historic chapter to their team history. The Oakland Raiders' marketing teammate beat the Raiffeisen Vikings Vienna 50-22 (9-7; 21-6; 14-7; 6-2) in front of 4,200 in attendance. Never before did the Tyroleans had a bigger crowd for a regular season game. It also was the biggest win over their arch rivals at Tivoli Stadium.
QB Leon Jackson III had a phenomenal game, completing 22 of 23 passes for 337 yards and 6 touchdowns. WR Jakob Dieplinger caught 6 balls for 131 yards and 3 scores. WR Philipp Heider hauled in 4 balls for 76 yards and 2 touchdowns. RB Tory Cooper gained 129 yards on 23 carries, caught 3 balls for 63 yards and scored 2 total touchdowns. The SWARCO Raiders defense allowed only 31 rushing yards on 13 attempts and forced four turnovers (two interceptions, two fumbles).
"It was a good game. We executed our game plan very well. And when all things come together, you sometimes get a score like this one," said SWARCO Raiders head coach Santos Carrillo.
The game started with a big play on the second play from the Vikings 42-yard line. QB Christoph Gross lost the ball and DT Marquay Love recovered the fumble at the Vikings 39. The Tyroleans were not able to turn the gift into points, though as they gave the ball right back. From the opposing 16 Jackson faked a pass to his right, then turned and threw the ball to LT Michael Habetin. Vikings LB Philip Stojaspal saw it coming, stripped the ball out of Habetin's hands and ran back 57 yards for a touchdown. After the PAT by K Peter Kramberger Vienna held a 7-0 lead with 8:41 to go in the first.
The SWARCO Raiders second drive started at their own 23. On second down Jackson found WR Julian Ebner for a gain of 24 yards. Later Jackson ran for 19 yards. Cooper added a 12-yard run and then moved the chains to the Vikings 1-yard line. But the defense stopped the Tyroleans on four straight plays and Vienna took over at their own 1. On the first play o their drive LB Florian Hueter tackled the ball carrier in the endzone for a safety. 3:20 were left in the first quarter.
Dieplinger returned the ensuing free kick to the Raiders 46. And after two Cooper runs, WR Andreas Pröller caught a 15-yarder. On the very next play Jackson hit a wide-open Dieplinger for a 22-yard touchdown pass. K Emanuel Trinkl added the extra point to give the SWARCO Raiders a 9-7 lead with 1:45 left in the first.
After forcing the Vikings to punt, the SWARCO Raiders offense started at their own 31. After a penalty set them back to their own 18, Jackson threw a 15-yarder to Heider and then ran for a first down. A couple of runs later Jackson fooled the Vikings with a play-action fake and found Cooper, who raced down the left sideline for a 39-yard touchdown. After the PAT the score was 16-7 with 8:40 left in the second.
Yet another Vikings punt gave the home-site the ball at their own 25. A 30-yard pass to Ebner gave the SWARCO Raiders a first down in enemy territory. On third down from the Vikings 36 Jackson found Dieplinger in the endzone for a touchdown. The Tyroleans added an extra point and held a 23-7 lead with 4:21 left in the first half.
Now it was time for the SWARCO Raiders defense to shine again. On the second play from scrimmage DB Martin Breitsching picked off a Gross pass and returned it to the Vikings 41. Cooper caught a ball at the 25. And on the next play Dieplinger caught his third touchdown pass from Jackson. After the PAT the score was 30-7 with 2:14 left in the second.
The Vikings started their next drive at the Raiders 46 with a fumble. But Gross was able to recover the loose ball at their own 35. After a 15-yard penalty against the Tyroleans, the Vikings offense finally got on the board. With 43 seconds left in the half Gross threw a 24-yard touchdown pass to WR Stefan Holzinger. The two-point conversion failed and the score was 30-13 in favor of the SWARCO Raiders.
The Tyroleans had the ball first in the second half and started from their own 30. Jackson ran the ball for a first down and the found Dieplinger at the Vikings 32. Cooper ran for 11 yards. After a 10-yard penalty TE Stefan Michalsky caught a 14 yard-pass. And after yet another penalty against the offense it was again the tight end, who was the recipient of Jackson's pass – this time at the Vienna 5-yard line. On the next play Cooper ran the ball in for a touchdown. After the PAT the score was 37-13 with 6:20 left in the third.
The Vikings' first offensive series of the second half ended with loss of yardage and a punt. Jackson started the next SWARCO Raiders drive at his own 29 with passes to FB Emanuel Marksteiner, Dieplinger and RB Florian Grein. After a Cooper run it was time again for Jackson to get the fans on their feet. The quarterback threw a 32-yard touchdown pass to Heider with 1:20 left in the third. The extra point made it 44-13 for the SWARCO Raiders.
With 12 seconds left in the third the Vikings found the endzone one last time. After a good kickoff return by RB Josiah Cravalho it was the running back himself, who scored on a 31-yard touchdown run. The PAT was good and the score was now 44-20.
The SWARCO Raiders were still not done, though. Starting at their own 36 Jackson found Heider for 15 yards. Later Dieplinger caught a ball the Vikings 29. And after a 15-yard run by Cooper, Jackson threw a 14-yard touchdown pass to Heider. The PAT failed, but the score was 50-20 with 9:53 left.
Vienna came close to the SWARCO Raiders endzone on their next drive, but CB Lemay Maqueira recovered a Gross fumble at the 3-yard line. On the very next play Jackson got tackled in the endzone for a safety. The SWARCO Raiders lead was now 50-22 with 7:31 left in the game. The Vikings last hope for another score died about four minutes later in the arms of DB Markus Krause, who picked off Gross. The Tyroleans then ran out the clock.