LB Florian Hueter had a sack and 6 solo tackles for the SWARCO Raiders. Photo by Schellhorn.
The SWARCO Raiders missed the chance to play in their third straight Eurobowl final. The Oakland Raiders marketing partner lost in dramatic fashion 27-29 (6-13; 0-6; 21-7; 0-3) to German champion Berlin Adler. A fumble inside the Berlin 30-yard line with ten seconds left decided the outcome of this Eurobowl semifinal.
"I told the team all the time that this game would come down to the last play," said SWARCO Raiders head coach Santos Carrillo. "To fumble the ball just before the end of the game, that's a tough pill to swallow."
QB Leon Jackson III was sacked on the Berlin 27 and lost the ball. Before that play he had completed 24 of 35 passes for 235 yards with 2 touchdowns. RB Tory Cooper carried the ball 17 times for 127 yards and a touchdown. WR Andreas Pröller caught 5 balls for 82 yards and 2 touchdowns. The SWARCO Raiders defense forced three fumbles, which got recovered by LB Philipp Margreiter, DB Immo Söllner, and DB Enrico Martini.
The game's MVP was Berlin QB Kyle Callahan, who completed 14 of 21 passes for 325 yards and one touchdown. He also ran the ball 11 times for 57 yards with 2 scores. "I'm really proud of my team," said Berlin Adler head coach Shuan Fatah. "We started strong. In the second half we made too many mistakes, though. But we were on top of our game when it mattered."
The game started with RB Florian Grein's kickoff return to the 45. On the first play from scrimmage Cooper danced his way to the Berlin 4. He finished off the opening drive with a 4-yard touchdown run. The PAT was blocked. With only 25 seconds taken off the clock the SWARCO Raiders had a 6-0 lead.
Berlin answered with a great kickoff return of their own, as RB Talib Wise returned the ball to the Adler 40. On their very first play from scrimmage Callahan threw a 54-yard touchdown pass to WR Danilo Naranjo Gonzales. After a failed extra point the game was tied at 6 with 11:12 left in the first.
After a missed field goal by the Tyroleans, Berlin marched down the field again. Callahan finished off the drive with a 13-yard touchdown run. The PAT was good. Berlin had a 13-6 lead with 6:24 left in the first.
The home team had to punt on their third possession, but their defense bailed them out. Callahan was hit from behind and lost the ball. Söllner recovered the fumble at the SWARCO Raiders 18. The Tyroleans couldn't take advantage of the turnover and had to punt again. Berlin on the other hand extended their lead with a 40-yard field goal from K Benjamin Scharweit. The Adler were up 16-6 with 10:32 left in the second.
The next SWARCO Raiders drive started at their own 33 with an 11-yard run from Cooper. WR Julian Ebner then caught an 8-yarder. After a 15-yard penalty against Berlin, Pröller caught an 18-yard pass from Jackson. But on fourth down and 1 the Berlin defense stopped the Tyrolean offense just outside the endzone.
Berlin started at their own 5. Wise and Callahan led their team deep into SWARCO Raiders territory. The defense didn't gave up another touchdown, but Berlin added a 25-yard field goal on the last play of the first half to extend the lead to 19-6.
The second half started with a turnover. On second down Callahan mishandled the snap and Margreiter recovered the ball at the Berlin 21. Two plays later, Jackson rolled out to his left and threw a strike into the endzone to WR Jakob Dieplinger. The 21-yard touchdown pass and K Robert Balazinec'sextra point made it a 19-13 game for Berlin. 10:51 were left in the third.
Starting their next drive at their 39, Margreiter sacked Callahan on second down. But a 15-yard penalty gave Berlin new life and they found their rhythm again. Callahan finished off the drive with a 6-yard scramble into the endzone. After the PAT Berlin was up 26-13 with 7:34 left in the third.
A 24-yard catch by Pröller and passes to Dieplinger, Ebner and Cooper moved the SWARCO Raiders to the Berlin 13. Jackson then scrambled to the 6. On the next play he perfectly executed a play-action pass as he hit Pröller with a 6-yard touchdown pass. The PAT was good and with 5:11 left in the third the SWARCO Raiders trailed only 20-26.
After a Berlin punt the Tyroleans started their next drive at their own 35. On first down Jackson threw a 24-yarder to WR Philipp Heider. On third and 11 he found Cooper for 14 yards. Then Grein caught a short pass and ran to the Berlin 7. Two plays later the SWARCO Raiders scored on a trick play as Grein took the hand-off, ran to his right and then threw a 4-yard touchdown pass to Pröller. After the PAT the SWARCO Raiders regained the lead, 27-26. 1:26 were left in the third.
But Berlin answered in an instant. On the first play of their next drive Callahan found Wise, who ran to the Tyroleans 3-yard line. The defense only gave up a field goal, though, after a sack by LB Christoph Schilcher and a tackle for loss by DE Marquay Love. Still Berlin took back the lead as Scharweit kicked a 27-yard field goal. The Adler were up 29-27 with 11:09 left in the fourth.
The SWARCO Raiders punted on their next drive, but once again the defense helped them out as Martini stripped Wise of the ball and recovered the fumble at the Tyroleans 28. The home team wasn't able to generate any offense and had to punt. After a high snap the Adler started thei next drive at their 42. But a trick play gone bad took them out of field goal range and they had to punt, too.
The SWARCO Raiders started their final drive at their own 7 with an 18-yard run from Jackson. He then threw a 12-yard pass to Cooper and a 9-yard pass to Dieplinger. Another pass to Cooper gave the Tyroleans a first down at the Berlin 36. After a 7-yard Jackson run and a 16-yard pass to Ebner the SWARCO Raiders had a first down at the Berlin 13. But on third down Jackson got sacked and fumbled the ball. Berlin recovered the ball at their 27 and reached the Eurobowl final for the first time since 1991.
Now the focus shifts completely to the Austrian Football League. On Saturday, June 12 the SWARCO Raiders host the Turek Graz Giants in the regular season finale. Kickoff at Tivoli Stadium is at 8 a.m. PT (5 p.m. CET). The game will be shown live on raidersTV.