WR Julian Ebner (85) and his team have won eight in a row against Graz (Photo: Schellhorn)
The SWARCO Raiders, sister-team of The Oakland Raiders, play their third game of the 2014 Austrian Football League (AFL) season this Saturday. The Tyroleans travel to Graz to face the Giants. Kickoff at Eggenberg Stadium is at 5:00 a.m. PT (2:00 p.m. CET).
"The game in Graz will be a tough task", said SWARCO Raiders head coach Shuan Fatah. "This might not look that way on paper, but the Giants have played three very close games this season. So we have to play very focused".
Despite having played three close games the Giants are 0-3 on the season. They dropped the season opener at the Danube Dragons 14-13, giving up a late touchdown to tie the game and tehn falling in overtime.
Next up was a close game at home against the Prague Black Panthers. The Giants lost 28-21. A week later they also lost the re-match at Prague Despite having a 21-point lead twice Graz fell 33-28.
What's even worse for the Giants is that the team hasn't beaten the SWARCO Raiders since their head coach Nick Johansen has left the Tyroleans after the 2010 season. Johansen is 0-7 against his former team where he worked as offensive coordinator and offensive line coach.
In 2011 Johansen lost his first game with the Giants 34-20 at home. A year later Graz fell twice in the regular season losing 33-0 at Innsbruck and 21-20 at home. Then they lost 48-42 in the AFL playoff semifinals. The same happened in 2013. First the Giants lost 31-21 in Tyrol, then 54-28 at Graz and finally 52-49 in the playoff semis.
The SWARCO Raiders have won nine of their last ten meetings with the Giants and have won eight in a row against Graz. Overall the two teams met 31 times with the Tyroleans winning 18 games and Graz winning 13.
SWARCO Raiders QB John van den Raadt has completed 35 of 66 passes for 458 yards with a touchdown and 2 interceptions in two AFL games. He also had 18 rushes for 115 yards and a score. In the team's BIG6 opener van den Raadt completed 16 of 37 passes for 273 yards with 4 touchdowns against the Calanda Broncos.
RB Andreas Hofbaueralready scored 5 touchdowns in the AFL this season. He gained 149 yards on 30 carries. RB Lukas Miribung had 5 carries for 27 yards and a touchdown in the AFL this year. RB Markus Wenzel had 2 rushes for 12 yards.
WR/K Clemens Erlsbacher caught 7 passes for 92 yards in AFL action. He also had 3 catches for 78 yards and 2 touchdowns against Calanda. Erlsbacher caught 6 balls for 163 yards against Graz in their last meeting. WR Adrian Platzgummer caught 7 balls for 120 yards and a touchdown in the AFL this year. WR Julian Ebner hauled in 6 passes for 111 yards. WR Damaso Tarneller caught 6 balls for 35 yards.
Erlsbacher also was the focal point on special teams. He kicked a field goal and 6 extra points, had 5 kickoff returns for 133 yards and punted 6 times for an average of 37.5 yards per kick.
On defense DL Philipp Margreiterleads his team in the AFL with*11.5 tackles (8 solo), 3 tackles for loss and a sack. LBFlorian Hueterhad 11 tackles (9 solo) and 1.5 tackles for loss. He also has caught an interception and scored a safety in the BIG6 game against the Broncos. DBSimon Unterrainerhad 7.5 tackles (6 solo) and a tackle for loss. DLReinhard Pardeller* had 6 tackles (5 solo) and 1.5 tackles for loss.
DB Markus Krause had 5.5 tackles (4 solo) and caught an interception. DB Simon Muigg also picked off a pass. DB Arno Andreas had 4 tackles (3 solo). At Calanda he caught 2 interceptions. LB Fabian Seeber had 5.5 tackles (3 solo) and 0.5 tackles for loss. DL Ralf Stefanitsch had a sack. DL Korbinian Hoffmann and DB Enrico Martini each had a tackle for loss. DL Philipp Popp had 0.5 tackles for loss and LB Simon Hoser recovered a fumble.
It's the third time in four games that the SWARCO Raiders will face a new quarterback. After defeating the Dragons and Broncos and their new signal callers they will try to do the same against 19-year old QB Christopher Gubisch and the Giants. He's the first Austrian quarterbacking the Giants since 1990. Graz has no import players this season.
In his first three games of the season Gubisch completed 44 of 91 passes for 555 yards with 7 touchdowns and 7 interceptions. He also had 19 rushes for 116 yards. RB Alexander Sanz had 41 rushes for 127 yards and a score. He also caught 7 balls for 76 yards and 2 touchdowns.
The team's best known receiver is WR Armando Ponce de Leon. Yet he has caught only 5 passes for 39 yards this season. The team's leading receivers are WR Philipp Sommer with 11 catches for 153 yards and 2 touchdowns and WR Dominik Szecsi with 10 catches for 214 yards and 2 touchdowns. WR Florian Wolf made 8 receptions for 69 yards.
Gubisch also works as the team's punter. He had 12 punts for 497 yards for an average of 41.4 yards per punt.
On defense the Giants are led by LB Daniel Schönet. He had 13 tackles (12 solo) with 4 tackles for loss and a sack thus far. LB Thomas Schnurrer had 11 tackles (9 solo) and a caught an interception. DB Manuel Schneeweiss had 9 tackles (8 solo), a tackle for loss and also caught an interception. Ponce de Leon also plays defense this year. He had 9.5 tackles (9 solo) and a tackle for loss.
LB Marco Zoechner had 8 tackles (7 solo), 2 tackles for loss and a sack. DB Dominik Pötsch had 7.5 tackles (6 solo) and recovered a fumble. The Giants already recovered 5 fumbles.
Watch the SWARCO Raiders 2014 season live and as-live for free onwww.raidersTV.at.