SWARCO RAIDERS lose in BIG6

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QB Sean Shelton scored two touchdowns (Photo: Markus Stieg)

The SWARCO RAIDERS' quest for another Eurobowl title is on hold. On Saturday the sister-team of The Oakland Raiders fell 33-28 (13-21; 7-7; 0:0; 13-0) to the New Yorker Lions from Braunschweig in their second game of the BIG6 group stage. To reach the Eurobowl final the Tyroleans need Flash de La Courneuve to beat Braunschweig.

Trailing late in the game the Lions scored on a fourth-down pass. It was the German champion's first lead of the game. The SWARCO RAIDERS had one last shot to regain the lead, but missed twice on passes into the endzone.

"This game ultimately was decided by two plays", said SWARCO RAIDERS head coach Shuan Fatah. "Individual mistakes made the difference today. It's tough, because my guys deserved better".

QB Sean Shelton completed 20 of 34 passes for 239 yards with a touchdown. He also had 13 rushes for 59 yards and 2 touchdowns. RB Fabien-André Gärtner had 9 carries for 44 yards and a touchdown. RB David Oku had 5 rushes for 16 yards and caught 10 passes for 105 yards. WR Kyle Callahan caught 4 balls for 80 yards and a touchdown. LB Wendell Brown recovered a fumble. DB Alexander Achammer led the Tyroleans with 10 tackles (9 solo).

The Lions won the coin toss, but elected to defer. After the kickoff DB Talib Wise returned the ball to the opposing 46. On the opening drive's second play from scrimmage Shelton found Oku for 17 yards. Then RB Simon Muigg ran for 11 yards. Moments later Shelton scored on an 11-yard run. WR Clemens Erlsbacher added the extra point to give his site a 7-0 lead with 10:10 minutes left in the first.

Braunschweig answered immediately. Starting at their 25 QB Grant Enders ran for a few yards. On the third play from scrimmage he threw a 57-yard touchdown pass to WR Evan Landi. The PAT was blocked. With 8:54 minutes left in the first the Tyroleans were up 7-6.

The SWARCO RAIDERS extended their lead on their second possession. Starting at their 16 Shelton found Oku for 19 yards. Then Gärtner ran for 24 yards. A couple of plays later Shelton threw a 46-yard touchdown pass to Callahan. The PAT gave the Tyroleans a 14-6 lead with 7:43 minutes left in the first.

39 seconds later the Lions scored again, though. They began the drive at their own 25 with a 12-yard pass from Enders to WR Christian Bollmann. Two plays later several Tyrolean defenders failed to tackle WR Anthony Dablé after a short pass from Enders. The receiver ran 63 yards for the score. K Tobias Goebel scored the PAT to cut the SWARCO RAIDERS lead to 14-13 with 7:04 minutes left in the first.

Starting at their 11 the Tyroleans marched down the field again. Oku caught a 14-yard pass. Then Shelton found Callahan for 11 yards. Next up were a 7-yard run and a 9-yard catch by Muigg. Then WR Adrian Platzgummer joined the action with catches for 8 and 11 yards. The drive ended with a 2-yard touchdown run by Gärtner on a fourth and goal. The PAT gave the SWARCO RAIDERS a 21-13 lead with six seconds left in the first.

Once again Braunschweig found an answer. They started at their own 26. Enders had runs of 20, 11 and 23 yards. He finished the drive with a 10-yard scoring strike to WR Niklas Römer. The PAT made it 21-20 SWARCO RAIDERS with 8:34 minutes left in the second.

The Tyroleans regained possession at their own 25. A facemask penalty after a 5-yard run by Gärtner moved the chains. Then another penalty gave the home-site a first down at the opposing 40. Oku then caught a 13-yard pass. Later Shelton ran for 7 yards, before finished the drive with a 4-yard touchdown run. Erlsbacher's extra point gave the SWARCO RAIDERS a 28-20 lead with 4:33 minutes left in the second.

On their next drive both sides finally had to punt. Braunschweig had one more shot to score before halftime, but a fumble by Enders and a recovery by Brown gave the ball back to the Tyroleans late in the half.

The Lions began the third quarter at their own 25. Enders and RB David McCants led their team down the field, before facing a fourth and inches. RB Michael Andrew slipped on the play, giving the SWARCO RAIDERS the ball at their 19. The Tyroleans had to punt on their first possession of the third quarter, though.

Starting at their own 15 Braunschweig began with a 5-yard pass from Enders to Bollmann. Then McCants ran for 6 yards. Later Landi caught a 26-yarder. Then Enders ran for 11 yards. Moments later a quarterback sneak on fourth down kept the drive alive. Enders finished the drive with a 7-yard touchdown pass to Andrew. The two-point conversion failed. With 9:18 minutes left in the fourth the SWARCO RAIDERS held a 28-26 lead.

DB Enrico Martini returned the ensuing kickoff to the 30. Shelton found Callahan for 14 yards. Oku then gained 5 and 7 yards, before Shelton ran to the opposing 29. But the drive stalled their and a penalty on fourth down even moved the ball back. Erlsbacher then tried a 52-yard field goal, which fell short. Braunschweig took over at their 35. Enders started with a 9-yard completion to Bollmann. But a few plays later the Lions faced a fourth down at midfield. Facing enormous pressure Enders found Bollmann who outran the defense for a 49-yard touchdown. The PAT gave the Lions their first lead of the game. With 3:03 minutes left the German champion led 33-28.

After a short kickoff Oku returned the ball to the 40. Shelton found WR Christian Willi for 20 yards. Then Oku caught a 13-yard pass. But on the next four consecutive plays Shelton could not connect with Oku, who was open on at least two plays. Braunschweig took over at their 27 and ran out the clock.

The SWARCO RAIDERS will play in the Austrian Football League next weekend, facing a tough road game at the Prague Black Panthers on Saturday, May 9.

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