In their last meeting in 2009 the SWARCO RAIDERS beat the Flash in the Eurobwol (Photo: Schellhorn)
Saturday the new season in the BIG6 European Football League begins. The SWARCO RAIDERS, sister-team of The Oakland Raiders, play their first of two group stage games, facing the Flash de La Courneuve. Kickoff at Marville Stadium in Paris is at 9:00 a.m. PT (6:00 p.m. CET). The third team in the group are the New Yorker Lions Braunschweig, reigning German champion.
"A tough task awaits us in Paris. Flash is a very physical and fast team", said SWARCO RAIDERS head coach Shuan Fatah. "We are ready to play them. The two BATTLE4TIROL contests and the victory over Graz have helped our rhythm and we gained lots of confidence".
The nine-time French champion Flash already started into the Championnat Elite in early February. With a record of three wins and four losses Flash surprisingly is only ranked 6th in the league.
Flash started the season with a 34-12 victory over Molosses. That was followed by a 31-21 loss at Templiers, the former team of SWARCO RAIDERS quarterback Sean Shelton. Flash won the next two contests, beating Dauphins (32-6) and Templiers (26-7). But since then the team from La Courneuve has lost three straight (26-15 at the Argonautes; 21-13 vs. the Cougars and 20-19 at the Black Panthers).
While most teams in Europe have just started into the season the SWARCO RAIDERS have already played five games. The Austrians were able to prepare themselves for the BIG6 with two games in the BATTLE4TIROL.
They beat the Stuttgart Scorpions and Düsseldorf Panther of the German Football League in convincing fashion, winning 34-9 and 42-0 respectively. And after a bumpy start into the Austrian Football League (AFL) season the Tyroleans defeated Graz 51-14 to celebrate their third straight victory.
On Saturday the two European heavyweights will face each other for the third time, yet it will be the first contest outside of Innsbruck as the game will be played in La Courneuve.
The first encounter took place on June 10, 2006 when the Flash beat the SWARCO RAIDERS 27-17 in the European Football League (EFL) semifinals. Three years later the Tyroleans were able to take revenge when they defeated the Flash 30-19 in Eurobowl XXIII.
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#25 David Oku (RB, SWARCO RAIDERS Tirol): In the two BATTLE4TIROL games David Oku gained 183 yards on 15 carries and scored once. He also caught 8 passes for 48 yards and scored on an 82-yard punt return touchdown against Stuttgart.
#6 Kyle Callahan (WR, SWARCO RAIDERS Tirol): Kyle Callahan was the marathon man over the last two weeks as he was one of the few players who participated in all four games over a nine day stretch. He played wide receiver in the BATTLE4TIROL, catching 11 passes for 189 yards and 4 touchdowns. He also played quarterback in two AFL games and completed 33 of 59 passes for 369 yards with 2 touchdowns and an interception. Callahan also had 19 rushes for 152 yards and 2 touchdowns.
#20 Patrick Pilger (DB, SWARCO RAIDERS Tirol): Military athlete Patrick Pilger has quickly established himself in the defensive lineup in his first full season as a starter. He had 13.5 tackles (12 solo) with a tackle for loss in two BATTLE4TIROL games and leads the Tyroleans with 12.5 tackles (11 solo) in the AFL. He also contributed one tackle for loss, a sack and 2 interceptions. This past week he was named AFL Player of the Week.
#12 Paul Durand (QB, Flash de La Courneuve): Flash is relying on a French quarterback. But Paul Durand is very experienced, playing for the national team and winning a French championship with Amiens. This season he has completed 107 of 193 passes for 1,622 yards with 16 touchdowns and 7 interceptions. He also rushed 44 times for 70 yards.
#6 Marcus Shaw (RB; Flash de La Courneuve): Running Back Marcus Shaw gives Flash an international flavor on offense. From 2010-2013 he has played 38 games (13 starts) at the University of South Florida. He had 239 carries for 1,156 yards and 6 touchdowns. He also caught 26 passes for 202 yards and returned 18 kickoffs for 458 yards. In Paris Shaw gained 540 yards on 79 rushes and scored 5 touchdowns. He also caught 11 passes for 170 yards.
#22 Mickael Doukoure (WR, Flash de La Courneuve): Wide receiver Mickael Doukoure is one of many talents from the Flash's youth program. He leads the team with 34 catches for 521 yards and 7 touchdowns.