The SWARCO Raiders did not allow a point against the Dragons last season. Photo by Schellhorn.
On Monday, April 9 the SWARCO Raiders, sister team of The Oakland Raiders, finally hosts their first home game of the 2012 Austrian Football League (AFL) season, playing against the Danube Dragons. Kickoff Monday at Tivoli Stadium is at 5:15 a.m. PT (2:15 p.m. CET).
"We're excited to finally get to play in front of our fans," said SWARCO Raiders head coach Shuan Fatah. "On Monday we want to start where we finished the first two games. We're counting on our fans. The Dragons are a well-coached team. Since they'll make us pay for every mistake we have to play very focused."
It's a mistake the Prague Panthers made and paid for on opening night. The Panthers were up 33-10 at the half, before falling 37-33 to the Dragons. Last weekend the Dragons lost to the Raiffeisen Vikings Vienna, though. But much more painful than the 39-3 defeat was the loss of QB Jonathan Dally, who suffered a broken shin early in the game.
The team from Klosterneuburg definitely could use Dally against the Tyroleans since the Dragons have lost 9 of 11 AFL contests against the SWARCO Raiders, including last year's 28-0 regular-season loss and a 29-0 defeat in the AFL playoff semifinals. In their previous eleven meetings the SWARCO Raiders have scored an average of 40.9 points per game.
In last season's dominating performances against the Dragons QB Kyle Callahan completed a combined 20 of 30 passes for 427 yards and 2 touchdowns. He also rushed 10 times for 87 yards and a score. RB Florian Grein had 27 carries for 160 yards and 4 touchdowns in two games. This year Callahan completed 20 of 38 passes for 274 yards and 3 touchdowns against the Rangers (52-0) and Panthers (37-10). He also had 15 runs for 139 yards and a touchdown.
Grein had 12 rushes for 76 yards and 2 touchdowns in 2012. RB Andreas Hofbauer already scored 5 touchdowns and gained 119 yards on 31 carries. RB Lukas Miribung had 4 rushes for 30 yards and a touchdown.
In the season-opener at the Rangers WR Talib Wise caught 3 balls for 66 yards and a touchdown. Due to the AFL's new import rule, which allows each team to have only two imports active per game, Wise sat out in Prague. There WR Julian Ebner was Callahan's go-to guy. In total Ebner caught 6 passes for 78 yards and a touchdown this season. WR Clemens Erlsbacher caught 2 balls for 18 yards and scored and had one run for 11 yards.
Originally playing safety, John Clements played on the offensive side of the ball in Prague, too. He caught one pass for 36 yards. Against the Dragons he shined on defense last season as he picked off a pass in each of the two contests and recoverd a fumble. This season Clements gave his season debut in Prague with 2.5 tackles and a pass break-up.
So far the SWARCO Raiders defense hasn't given up a single offensive touchdown. Opponents were allowed an average of 9 first downs and 192.5 total yards per game. DT Reinhard Pardeller leads his team with 9.5 tackles (9 solo), a sack, a forced fumble and 3.5 tackles for loss. DE Markus Hechenberger recovered a fumble and CB Manuel Eisenführer intercepted a pass in each game this season. LB Christoph Schilcher had 7.5 tackles (7 solo). LB Philipp Margreiter has 6 tackles (5 solo).
The Dragons will have their hands full, especially after Dally's injury. He completed 7 of 21 passes for 160 yards and 3 touchdowns this season. He also had 10 rushes for 23 yards and a score. His back-up, QB Thomas Haider, completed 7 of 23 passes for 33 yards and an interception last week against Vienna. He also gained 28 yards on 5 carries. Starting as a receiver in week 1 Haider caught 3 balls for 72 yards and a touchdown. A lot is expected of RB Tunde Ogun. The Nigerian nightmare had 29 carries for 147 yards and a touchdown this season. He also caught 3 balls for 56 yards.
On the defensive side of the ball the Dragons allowed 35 points per game this season. They also gave up 321.5 total yards and 207 rushing yards per contest.* *
Watch the SWARCO Raiders 2012 season live and as-live for free on www.raidersTV.at.