SWARCO Raiders QB Kyle Callahan threw a touchdown and ran for another (Photo: Schellhorn)
The SWARCO Raiders, sister-team of The Oakland Raiders, had a perfect start to the 2013 Austrian Football League (AFL) season. The Tyroleans defeated the JCL Giants Graz 31-21 (7-0; 14-0; 10-0; 0-21) in week 1.
In less than three quarters the SWARCO Raiders pretty much secured their sixth straight victory over the Giants, building a dominating 31-0 lead. In the fourth quarter the Tyroleans gave their youth players some playing time, allowing Graz to get on the scoreboard.
WR Talib Wise caught 4 balls for 41 yards and a touchdown. He added a 1-yard touchdown run and had 102 return yard. QB Kyle Callahan completed 12 of 21 passes for 129 yards with a touchdown. He also scored on a touchdown run. RB Andreas Hofbauer had 8 carries for 58 yards. RB Lukas Miribung ran the ball 8 times for 52 yards and a touchdown. The defense forced a turnover and had four sacks.
"We have played a good game and secured an important win", said SWARCO Raiders head coach Shuan Fatah. "For three quarters the train was rolling. In the fourth quarter we gave our young players a chance. Give credit to Graz. They never gave up and found a way to score some late points".
The Giants won the toss and elected to receive. After the kickoff and a touchback they started at their own 25. On second down RB Alex Gross ran for 30 yards to the Tyrolean 44. Graz then marched to the 11-yard line. But on a fourth down Good was forced into a bad throw. The ball fell incomplete and the SWARCO Raiders took over.
Their first offensive play of the new season was a 6-yard run by Hofbauer. He then ran to the 35-yard line. On the next play Miribung ran for 37 yards to the Graz 28. Later Callahan found Wise at the 10. The drive ended with a 4-yard touchdown run by Callahan. WR/K Clemens Erlsbacher kicked the extra point to give the SWARCO Raiders a 7-0 lead with 1:52 minutes left in the first.
After the kickoff Graz started at their 25. After running for 20 yards on the drive's second play from scrimmage, Good was sacked by LB Philipp Margreiter for a 6-yard loss. Moments later Margeiter was all over Good again, forcing a Graz punt. The Tyroleans got the ball back at their own 21.
A three-and-out gave the Giants the ball back at their own 38. On second down Good was sacked by DE Korbinian Hoffmann at the 35. Again Graz went for it on fourth down – again they failed. But after another Tyrolean punt Graz got the ball back at their 12. On second down RB Alexander Sanz lost the football and LB Fabian Seeber recovered the fumble at the 18-yard line. Wise ran to the 10 on first down. Callahan then rushed for 8 yards. A bad snap cost the SWARCO Raiders 26 yards. But first Callahan threw an 11-yard pass to Hofbauer. Then he spotted a wide-open Wise in the endzone for a 17-yard touchdown pass. Erlsbacher added the PAT to extend the SWARCO Raiders lead to 14-0 with 2:45 minutes left in the second.
The Giants yet again couldn't convert on fourth down, giving the Tyroleans the ball at the Graz 46-yard line. After a 12-yard pass from Callahan to Erlsbacher the quarterback found WR Damaso Tarneller at the 1. With two seconds left in the half Wise scored his second touchdown. The PAT gave the Tyroleans a 21-0 halftime lead.
The third quarter started with a SWARCO Raiders punt. But Graz also was forced to punt. Wise caught the ball at midfield and danced his was to the 2-yard line. Miribung then did the rest, punching it in with a 2-yard touchdown run. The PAT gave the SWARCO Raiders a 28-0 lead with 6:35 minutes left in the third.
After another Giants punt the Tyroleans took over at their own 25. A run by Erlsbacher was good for 12 yards. Hofbauer then rushed for 26 yards. Later Tarneller caught a ball at the opposing 28. The drive ended with a 42-yard field goal by Erlsbacher. The SWARCO Raiders were up 31-0 with 1:57 minutes left in the third.
Graz started their next possession at their own 25. Two rushes by Good were good for 15 yards. He then connected on consecutive passes to move his team to the SWARCO Raiders 41. A 17-yard run by RB Matthias Kiegerl moved the ball closer to the endzone. Later Margreiter tackled Good for loss. On the next play Hoffmann had his second sack of the day. Again Graz went for it on fourth down. This time it was successful. Good threw a 7-yard touchdown pass to WR Armando Ponce de Leon. K Stefan Lechner added the PAT to cut the SWARCO Raiders lead to 31-7 with 7:15 minutes left in the fourth. The Tyroleans now had their youth players in the game. That gave the Giants the opportunity to score two more times. But the win was never in doubt.
You can watch the SWARCO Raiders win over Graz again. raidersTV shows an as-live coverage on Monday, March 25 at 11:30 a.m. PT (7:30 p.m. CET). In week 2 of the AFL season the SWARCO Raiders travel to Prague to face the Black Panthers. The game will be played on Saturday, March 30. Kickoff is at 7:00 a.m. PT (3:00 p.m. CET).