WR Talib Wise (4) caught 4 balls for 75 yards and scored two touchdowns. Photo by Schellhorn
The SWARCO Raiders, marketing teammate of The Oakland Raiders, started successfully into the new Austrian Football League (AFL) season, beating the Kärnten Black Lions 48-0 (0-0; 21-0; 20-0; 7-0). It was the seventh win for the SWARCO Raiders in the seventh meeting between these two teams in AFL history with the Tyroleans averaging 41.8 points per game while allowing only 5.0 points per contest.
Shuan Fatah, head coach of the SWARCO Raiders, was excited about his first victory in his first game as the team's new head man: "It was a good first game. We've seen many good things on offense, defense and special teams".
That included the performances by WR Talib Wise and RB Florian Grein. Wise caught 4 balls for 75 yards and scored two touchdowns on 4 carries. Grein rushed 10 times for 63 yards and also scored twice. QB Kyle Callahan completed 8 of 14 passes for 114 yards and a touchdown. The SWARCO Raiders defense allowed only 75 total yards to the Black Lions and forced three turnovers. DB Martin Breitsching and DE Mario Rinner each recovered a fumble. S John Clements caught an interception.
It didn't look like a dominant win in the early goings as there was no scoring in the first quarter. The Black Lions lost the ball on downs on their first possession. Then the teams traded punts. But a punt return to the opposing 29-yard line by Wise set up the game's first points early in the second quarter. Grein started the drive with a 3-yard run. Later WR Jakob Dieplinger caught a 14-yard pass from Callahan at the 12. The drive ended with a 5-yard touchdown run by Grein. K Christian Kellner added the extra point to give the SWARCO Raiders a 7-0 lead with 10:42 left in the second.
On the ensuing kickoff DB Manuel Eisenführer tackled the returner at Kärnten's 10-yard line. On the very next play the Black Lions fumbled the ball on a pitch and Breitsching recovered the ball at the 12. The SWARCO Raiders offense couldn't capitalize on the turnover though and Kellner's field goal attempt barely missed the right upright.
But the Tyrolean defense was in full control now, forcing another punt. The Black Lions tried a trick play, but LB Phillip Margreiter wasn't fooled at all, sacking QB Maurice Banks at his 5-yard line. Moments later Grein scored his second touchdown, again from 5 yards out. Kellner added the extra point. With 6:58 left in the second quarter the SWARCO Raiders were up 14-0.
After another Black Lions punt Wise returned the ball to the opposing 46. A 4-yard rush by Grein set up Callahan's 18-yard pass to Wise. After Grein gained 3 more yards, a 15-yard penalty against Kärnten gave the Tyroleans a first down at the Black Lions 6. Callahan finished off the drive with a 6-yard touchdown pass to Dieplinger. Kellner's PAT made it 21-0 with 3:05 left in the second quarter. In the closing seconds of the first half Clements picked off a pass close to the SWARCO Raiders endzone.
Wise returned the opening kickoff of the second half to the Black Lions 36. Callahan started the drive with a 6-yard run, before throwing a 25-yard pass to Wise. Two plays later Wise rumbled into the endzone from 1 yard out. The extra point was good and the SWARCO Raiders lead 28-0 with 9:54 left in the third.
The Black Lions started their first drive of the second half with yet another punt. The SWARCO Raiders offense then started at their own 20. Callahan threw an 11-yarder to Grein, then rushing 10 yards for another first down. A pass to German WR Jascha Addicks moved the ball to the opposing 44. On the next play Grein broke loose for a 21-yard gain, then added runs of 7 and 6 yards to move the ball closer to the goal line. The home site then scored on an option play as Callahan pitched the ball to Addicks, who ran it in from 8 yards out. The extra point sailed wide. With 3:23 left in the third the SWARCO Raiders were up 34-0.
Things got worse for the Black Lions on their next possession. On second down at their own 25-yard line DE Gerald Breymann sacked Banks for a 5-yard loss. On the very next play DT Benedikt Brugnara chased down Banks, forcing a fumble while taking him to the ground. Rinner recovered the ball the Black Lions 4-yard line. The SWARCO Raiders offense returned to the field. On second down Wise scored on a 2-yard touchdown run. After the PAT the SWARCO Raiders had a 41-0 lead with 55 seconds left in the third quarter.
With his team in charge, Fatah decided to give his youngsters some valuable playing time and a chance to shine. They did exactly that. Starting a drive at their own 34 a 15-yard penalty against Kärnten and a 12-yard run by RB Andreas Hofbauer moved the ball into Black Lions territory. Hofbauer then raced 33 yards to the 3-yard line. And on the very next play backup QB Damaso Tarnellerscored from 3 yards out. K Emanuel Trinkl added the PAT to give the SWARCO Raiders a 48-0 lead with 4:07 left in the fourth. The home team got the ball back once more, but decided to run down the clock. Missed the game? No problem: You can watch the re-run on Monday, March 28 at 10:30 a.m. PT (8 p.m. CET) on www.raidersTV.at. On Saturday, April 2, the SWARCO Raiders will go on the road to face the Turek Graz Giants.