Third game, third victory: The SWARCO Raiders, sister-team of The Oakland Raiders, keeps on marching through the 2012 Austrian Football League (AFL) season. The Tyroleans beat the Danube Dragons 31-7 (7-0; 3-0; 14-0; 7-7) in their home-opener at Tivoli Stadium.
It was the SWARCO Raiders' tenth win in twelve contests against the Dragons in the AFL. "I'm very satisfied with the result, but we can't go on and have those easy penalties", said SWARCO Raiders head coach Shuan Fatah. "That's something we have to turn off. If we do that, we're on a good way".
LB Chris James had a dominating performance in his season SWARCO Raiders debut, forcing 2 fumbles, having 2 sacks and blocking punt. QB Kyle Callahan completed 11 of 15 passes for 185 yards and a touchdown. He also had 4 runs for 8 yards and a score. RB Andreas Hofbauer gained 34 yards on 12 carries and scored his sixth touchdown of the season. RB Florian Grein had 3 rushes for 52 yards. WR Julian Ebner caught 4 balls for 75 yards and a touchdown. WR Damaso* *Tarneller caught 4 passes for 68 yards.
After winning the coin toss the SWARCO Raiders deferred. The Dragons started their first drive at their own 20 after a touchback on the opening kickoff. After gaining only 3 yards on three plays they had to punt for the first time. The Tyroleans started their first drive at their own 46, but had to punt, too. P/WR Clemens Erlsbacher's punt was downed at the Dragons 7. The team from Klosterneuburg had to punt again on their second possession and Erlsbacher returned the ball 25 yards to the opposing 47.
A 15-yard penalty gave the Tyroleans a first down at the Dragons 32. Ebner opened the drive with a 5-yard catch, followed by a 7-yard run by Hofbauer. After losing 15 yards on a penalty Callahan threw a 16-yard pass to Tarneller for a new set of downs at the Dragons 19. After a 5-yard penalty against the home site Callahan found Tarneller yet again, this time for a gain of 23 yards. On the next play Callahan scored on a 1-yard touchdown-run. K Christian Kellner added the extra point. With 1:10 minutes left in the first quarter the SWARCO Raiders were up 7-0.
On the ensuing kickoff, James forced a fumble that was recovered by LB Philipp Margreiter* *at the Dragons 30. But the Tyroleans couldn't take advantage of the turnover. After a sack they had to punt. The Dragons started at their own 14 and were forced to punt once again, giving the SWARCO Raiders the ball back at their own 29.
On the drive's first play Callahan pitched the ball to Grein, who ran 21 yards to midfield. Then Ebner caught a 15-yard pass from Callahan. On the next play Callahan ran to the Dragons 17. After a penalty against the Tyroleans the drive stalled at the opposing 22. But Kellner kicked a 39-yard field goal to give the SWARCO Raiders a 10-0 lead with 5:46 minutes left in the second.
After a touchback on the next kickoff, the Dragons started at their own 20. Three completions to WR Corey Stollmeyer and two rushes by RB Tunde Ogun moved the ball to the Tyroleans 36, before the Dragons had to settle for a field goal. But a penalty on the kick moved the ball 5 yards back. The Dragons decided to go for it, but turned the ball over on downs when James sacked Hajder at the Dragons 46. With little time left on the clock Callahan threw a 42-yard pass to Erlsbacher. But on the last play of the first half Hofbauer was stopped inches shy of the endzone.
On their opening possession of the third quarter the Tyroleans had to punt. The Dragons started their first drive of the second half at their own 11 with a 7-yard run by Ogun. A pass from Hajder to Stollmeyer gave the Dragons a first down at their own 34. But moments later James sacked Hajder and forced a fumble. The ball was recovered by DL Benedikt Brugnara at the Dragons 39.
Grein started the drive with a 5-yard run. A penalty against the Dragons moved the ball to the opposing 29. A pitch from Callahan to Grein gained 26 yards and on the very next play Hofbauer scored on a 3-yard touchdown run. Kellner added the PAT to give the SWARCO Raiders a 17-0 lead with 5:24 minutes left in the third.
The Dragons started their next drive at their own 24. But two penalties moved them back to their own 6. The SWARCO Raiders defense wouldn't give up a first down, forcing another punt. On the punt James broke through the line and blocked the kick. Margreiter recovered the ball at the 15 and returned the ball to the endzone. The PAT extended the lead to 24-0 with 2:33 minutes left in the third.
Stollmeyer returned the ball on the ensuing kickoff to the Dragons 40. On the first play from scrimmage Hajder was sacked by LB Mario Rinner. This set up another punt. The SWARCO Raiders got the ball back at their own 29. Despite a 22-yard pass from Callahan to Tarneller the Tyroleans also had to punt.
After exchanging punts once more the Dragons received the ball at their own 32 with about 5 minutes left in the fourth. A penalty against the Tyroleans moved the ball 15 yards forward. Ogun then ran to the opposing 42. Later Stollmeyer caught a pass at the 14. On the next play Ogun scored on a 14-yard touchdown run. K Martin Wunderer added the extra point to cut the SWARCO Raiders lead to 24-7 with 2:45 minutes left in the fourth.
The onside kick went out of bounds, giving the SWARCO Raiders the ball at their own 49. RB Lukas Miribung* *gained 10 yards on first down. Later the Tyroleans faced a third down and 15 at the opposing 44 when Callahan threw a 44-yard touchdown pass to a wide-open Ebner. Kellner added the PAT. With 54 seconds left in the game the SWARCO Raiders were up 31-7.
On Saturday, April 14 the SWARCO Raiders host the Kornmesser Rangers. Kickoff at Tivoli Stadium is at 6 a.m. PT (3 p.m. CET).