SWARCO Raiders face Giants


QB John van den Raadt scored 4 rushing TDs at Graz (Photo: Schellhorn)

It's all about the Austrian Football League (AFL) for the SWARCO Raiders now. After missing the Eurobowl last weekend, the sister-team of The Oakland Raiders goes full throttle in the AFL. This Saturday the Tyroleans host the Graz Giants. Kickoff is at 8:00 a.m. PT (5:00 p.m. CET).

Follow the SWARCO Raiders live on *www.raiderstv.at. The live stream for this week's game starts on June 21 at 7:45 a.m. PT (4:45 p.m. CET).*

It is a matchup between the league-leading SWARCO Raiders and the last-place Giants. Yet so much is at stake: The Tyroleans need to win if they want to keep the Raiffeisen Vikings Vienna at bay. The Giants need a victory to keep their slim playoff hopes alive.

"The Giants might look like an easy opponent on paper, but they beat the Vikings in Vienna, almost made an improbable comeback against us and they know a strong finish can get them into the playoffs", knows SWARCO Raiders head coach Shuan Fatah. "We have to play very focused and we have to get the confidence back that made us so strong before the European football championship break".

Graz relies completely on home-grown talent this season, not playing any US imports. And while head coach Nick Johansen's team had to learn the hard way how tough the AFL can be, they played hard in every game. Still their record shows only one win and five losses. Yet that win was a 9-6 stunner over the Vikings in Vienna – truly a confidence-builder.

If the Giants want to make the playoffs they not only have to win out, they also need some help from the SWARCO Raiders. While Graz has to win its two remaining matchups the Tyroleans also need to win at Prague next weekend to help Graz get into the playoffs. But let's take it one step at a time.

This Saturday marks the 33rd time the SWARCO Raiders and Graz play against each other. The Tyroleans have won 19 times including ten of the last eleven encounters. They also have beaten the Giants nine times in a row. Since Johansen has left Tyrol, where he worked as offensive line coach and offensive coordinator, Graz is waiting for a win over the pirates of the Alps.

In their first meeting this season the Tyroleans blew a 37-7 halftime lead only to beat Graz 54-51 in double overtime. Back then the running game for the SWARCO Raiders was unstoppable. The offense gained more than 330 yards on the ground and scored 6 rushing touchdowns. QB John van den Raadt had 166 yards rushing and 4 rushing touchdowns on 15 carries. RB Andreas Hofbauer gained 160 yards on 15 rushes and scored twice.

This AFL season Hofbauer leads the AFL with 89 rushes for 703 yards (7.9 yards per carry) and 13 touchdowns. Hofbauer also caught 5 passes for 139 yards and a score. RB Lukas Miribung has 5 carries for 27 yards and a touchdown. RB Markus Wenzel gained 12 yards on 4 rushes. RB Romed Zangerle had 3 rushes for 22 yards.

Van* *den Raadt completed 86 of 161 passes for 1,389 yards with 11 touchdowns and 4 interceptions. He also carried the ball 60 times for 427 yards and 5 touchdowns.

WR/K Clemens Erlsbacher caught 23 balls for 413 yards and 2 touchdowns. WR Adrian Platzgummer had 21 catches for 358 yards and 3 touchdowns. He also scored three times on the ground. WR Julian Ebner had 15 catches for 307 yards and 3 touchdowns. WR Damaso Tarneller caught 10 passes for 90 yards and 32 touchdowns.

Erlsbacher also is the focal point on special teams. He kicked 5 field goals and 24 extra points. He had 15 kickoff returns for 366 yards and punted 16 times for 636 yards (39.75 yards per punt).

LB Fabian Seeber leads the Tyroleans with 35.5 tackles (28 solo), 2.5 tackles for loss and a sack. He also picked off a pass and recovered a fumble. LB Florian Hueter had 23.5 tackles (19 solo), 3.5 tackles for loss and an interception. DL Philipp Margreiterhad 27 tackles (21 solo), 7.5 tackles for loss, 5 sacks and a forced fumble. LB Simon Hoser had 22.5 tackles (18 solo), one tackle for loss, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery.

DB Markus Krause had 19 tackles (16 solo) and caught 2 interceptions. DB Simon Muigg also picked off 2 passes. He had 10.5 tackles (8 solo) and 2 tackles for loss. DB Arno Andreas had 24 tackles (20 solo). He caught 2 interceptions in the BIG6. DB Alexander Achammer had 23.5 tackles (22 solo) and a tackle for loss. He caught an interception against Berlin last weekend. DB Simon Unterrainer had 10 tackles (8 solo) and a tackle for loss. DB Enrico Martini had a tackle for loss and 4.5 tackles (3 solo).

DL Maximilian Pichler had 2 sacks, 1.5 tackles for loss and 5 tackles (4 solo). DL Ralf Stefanitsch had 4 tackles (4 solo), a tackle for loss and a sack. DL Reinhard Pardeller had 8.5 tackles (7 solo) and 1.5 tackles for loss. DL Korbinian Hoffmann also had a sack as well as 2 tackles for loss and 13 tackles (10 solo). DL Philipp Popp had 6 tackles (4 solo), 0.5 tackles for loss and a fumble recovery. DL Manuel Jovic had 8 tackles (6 solo), 2.5 tackles for loss and a sack.

Graz is led by young QB Christoph Gubisch and RB Alexander Sanz. Gubisch threw for 344 yards and 4 touchdowns in his first start against the Tyroleans. Sanz scored twice and gained 115 rushing yards.

In his first full AFL season Gubisch has completed 85 of 192 passes for 1,121 yards with 13 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. He also gained 115 yards on 52 carries and scored twice on the ground. Sanz leads the Giants with 116 carries for 469 yards and 5 touchdowns.

WR Philipp Sommer leads his team with 20 catches for 293 yards and 5 touchdowns. WR Dominik Szecsi had 16 receptions for 300 yards and 2 touchdowns. WR Florian Wolf caught 19 balls for 216 yards and a touchdown. Sanz is also a good receiver. He caught 15 passes for 172 yards and 2 touchdowns. WR Armando Ponce de Leon, who has been the Giants best receiver in previous seasons, gets more and more playing time on defense.

There LB Thomas Schnurrer leads his squad with 24.5 tackles (22 solo), 3 tackles for loss, a sack and a pick. LB Marco Zoechner had 21.5 tackles (18 solo), 2 tackles for loss and a sack. LB Daniel Schoenet had 20.5 tackles (15 solo) and 5 tackles for loss. DB Manuel Schneeweiss had 17.5 tackles (14 solo), 2 tackles for loss, a sack and 2 interceptions. DB Dominik Pötsch had 14 tackles (9 solo), forced 2 and recovered one fumble and caught 4 interceptions.

Watch the SWARCO Raiders 2014 season live and as-live for free onwww.raidersTV.at.

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