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SWARCO Raiders enter BIG6 with big win


QB John van den Raadt threw 4 touchdown passes against Calanda (Photo: Schellhorn)

The SWARCO Raiders, sister-team of The Oakland Raiders, have begun the adventure BIG6 European Football League with a win. The Tyroleans celebrated a 40-17 (23-0; 0-10; 17-7; 0-0) victory over the Calanda Broncos.

It was the SWARCO Raiders second win in a row against the team from Switzerland on the European stage. It was also their first road win in a European competition in seven years. The victory puts the Tyroleans in an excellent position to reach the Eurobowl as they host the Berlin Adler in their second group game on June 14.

SWARCO Raiders head coach Shuan Fatah was happy about the outcome: "It was a very good game. For the most part we were able to execute our game plan. We also forced four turnovers. It was a very accomplished afternoon. I think we can make some noise in the BIG6".

QB John van den Raadt threw 4 touchdown passes and completed 16 of 37 passes for 273 yards. In his first game as a receiver for the Tyroleans WR Kyle Callahan caught 8 passes for 153 yards and 2 touchdowns. WR/K Clemens Erlsbacher scored 20 points. He caught 3 passes for 78 yards and 2 touchdowns. RB Andreas Hofbauer gained 60 yards on 16 carries.

The defense also had a very nice outing, forcing four turnovers. DB Arno Andreas intercepted two passes. DB/RB DJ Wolfe also picked off a pass in his debut for the Tyroleans – which came against his former team. LB Stefan Werner also caught an interception. LB Florian Hueter scored a safety.

The Broncos won the coin toss and elected to receive. After the kickoff by Erlsbacher Calanda started at their own 25 thanks to a touchback. The Broncos had to punt after a three and out. Starting at their own 15 the Tyroleans began with an 11-yard pass from van den Raadt to Callahan on the first play from scrimmage. Then Hofbauer caught a 9-yarder. Later Wolfe ran to midfield. On the next play van den Raadt scrambled to the 35. He then spotted Callahan for a 17-yard gain. Hofbauer ran to the 8 moments later. The drive ended when WR Adrian Platzgummer scored untouched on an end-around from 6 yards out. Erlsbacher's extra point gave the SWARCO Raiders a 7-0 lead early in the first quarter.

A bad kickoff return and a penalty had the Broncos start in the shadow of their own goal line. On the second play from scrimmage Hueter chased down RB Andre Buford in the backfield for a safety, giving the SWARCO Raiders a 9-0 lead.

After the free kick and a nice Erlsbacher return the Tyroleans started at their own 40. A penalty gave them 15 extra yards. Then Callahan caught a 12-yarder from van den Raadt. Hofbauer ran 10 yards. Later van den Raadt escaped the pressure and threw an 18-yard touchdown strike to Erlsbacher. The PAT gave the SWARCO Raiders a 16-0 lead midway through the first quarter.

Buford returned the kickoff to the 30. A penalty then moved the ball 10 yards back. On the drive's first play QB Cedric Townsend went all in. But his deep pass was picked off by Wolfe at the Tyrolean 15, who returned it to the Broncos 32. The Tyrolean offense was not able to score as they were stopped at the 27 on fourth down.

Townsend ran for 9 yards on first down. After an incomplete pass the quarterback was stopped hard by DB Markus Krause and LB Fabian Seeber on third down. Surprisingly the Broncos went for it on fourth down, but Townsend's deep pass fell incomplete. Taking over at the Calanda 36 van den Raadt found Callahan on second down for 31 yards. Moments later the duo hooked up again, this time for a 4-yard touchdown strike. Erlsbacher's extra point gave the Austrians a 23-0 lead.

After the kickoff and a touchback the Broncos started at their 25. RB Adrian Suenderhauf ran for 8 yards on first down. Later the Broncos went for it on fourth down again, this time converting the down for their first fresh set of downs of the game. Later Townsend found WR Christian Steffani at the Tyroleans 32. A bad snap moved the ball 6 yards back, but on fourth down Townsend threw a desperation pass, which was caught by WR Dea Baumann at the 19. A few plays later WR Lukas Lütscher caught a 7-yard touchdown pass. The PAT cut the SWARCO Raiders lead to 23-7 early in the second quarter.

The next three drives resulted in punts. Then Calanda came to life again. Starting at their 44 Townsend threw a 12-yard pass to Suenderhauf. The team moved to the 12, before Baumann kicked a 30-yard field goal as time expired in the first half. The score was 23-10.

The third quarter started with DB Simon Muigg returning the kickoff to the 26. On the drive's first play from scrimmage van den Raadt founf WR Julian Ebner for 14 yards. On the next play the quarterback threw a quick pass to Callahan who outran the defense and scored on a 58-yard touchdown pass. Erlsbacher added the PAT to give the Tyroleans a 30-10 lead early in the third quarter.

The Broncos started at the 25 after a touchback on the kickoff. They had to punt after a quick three and out. The ball sailed over P Gabor Sviatko's head. But he was able to recover the ball and kicked out of the endzone. The Tyroleans took over at the Broncos 41. After the offense wasn't able to move the ball Erlsbacher extended the lead to 33-10 with a 50-yard field goal.

Another touchback on the kickoff and the Broncos started at their 25 yet again. On third down Townsend found Baumann for 16 yards and a first down. A few plays later the quarterback threw a deep pass to Lütscher, who caught the ball at the Tyrolean 2. Buford scored from there to cut the SWARCO Raiders lead to 33-17 midway through the third quarter.

Muigg returned the ensuing kickoff to the Broncos 45. Hofbauer started the drive with a 5-yard run. Then Ebner caught a pass at the 32. The drive stalled and Erlsbacher's 48-yard field goal try fell short. Taking over at their own 31 the Broncos were not able to move the ball. First DL Brandon Collier sacked Townsend and on the very next play DL Ersin Gödel tackled Buford in the backfield to force a punt. In a déjà vu moment the ball sailed over Sviatko's head again. And again he was able to recover the ball and punt it away. The bounce went Calanda's way, giving the Tyroleans a first down at their own 34.

Hofbauer gained 4 yards on first down. On third down van den Raadt once again escaped the pressure. He threw a laser on the run, finding Erlsbacher who paced down the right sideline for a 60-yard touchdown strike. The PAT gave the SWARCO Raiders a 40-17 lead late in the third quarter.

Both teams punted on their next possessions. The Broncos started at their own 10. On the very first play from scrimmage Andreas picked off Townsend's pass and returned it to the 12. The Tyroleans were not able to cash in on the turnover as Erlsbacher's 19-yard field goal try was blocked.

Calanda took over at their 20, but on third down Andreas was there again. This time he intercepted a deep pass from Townsend. The SWARCO Raiders took over at their own 13. The following drive resulted in a punt. The Broncos then tried desperately to add some points to the scoreboard. But a deflected pass landed in Werner's hands.

The SWARCO Raiders have a bye on Easter Holidays. They play their next game on Saturday, April 26 when they face the Graz Giants on the road in the Austrian Football League (AFL). Kickoff is at 8:00 a.m. PT (5:00 p.m. CET).

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