WR Philipp Heider (L) caught a 15-yard touchdown pass. Photo by Schellhorn.
The clean slate has its first stain. The SWARCO Raiders, marketing teammate of The Oakland Raiders, lost to the Danube Dragons for the first time in team history. In Week 4 of the 2010 AFL season they fell 28-33 (7-7; 3-14; 18-6; 0-6) on the road.
The Tyroleans had won all previous seven matchups with the Dragons. This was also the first loss of the season for the reigning Eurobowl champion (3-1). Though they had a chance to win. After a bad first half, the SWARCO Raiders stormed back and held a one-point lead going into the fourth quarter.
SWARCO Raiders head coach Santos Carrillo was very disappointed. "We didn't match their intensity. We made too many mistakes and in the end I have to admit the fact that the Dragons were the better team this afternoon," said Carrillo. "We had huge trouble stopping their running game and also had to overcome some personnel issues."
The SWARCO Raiders strong suit, the rushing defense, allowed 179 yards on the ground. Not even LB Florian Hueter was able to change that. He led his team with 9.5 tackles and a sack. On offense RB Tory Cooper had another stellar performance, rushing for 136 yards and a score on 13 carries. QB Leon Jackson III completed 16 of 30 passes for 155 yards and 2 touchdowns.
The Dragons started fast, scoring on the opening drive when QB Eric Marty hit WR Jason Phillip Horton with a 29-yard touchdown pass after 91 seconds. The home team was up 7-0 and the SWARCO Raiders couldn't answer right away. Their first drive ended on the opposing 2-yard line.
After forcing a punt on defense, the Tyrolean offense finally came to life. Starting at his own 36, Jackson completed four straight passes, finishing off the series with an 18-yard touchdown toss to WR Andreas Pröller. K Emanuel Trinkl added the PAT to make it 7-7 with 1:23 left in the first.
The second quarter was dominated by the Dragons. RB Andrej Kliman scored with 9:08 left in the half from 3 yards out. After a bad snap on a SWARCO Raiders punt the team from Klosterneuburg started their next drive deep in Tyrolean territory and scored again, when Marty found WR Pasha Asiladab with a 13-yard touchdown pass. With 5:12 left in the second the Dragons were up 21-7. Just before halftime Trinkl added a 28-yard field goal for the SWARCO Raiders to make it 21-10.
The SWARCO Raiders opened the third quarter with a bang as Cooper battled his way 65 yards into the endzone. After a blocked PAT the score was 21-16 in favor of the Dragons with only 41 ticks taken off the clock in the third.
On the Dragons first play from scrimmage in the second half Kliman lost the ball. LB Michael Süß recovered the fumble and returned the ball 30 yards for a touchdown. The two-point conversion was missed, but the SWARCO Raiders had their first lead of the game. They were up 22-21 with 11:01 to go in the third.
Four minutes later the Dragons answered with a 15-yard touchdown run from WR Michael Janik. After a missed two-point conversion the Dragons reclaimed the lead, going up 27-22.
The SWARCO Raiders opened their next drive with a 12-yard pass from Jackson to WR Jakob Dieplinger. Later he hit WR Julian Ebner, WR Philipp Heider and Cooper, before finishing off the drive with a 15-yard touchdown pass to Heider. Although the two-point conversion failed again, the Tyroleans had a 28-27 lead with 3:56 left in the third.
With the first play of the fourth quarter the Dragons scored again, though. Kliman ran the ball from 3 yards out. And after a missed two-point conversion the score was 33-28 for the Dragons with 11:55 left.
The Tyroleans had the ball three more times, but couldn't come up with another score to turn things around.
On Saturday May 15 the SWARCO Raiders host the Valencia Firebats in the Eurobowl quarterfinals. Kickoff against the reigning Spanish champion at Tivoli stadium is at 10:45 a.m. PT (7:45 p.m. CET).