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SWARCO Raiders travel to Prague


DL Philipp Margreiter leads the team with 5 sacks (Photo: Schellhorn)

On the final weekend of the 2014 Austrian Football League (AFL) regular season the SWARCO Raiders, sister-team of The Oakland Raiders, travel to Prague to face the Black Panthers. Kickoff at Prague's Slavia Stadium is at 4:00 a.m. PT (1:00 p.m. CET).

Follow the SWARCO Raiders live on ***. The live stream for this week's game starts on June 28 at 3:45 a.m. PT (12:45 p.m. CET).*

The matchup is very intriguing since both teams might have to face each other again in the AFL playoff semifinals. "We could end up playing the same team in the playoffs", SWARCO Raiders head coach Shuan Fatah points out. "Of course you don't want to lay all your cards on the table. Still we will try to do everything to finish the regular season with a win".

Their 2-5 record might not indicate it, but the Black Panthers have finally closed the gap to the AFL's top teams this season. Beating the Graz Giants twice was enough to secure the first AFL playoff spot in team history. The Black Panthers also played tough against the so-called big three of the AFL. The Raiffeisen Vikings Vienna needed to show all their abilities to beat Prague twice, same goes for the Danube Dragons. And the SWARCO Raiders would rather forget about their crazy 63-62 win over Prague at Innsbruck's Tivoli Stadium.

That win was the eighth in eight tries for the Tyroleans since Prague joined the AFL in 2010. They have won all seven AFL encounters as well as one matchup in the European Football League (EFL). The only win for the Black Panthers came back in 2002 in the EFL's group stage.

During their eight-game win streak against Prague the SWARCO Raiders have scored an average of 46 points per game. And while only giving up a combined 86 points in their first seven victories Prague scored 62 points alone the last time these two teams met.

In that win both quarterbacks shined. SWARCO Raiders QB John van den Raadt threw for 511 yards and 7 touchdowns and his counterpart QB Kyle Newhall-Caballero had 573 passing yards and 7 touchdown passes as well. Prague's quarterback was with The Oakland Raiders in the 2012 training camp.

Through the 2014 AFL season van den Raadt completed 97 of 172 passes for 1,518 yards with 13 touchdowns and 4 interceptions. He also rushed 69 times for 478 yards and 7 touchdowns.

After an exhausting European championship RB Andreas Hofbauer hasn't seen much action lately. He still tops the league with 93 rushes for 714 yards (7.6 yards per carry) and 13 touchdowns. He also caught 5 passes for 139 yards and a score. RB Lukas Miribung had 8 rushes for 39 yards and a touchdown. RB Markus Wenzel had 4 carries for 12 yards. RB Sandro Platzgummer had 3 rushes for 25 yards and a score. RB Romed Zangerle had 3 carries for 22 yards.

WR/K Clemens Erlsbacher leads the Tyroleans with 29 catches for 473 yards and 3 touchdowns. He caught 7 passes for 204 yards and 2 scores in the first meeting with Prague. WR Adrian Platzgummer caught 21 balls for 358 yards and 3 touchdowns. He also has 3 rushing touchdowns. WR Julian Ebner had 17 catches for 315 yards and 3 touchdowns. He caught all three scores in the Pargue game. WR Damaso Tarneller caught 11 balls for 99 yards and 3 touchdowns. WR Christian Willi caught 10 passes for 67 yards.

Erlsbacher also remains the focal point on special teams. He kicked 6 field goals and 27 extra points. He had 17 kickoff returns for 435 yards and punted 17 times for 677 yards (39.8 yards per punt).

LB Fabian Seeber leads the defense with 44.5 tackles (35 solo), 2.5 tackles for loss, a sack, a fumble recovery and an interception. LB Florian Hueter had 30.5 tackles (24 solo), 4.5 tackles for loss and an interception. DL/LB Philipp Margreiterleads the team with 8.5 tackles for loss and 5 sacks. He also had 29 tackles (22 solo) and a forced fumble. LB Simon Hoser had 25.5 tackles (21 solo), forced and recovered a fumble and had one tackle for loss.

DB Markus Krause had 23 tackles (19 solo) and leads the team with 3 interceptions. DB Simon Muigg caught 2 interceptions, had 2 tackles for loss and a total of 12.5 tackles (10 solo). DB Arno Andreas had 24 tackles (20 solo). He caught 2 interceptions in the BIG6. DB Alexander Achammer had 23.5 tackles (22 solo) and a tackle for loss. He caught his first interception of the season against Berlin. DB Simon Unterrainer had 10 tackles (8 solo) and a tackle for loss. DB Enrico Martini had 6 tackles (3 solo), a tackle for loss and an interception.

DL Maximilian Pichler had 2 sacks, 3 tackles for loss and 7.5 total tackles (6 solo). DL Ralf Stefanitsch had 4 tackles (4 solo), a sack and a tackle for loss. DL Reinhard Pardeller had 10 tackles (8 solo) and 5 tackles for loss. DL Korbinian Hoffmann had a sack, 2 tackles for loss and 13 tackles (10 solo). DL Philipp Popp had 6.5 tackles (4 solo) and a 1.5 tackles for loss. He also recovered a fumble. DL Manuel Jovic had 8 tackles (6 solo), 2.5 tackles for loss and a sack.

Newhall-Caballero is the most important player on Prague's roster. He and Hofbauer are in the race for the MVP award this season. Thus far Newhall-Caballero completed 179 of 293 passes for 2,530 yards with 23 touchdowns and 4 interceptions. The quarterback, who was in Oakland Raiders training camp in 2012, also scored 8 rushing touchdowns and gained 267 yards on 38 carries.

RB Ondrej Visek had 38 rushes for 173 yards and RB Adam Synacek gained 167 yards on 24 carries. No running back has scored a touchdown, yet.

Thanks to Newhall-Caballero Prague has four receiver with at least 300 yards receiving. The group is led by WR Jan Dundacek, who caught 55 balls for 826 yards and 9 touchdowns. WR Jakub Wolesky had 36 catches for 578 yards and 7 touchdowns. WR Jan Stiegler caught 25 balls for 383 yards and a touchdown. WR Daniel Balazovic had 17 receptions for 328 yards and 5 touchdowns. He scored four times against the Tyroleans. WR Stanislav Jantos caught 22 balls for 230 yards and a touchdown.

DB Jan Kabat leads the Black Panthers defense with 25 tackles (20 solo), a tackle for loss and 3 interceptions. LB Thomas Svoboda had 20 tackles (12 solo), 2 tackles for loss, an interception, a sack and a forced and recovered fumble. DL Jan Simanek had 23.5 tackles (17 solo) and 2.5 tackles for loss. LB Milos Hildebrand already has caught 3 interceptions. He also has a sack and 14.5 tackles (10 solo). DL Vojtech Svoboda leads the team with 8.5 tackles for loss and 3 sacks. He has a total of 19.5 tackles (16 solo).

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