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SWARCO Raiders host Giants in AFL semifinal


RB Andreas Hofbauer had 159 yards rushing against Graz this season (Photo: Schellhorn)

The SWARCO Raiders, sister-team of The Oakland Raiders, host the JCL Giants Graz in the Austrian Football League (AFL) playoff semifinals on Saturday, July 13. Kickoff at Tivoli Stadium is at 8:00 a.m. PT (5:00 p.m. CET).

Follow the SWARCO Raiders live on The live stream for this week's game starts on July 13 at 7:45 a.m. PT (4:45 p.m. CET).

"For us this game is about getting back up and leaving last weekend's disappointment behind", said SWARCO Raiders head coach Shuan Fatah after the lost Eurobowl. "The Giants will be well-prepared and they want revenge for the two regular season losses against us. They have the talent to do so, so we have to play very focused and mistake-free".

The Giants lost four of their ten regular season AFL games – all of them against the so-called big boys of the league: Vienna and Tyrol. In their season opener Graz fell 31-21 at Innsbruck, allowing the SWARCO Raiders to run away 31-0 before being able to score late in the fourth quarter. In week 7 the Tyroleans travelled to Graz and beat the Giants handily 54-28, again running away with a 38-0 halftime lead. They scored on their first nine drives.

Giants head coach Nick Johansen is still waiting for his first win against his former team. He left the SWARCO Raiders after the 2010 season and fell short in all six games as Graz' offensive coordinator and head coach. In 2011 the SWARCO Raiders won 34-20 at Graz, scoring all points in the second half. Last season the Tyroleans beat the Giants at home 33-0 and won on the road 21-20. They also defeated the Giants 48-42 in the 2012 AFL playoff semifinals.

Overall the Tyroleans have won eight of the last nine meetings with Graz in the AFL and European Football League (EFL). They have won a total of 17 out of 30 matchups against the Giants.

In this season's two games against the Giants QB Kyle Callahan shined for the SWARCO Raiders. He completed 35 of 50 passes for 438 yards with 7 touchdowns. With 6 touchdown passes in the 54-28 rout at Graz he set a personal record since coming to the AFL three years ago. He also had a total of 15 rushes for 38 yards and a score.

RB Andreas Hofbauer had 18 rushes for 150 yards and a touchdown. WR Talib Wise caught 11 passes for 158 yards and 3 touchdowns. WR/K Clemens Erlsbacher caught 6 balls for 83 yards and a touchdown. He scored a total of 25 points against Graz this season.

In the AFL regular season Callahan completed 135 of 208 passes for 1,965 yards with 24 touchdowns and 4 interceptions. He also had 37 rushes for 160 yards and 4 scores. No other AFL quarterback had a higher completion percentage (64.9) and he threw the second-most touchdown passes.

Hofbauer led his team with 92 rushes for 575 yards and 5 touchdowns. RB Lukas Miribung had 60 rushes for 349 yards and 2 touchdowns. RB/DB Jaycen Taylor gained 94 yards on 15 carries and scored once. He also caught 10 passes for 128 yards and 2 touchdowns.

WR Damaso Tarneller was his team's best receiver this regular season, having caught 40 passes for 642 yards and 4 touchdowns. WR Julian Ebner caught 25 balls for 439 yards and 9 touchdowns. Erlsbacher hauled in 25 passes for 307 yards and 2 scores. Wise* *caught 18 passes for 215 yards and 3 touchdowns. He also had 10 carries for 45 yards and 2 touchdowns.

Erlsbacher also excels on special teams, having converted 38 of 41 extra points in the AFL. He also kicked six field goals, scored a total of 68 points and punted 19 times for a 37.3 average with 6 of his punts being downed inside the opposing 20-yard line. 30 of his 58 kickoffs resulted in touchbacks. Erlsbacher also had 7 kickoff returns for 133 yards. In the EFL he punted 4 times for an average of 50 yards. He also kicked 3 field goals.

DB Enrico Martini had 15 kickoff returns in the AFL for 425 yards. Taylor returned 2 punts – both for touchdowns (65 and 78 yards).

LB Florian Hueter led the SWARCO Raiders defense in the AFL with 43.5 tackles (28 solo), 2.5 tackles for loss and a forced fumble. LB Christoph Schilcher had 34.5 tackles (24 solo) and one tackle for loss. LB Fabian Seeber had 31.5 tackles (25 solo), 4.5 tackles for loss, 3 sacks and a fumble recovery.

DL Philipp Margreiter had 19 tackles (17 solo) with 13.5 of them being for loss. He had 6 sacks, forced 2 fumbles and intercepted a pass. Margreiter also blocked a punt. DB Markus Krause had 26 tackles (16 solo) and caught 4 interceptions. Martini had 21.5 tackles (16 solo), recovered a fumble and intercepted 2 passes. DL Korbinian Hoffmann had 4 sacks and 5 tackles for loss among his 16.5 tackles (13 solo). DL Maximilian Pichler had 2.5 sacks and 4.5 tackles for loss. LB Simon Hoser and Taylor each caught 2 interceptions. Hoser returned one for a score. DB Patrick Pilger recovered a fumble.

The Giants are led by QB Alex Good. In his first AFL season he completed 103 of 177 passes for 1,700 yards with 24 touchdowns and only 2 interceptions. He also is his team's leading rusher. In ten AFL games he had 84 carries for 785 yards and 10 touchdowns. Good was part of 34 Giants scores.

If it's not Good, who's running, Johansen spreads the ball around. RB/LB Alex Gross had 51 rushes for 356 yards and 6 touchdowns this season. RB Matthias Kiegerl had 50 carries for 307 yards and 2 scores and RB Alexander Sanz gained 173 yards on 50 rushes and scored 4 touchdowns.

Good's favorite target is WR Armando Ponce de Leon, who caught 34 passes for 601 yards and 7 touchdowns. WR Philipp Sommer caught 30 balls for 229 yards and 4 scores. WR Max Taurer led his team with 686 receiving yards on 28 catches, scoring 11 touchdowns.

Gross is also his team's leading tackler. He had 61 tackles (50 solo) with 6.5 tackles for loss. He also forced a fumble, recovered 2 fumbles and intercepted 2 passes. LB Marco Zoechner had 33.5 tackles (24 solo), 11 tackles for loss, 6 sacks and an interception. DL Maximilian Herdey had 25.5 tackles (14 solo) with 7.5 tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks as well as 2 forced fumbles and one fumble recovery. DB Christof Promitzer has caught 5 of his team's 15 interceptions.

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