QB Kyle Callahan played QB for the first time since 2013 (Photo: Herbert Kratky)
The SWARCO RAIDERS, sister-team of The Oakland Raiders, have also lost their second game of the 2015 Austrian Football League (AFL) season. On Saturday the Tyroleans fell to the Danube Dragons, losing 42-23 (3-0; 21-6; 14-7; 7-7).
It was the first loss to the Dragons since the 2010 Austrian Bowl. The SWARCO RAIDERS had won nine straight since then.
"We played with a very young team today. You could see that at times. Then there were moments were we looked really good. Unfortunately it was not enough to win the game", said SWARCO RAIDERS QB Kyle Callahan.
18 players from the SWARCO RAIDERS' junior varsity team made the trip to Vienna to play the Dragons. Callahan wasn't one of them. But it was his first game at quarterback since 2013. He completed 19 of 39 passes for 170 yards and had 7 rushes for 35 yards. RB Simon Muigg gained minus 3 yards on 4 carries, yet scored twice. He also led the team with 7 catches for 76 yards. RB Fabien-André Gärtner had 10 rushes for 37 yards and a touchdown. WR Fabian Abfalter caught 6 passes for 57 yards. DB Vincent Müller led the team with 8.5 tackles (6 solo) and DB Philipp Roiss had 7.5 tackles (6 solo) and a forced fumble.
The Dragons won the coin toss and elected to receive. Yet they had to punt after only three plays. The SWARCO RAIDERS took over at their own 40 with a 5-yard run by Gärtner. Then Callahan found Muigg for 7 yards. Later WR Gregor Hofman caught a 22-yarder. The drive ended with a 35-yard field goal by K Dennis Wiehberg. With 6:26 minutes left in the first the Tyrolean were up 3-0.
After punts on both sides the third Dragons possession ended with a turnover on downs when LB Florian Hueter and LB Simon Hoser stopped Dragons QB Alex Good in the backfield at the SWARCO RAIDERS 18. On the first play of the ensuing drive Callahan threw a 37-yard pass to Muigg. But later Wiehberg missed from 37 yards.
The Dragons finally got on the scoreboard on their next drive. Starting at their 27 Good moved the chains with his arm and feet. He finished the drive with a 7-yard touchdown pass to RB Florian Pos. K Stefan Knaller added the extra point to give the home site a 7-3 lead with 8:21 minutes left in the second.
On their next drive the Dragons scored again. This time they began at their own 40 with a 13-yard run by Good. Later he found WR Philipp Haun for 10 yards. Then Pos scored on a 21-yard pass from his quarterback. The PAT was good, giving the Dragons a 14-3 lead with 2:43 minutes left in the second.
On the ensuing kickoff Muigg returned the ball to the opposing 43. On the first play from scrimmage he caught a 7-yard pass. Then Gärtner ran for 6 yards and caught passes of 9 and 20 yards. Finally Muigg scored on a 1-yard run. The PAT was blocked, but the SWARCO RAIDERS cut the deficit to 14-9 with 65 seconds left before the half.
Unfortunately it was enough time for the Dragons to score once more. Starting at their own 25 Good found WR Matthias Rebl for 37 yards. Moments later Good threw a 13-yard touchdown pass to WR Manuel Dallinger. Knaller's extra point gave the Dragons a 21-9 halftime lead.
After the break the SWARCO RAIDERS came back swinging. Muigg returned the opening kickoff to the Dragons 23. Two completions from Callahan to Abfalter gained 15 yards. Gärtner then finished the drive with a 2-yard touchdown run. The PAT made it 21-16 in favor of the Dragons. 10:33 minutes were left in the third.
After a Dragons punt the Tyroleans were driving again, when Muigg fumbled at the SWARCO RAIDERS 21. A few plays later Good scored on a 1-yard touchdown run. The PAT gave the Dragons a 28-16 lead with 6:31 minutes left in the third.
The next SWARCO RAIDERS possession ended yet with another fumble, this time at their own 44. And again the Dragons took advantage of the turnover when Good threw a 5-yard touchdown pass to WR Tobias Morgenbesser. Knaller kicked the PAT to give the Dragons a 35-16 lead with 4:00 minutes left in the third.
The SWARCO RAIDERS scored once more on their first possession of the fourth quarter. Starting at their 35 Callahan found Abfalter for 10 yards and Muigg for 8 yards. He then ran himself for 9 and 11 yards. Later Muigg caught a 9-yard pass. A penalty moved the chains 15 more yards. The drive ended with a 2-yard touchdown run by Muigg. The PAT was good, cutting the Dragons lead to 35-23 with 7:00 minutes left in the fourth.
But the Dragons were not done, yet. On their next drive Good and Pos led their team down the field. Good finished with a 2-yard scoring run. The PAT made it 42-23 with 2:02 minutes left.
The SWARCO RAIDERS play their next game on Easter Sunday as they host the Stuttgart Scorpions in the BATTLE4TIROL. Kickoff at Innsbruck's Tivoli Stadium is at 9:00 a.m. PT. The Tyroleans play their next AFL contest on Sunday, April 12 against the Graz Giants.