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SWARCO Raiders lose at Prague for the first time


WR Damaso Tarneller caught 5 passes for 113 yards(Photo: Schellhorn)

Every good run comes to an end. After eight straight victories over the Prague Black Panthers the SWARCO Raiders lost on the last day of the Austrian Football League (AFL) regular season. The sister-team of The Oakland Raiders fell 40-21 (13-7; 14-0; 7-14; 6-0) at Prague.

At the end of the regular season the Tyroleans sit at six wins and two losses. Due to the loss at Prague the SWARCO Raiders dropped to second place in the AFL standings. They now will face the Danube Dragons in the AFL playoff semifinals. The game will be played on Saturday, July 12. Kickoff at Innsbruck's Tivoli Stadium is at 8:00 a.m. PT (5:00 p.m. CET). A spot in Austrian Bowl XXX is on the line.

"We were playing without many regulars today", said SWARCO Raiders head coach Shuan Fatah. "We fought to the best of our abilities, but Prague was red hot today. They were just better this time around. Now we will prepare ourselves for the playoff semifinal game against the Dragons".

QB John van den Raadt completed 17 of 27 passes for 245 yards with 2 interceptions. He also rushed 5 times for 33 yards and a score. RB Andreas Hofbauer had 6 rushes for 25 yards and a touchdown. WR Damaso Tarneller caught 5 balls for 113 yards. WR/K Clemens Erlsbacher returned a kickoff for a touchdown and DB Alexander Achammer recovered a fumble.

Prague won the coin toss and elected to receive. After Erlsbacher's kickoff and a touchback the Black Panthers started at their 25. On the first play from scrimmage QB Kyle Newhall-Caballero found WR Jan Dundacek for 12 yards. Later he found WR Jakub Wolesky at midfield. On the following third down play he completed a 36-yard pass to WR Daniel Balazovic. Newhall-Caballero finished the drive with a 4-yard touchdown pass to Wolesky. The PAT was no good, giving the Black Panthers a 6-0 lead early in the first quarter.

The ensuing kickoff resulted in a touchback. Facing a third and 10 yards van den Raadt found Tarneller for 37 yards. On the next play the duo hooked up for 21 yards. A penalty gave the SWARCO Raiders a first down at the 10. Hofbauer scored from there on a pitch from van den Raadt. Erlsbacher added the PAT to give the Tyroleans a 7-6 lead with about seven minutes left in the first.

Erlsbacher's kickoff resulted in a touchback. After two completions from Newhall-Caballero RB Adam Synacek ran for 30 yards. Then Balazovic caught a ball at the Tyrolean 22. The drive ended with a 4-yard rushing touchdown by Newhall-Caballero. The extra point gave Prague a 13-7 lead midway through the first quarter.

The Tyroleans had to punt on their next possession. Wolesky returned Erlsbacher's punt to the opposing 46. Synacek opened the drive with a 12-yard run. Then Balazovic caught a pass at the 15. But on the next play RB Ondrej Visek lost the ball and Achammer recovered the fumble at the SWARCO Raiders 6. After a three and out the Tyroleans had to punt again, though, giving Prague the ball at the Tyrolean 36. Newhall-Caballero found WR an Stiegler at the 11. He finished the drive with a 6-yard touchdown pass to Wolesky. The PAT was good, giving the Black Panthers a 20-7 lead midway through the second quarter.

Erlsbacher returned the ensuing kickoff to the 23. Van den Raadt started the drive with a 9-yard pass to Erlsbacher. He then found WR Adrian Platzgummer for 5 yards and a first down. Next up were completions of 17 yards to Tarneller, 20 yards to Erlsbacher and 13 yards to Hofbauer. But the drive ended abruptly when van den Raadt was hit on a throw and DB Milos Hildebrand picked off the pass at the Prague 6. Two plays later Newhall-Caballero threw an 88-yard touchdown pass to Dundacek. The PAT gave Prague a 27-7 halftime lead.

The SWARCO Raiders started the third quarter at their own 25. A 31-yard pass from van den Raadt to WR Christian Willi moved the chains. Then Platzgummer caught a 12-yarder. But again the Tyroleans came away empty as Erlsbacher's 38-yard field goal try went wide right.

Prague started at its 21. Newhall-Caballero found Dundacek for 16 yards. A 15-yard penalty moved the ball to the Tyrolean 48. Then Visek ran for a first down. Next up Newhall-Caballero found Wolesky at the 1-yard line. The drive ended with a 1-yard touchdown run from Visek. The PAT extended Prague's lead to 34-7 midway through the third quarter.

The SWARCO Raiders had the right answer, though. Erlsbacher returned the short kickoff 64 yards for a touchdown. DL/K Martin Wetzel then added the extra point to cut Prague's lead to 34-14.

After forcing a Black Panthers punt the Tyroleans regained possession at the opposing 45. Van den Raadt found WR Max Tollinger for 15 yards. Then Hofbauer had two rushes for 8 yards each. Moments later van den Raadt scored on a 14-yard run. Erlsbacher's PAT made it 34-21 late in the third quarter.

The ensuing kickoff resulted in a touchback. Starting at their 25 the Black Panthers began with an 8-yard pass from Newhall-Caballero to Stiegler. The quarterback then ran for a first down himself. On the second play of the fourth quarter Newhall-Caballero threw 55 yards to Dundacek. He finished the drive with a 1-yard touchdown pass to Stiegler. The PAT was no good, but Prague led 40-21 early in the fourth quarter.

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