On opening day of the 2012 Austrian Football League (AFL) season the SWARCO Raiders, sister-team of The Oakland Raiders, celebrated a dominant 52-0 (3-0; 21-0; 7-0; 21-0) win at the Kornmesser Rangers. It was the first loss for the new member of the AFL after 26 straight victories.
"I'm happy we finally have that first game behind us. Though I have to admit that we started very nervous," said SWARCO Raiders head coach Shuan Fatah. "Especially the offense had its problems early. But we relied on our strengths and in the end won the game convincingly."
Among the game's best players were RB Andreas Hofbauer, who scored twice, and QB Kyle Callahan, who threw a touchdown pass and scored on the ground, too. WR Talib Wise caught a touchdown pass and had some great returns.
The game's first points came on the SWARCO Raiders second possession. Hofbauer opened the drive with a 12-yard run. Later Callahan threw a 17-yard pass to Wise at the opposing 10. Though the Tyroleans didn't find a way to get into the endzone they took the lead on K Christian Kellner's 22-yard field goal. The SWARCO Raiders were up 3-0 with 1:59 minutes left in the first.
The Rangers started their next possession at their own 29. After a penalty and a sack by DE Reinhard Pardeller, QB Craig Maynard hit RB Zach McCaskill for a 30-yard gain. But moments later Maynard lost the ball on a hand-off and DE Markus Hechenberger recovered the fumble at the Tyroleans 48.
A 7-yard run by Callahan on third down gave the SWARCO Raiders a first down. The quarterback then rushed for 16 yards to the Rangers 21. A little later Hofbauer scored on a 5-yard touchdown run. After the PAT the SWARCO Raiders led 10-0 with 8:15 minutes left in the second.
The defense forced another Rangers punt and Wise returned the ball to the opposing 3-yard line. On the very next play Hofbauer scored again. Kellner's PAT gave the Tyroleans a 17-0 lead with 5:16 left in the second.
After another punt by the Rangers the SWARCO Raiders started at the opposing 44. And just as they did on the previous drive the Tyroleans needed only one play to score. Callahan hit Wise with a 44-yard touchdown pass. The extra point gave the Tyroleans a 24-0 lead with 2:25 minutes left in the first half.
Both teams had to punt on their opening drive of the third quarter. When the SWARCO Raiders defense forced another punt on the Rangers' second possession, the team from Mödling decided to execute a fake punt. RB Lars Gabler took the snap and ran to his right, but got tackled by Wise just shy of the first down marker.
The SWARCO Raiders took over at the opposing 26. After a 5-yard penalty Callahan found WR Julian Ebner for 12 yards and then RB Lukas Miribung for 8 yards. Standing at the Rangers 10 Callahan faked a run, then pitched the ball to WR Christian Willi, who ran untouched into the endzone. The PAT extended the lead to 31-0 with 2:56 left in the third.
The Rangers turned the ball over on downs on their next drive, giving the Tyroleans the ball back at the opposing 43. After two incompletions Callahan threw a screen pass to Willi, who gained 15 yards. Hofbauer then rushed for 12 yards. Later Callahan pitched the ball to RB Florian Grein, who scored from 13 yards out. Kellner added the PAT. With 11:26 minutes left in the fourth the SWARCO Raiders were up 38-0.
Yet another Rangers drive ended with a punt. DB Enrico Martini returned the ball to midfield. On the next two plays Callahan rushed for 12 yards and 15 yards. Then Miribung and Hofbauer had runs of 10 yards each. Callahan scored on a 5-yard touchdown run. The PAT gave the Tyroleans a 45-0 lead with 6:56 minutes left in the game.
Starting at their own 40 the Rangers next drive ended on the very first play. CB Manuel Eisenführer intercepted Maynard and returned the ball to the opposing 12. On the very next play Miribung scored his first touchdown. The PAT gave the SWARCO Raiders a 52-0 lead. 6:38 minutes were left in the fourth.
On Sunday, April 1, the SWARCO Raiders travel to Prague to play the Panthers. Kickoff is at 4 a.m. PT (1 p.m. CET).