DB Enrico Martini had a 95-yard kickoff return TD last season at the Dragons (Photo: Schellhorn)
In week 9 of the 2013 Austrian Football League (AFL) season the SWARCO Raiders, sister-team of The Oakland Raiders, go on the road to take on the Danube Dragons. Kickoff at Stadlau stadium is this Saturday at 8:00 a.m. PT (5:00 p.m. CET).
"This is a very important game", said SWARCO Raiders head coach Shuan Fatah. "With a win we secure a home game in the playoff semifinals. The Dragons on the other hand have not been qualified for the playoffs, yet. They will do everything necessary to beat us after they lost at our house".
In fact can this game be a decisive one. With a victory the SWARCO Raiders at least lock up second place in the AFL standings. A home game in the playoffs would be guaranteed. With two wins and four losses the Dragons need to watch their back as the Prague Black Panthers can still move ahead of them in the standings.
The Dragons have lost three in a row, though. Even worse they have won only twice in 14 tries against the Tyroleans (both wins came in 2010). The last five contests were very lopsided with the SWARCO Raiders winning three of those games completely shutting down the Dragons. They beat them 28-0 in 2011 and 29-0 in the 2011 playoffs. And in week 8 of this season they defeated the team from Klosterneuburg 24-0.
Offense, defense, special teams; it doesn't matter as the SWARCO Raiders fire on all cylinders right now. QB Kyle Callahan has completed 119 of 185 passes for 1,610 yards with 20 touchdowns and 4 interceptions. He also ran the ball 33 times for 131 yards and 3 touchdowns. Callahan's completion percentage (64.3) and his passing yards rank second in the AFL. He also is tied for first place with 20 touchdown passes. In the first meeting against the Dragons this season he completed 18 of 25 passes for 187 yards with 3 touchdowns. He has thrown 13 touchdowns and only one interception in his last three AFL games.
RB Andreas Hofbauer leads the league and the Tyroleans with 78 rushes for 476 yards and 4 touchdowns. RB Lukas Miribung had 38 carries for 189 yards and a touchdown. RB/DB Jaycen Taylor gained 94 yards and scored a touchdown on 15 carries. He also caught 8 passes for 70 yards and a score.
WR Damaso Tarneller is first on the team with 33 catches for 481 yards and 3 touchdowns. WR Julian Ebner has caught 23 passes for 382 yards. His 9 touchdown catches lead the league. WR/K Clemens Erlsbacher caught 23 balls for 278 yards and 2 touchdowns. He also had 2 carries for 63 yards. WR Talib Wise had 18 receptions for 215 yards and 3 touchdowns. He also carried the ball 10 times for 45 yards and 2 scores. In the 24-0 win over the Dragons in week 8 Tarneller caught 6 passes for 60 yards and a touchdown. Ebner had 5 catches for 48 yards and a score and Erlsbacher also caught a touchdown pass.
Erlsbacher also excels on special teams. He converted 29 of 30 extra points and kicked 5 field goals (18, 33, 42, 43, 43 yards). He also had 16 punts for an average of 36.8 yards per punt with 5 punts downed inside the opposing 20. And half of his 44 kickoffs resulted in touchbacks. On top of that Erlsbacher had 4 kickoff returns for 67 yards. Wise had 3 kickoff returns for 54 yards and 3 punt returns for 87 yards. DB Enrico Martini returned 8 kickoffs for 234 yards. Taylor's lonely return was good for a 78-yard punt return touchdown.
The SWARCO Raiders defense is led by LB Florian Hueter and his 37 tackles (26 solo), 2.5 tackles for loss and a forced fumble. He's the league's best Austrian tackler. LB Chrisoph Schilcher had 30.5 tackles (22 solo) and a tackle for loss. He's followed by LB Fabian Seeber, who had 28.5 tackles (24 solo), 4.5 tackles for loss, 3 sacks and a fumble recovery.
DE Philipp Margreiter had 19 tackles (17 solo). He also leads the AFL with 13.5 tackles for loss and 6 sacks. Margreiter also forced 2 fumbles, caught an interception and blocked a punt. Martini had 16 tackles (12 solo). DL Korbinian Hoffmann had 4 sacks and 5 tackles for loss. DL Maximilian Pichler had 2 sacks. LB Simon Hoser intercepted two passes and returned one for a touchdown. DB Markus Krause and Taylor also caught 2 interceptions each. DB Patrick Pilger and Martini each recovered a fumble.
The Dragons don't have any positive memories of the first meeting with their Tyrolean opponent. QB Jonathan Dally threw 3 interceptions and completed barely 50 percent of his passes (16 of 31). RB Tunde Ogun had only 3 carries for 3 yards.
On the season Dally has completed 108 of 206 passes for 1.511 yards with 12 touchdowns and 9 interceptions. He also ran the ball 49 times for 305 yards and 2 touchdowns. Ogun has gained 374 yards on 65 carries and scored 8 touchdowns. He also has caught 15 passes for 113 yards and 2 touchdowns. WR Thomas Haider has caught 39 balls 576 yards and 7 touchdowns. He is followed by WR Georg Pongratz, who has 29 receptions for 455 yards and a score.
The defense is led by LB Martin Winkler with 23.5 tackles (16 solo), 6 tackles for loss and a fumble recovery. LB Ramon Azim had 21.5 tackles (17 solo), 3 tackles for loss, a sack and a fumble recovery. DL Martin Nemeth and DL Johannes Kain each had 2 sacks. DB Jakob Baron had 2.5 sacks and an interception. DB Thomas Meznik, DB Maximilian Katzenbeisser and Ogun each also have caught an interception.
Watch the SWARCO Raiders 2013 season live and as-live for free onwww.raidersTV.at.