On Saturday the SWARCO Raiders, sister-team of The Oakland Raiders, will play their first game of the season on the European stage as they host the Prague Panthers in the European Football League (EFL) quarterfinals at Alpenstadion Wattens. Kickoff is at 11:00 a.m. PT (8:00 p.m. CET).
This will be the third meeting between these two teams this season. Although the Tyroleans have won both matchups (37-10; 52-14) in the Austrian Football League (AFL), SWARCO Raiders head coach Shuan Fatah is well aware of the magnitude of this game. "Even though we beat them twice already this season we can't take this game lightly. Saturday is a win or go home situation. We can't afford any gaffes".
Overall both teams met five times with the SWARCO Raiders winning the last four matchups. The only loss to the Panthers was in the EFL, when Prague won 54-20.
Among the top-performers in the two games the Tyroleans played against the Panthers this season was QB Kyle Callahan. He completed 24 of 45 passes for 336 yards with 5 touchdowns in these two contests. He also rushed 17 times for 126 yards and a score. RB Andreas Hofbauer gained 126 yards on 22 carries and scored 4 touchdowns. The defense forced a total of five turnovers in those two games.
Although the Panthers have won only one out of eight games thus far their offense is very dangerous. QB Justin Walz completed 92 of 159 passes for 1,150 yards with 11 touchdowns and 6 interceptions this season. RB Amos Allen leads the AFL in rushes (129) and is third best in rushing yards (628). He also scored 8 rushing touchdowns. WR Jan Dundacek leads the AFL with 39 catches for 625 yards and 4 scores. WR Jan Stiegler hauled in 28 balls for 326 yards and scored 5 touchdowns.
The Panthers defense is led by LB Daniel Krejbich, who leads his team with 34 tackles (17 solo) and caught an interception. LB Jan Simanek had 28.5 tackles (18 solo) and recovered a fumble. DL Jan Kolek had 6 tackles for loss. DL Vojtech Svoboda leads his team with 1.5 sacks and had 26.5 tackles (14 solo). Prague totaled only three sacks and three picks this season.
On the SWARCO Raiders side Callahan completed 90 of 149 passes for a 60.4 completion percentage and 1,368 yards (both stats 2nd in the league). He threw 11 touchdowns with only 2 picks. Callahan also gained 427 yards and scored 6 touchdowns on 56 rushes. His 1,795 total-yards from scrimmage are top in the AFL. Hofbauer had 70 rushes for 278 yards with 8 touchdowns. RB Florian Grein had 38 runs for 203 yards and scored three times. RB Lukas Miribung gained 113 yards on 21 carries and scored 4 touchdowns.
WR Julian Ebner leads the SWARCO Raiders with 23 catches for 344 yards and 4 touchdowns. WR Damaso Tarneller caught 20 passes for 274 yards and 2 touchdowns. WR Clemens Erlsbacher hauled in 12 balls for 231 yards and 2 scores. WR Talib Wise played only two games thus far, catching 9 balls for 177 yards and a touchdown. He also ran the ball 7 times for 15 yards and 2 scores. WR Christian Willi had 9 catches for 146 yards and a touchdown.
Erlsbacher also excels on special teams. He punted 21 times for 759 yards (36.1 yards per punt). 14 punts were downed inside the opposing 20-yard line. He also returned 5 punts for 138 yards. Clements had 5 punt returns for 93 yards and a touchdown. Wise had 5 returns for 83 yards. The Tyroleans had a total of 18 punt returns for 348 yards and 2 touchdowns. The punt coverage unit allowed only 15 yards on 4 returns.
The team's best kick returner is DB Enrico Martini, who averages 36.8 yards per return (6 for 221 yards). K Christian Kellner was good on 5 of 8 field goal tries and on 24 of 25 points after touchdown. Erlsbacher connected on 12 of 14 extra points.
The Tyrolean defense leads the AFL with 14 forced turnovers. The 7 recovered fumbles and 7 interceptions are also top in the league. The defense gave up only 12.75 first downs and 246.9 total yards per game. Opposing offenses have scored only 7.63 points per contest (61 total offensive points allowed).
CB Manuel Eisenführer, LB Christoph Schilcher, (2 each), Clements, LB Florian Hueter and DB Patrick Pilger (each with one) caught the interceptions. Clements returned a pick 90 yards for a score. DL Bene Brugnara, DL Markus Eitzenberger, LB Mario Rinner, LB Philipp Margreiter, Clements, DL Markus Hechenberger and Hofbauer each recovered a fumble.
Schilcher leads the team with 32 tackles (26 solo). Margreiter had 30.5 tackles (22 solo) so far. Next in line are Hueter (28 tackles; 19 solo), DB Martin Breitsching (20.5 tackles; 13 solo) and DT Reinhard Pardeller (20 tackles; 17 solo) and Eisenführer (16.5 tackles; 15 solo).
Margreiter also returned a blocked punt for a touchdown. LB Chris James had 3 sacks, 4 tackles for loss, 2 forced fumbles and a blocked punt in two games. Eitzenberger, Schilcher, Pardeller and DB Arno Andreas also forced one fumble each. The team's sacks were prdouced by Pardeller (2), Eitzenberger (1.5), Rinner, Margreiter, DE Max Pichler (one each) and Hueter (0.5). Watch the SWARCO Raiders 2012 season live and as-live for free onwww.raidersTV.at