In Week 2 of the 2012 Austrian Football League (AFL) season, the SWARCO Raiders, sister team of The Oakland Raiders, play their second straight road game, facing the Prague Panthers on Sunday, April 1. Kickoff at Prague's Slavia Stadium is at 4 a.m. PT (1 p.m. CET).
"Two road games to start the season, that's a tough break," said Shuan Fatah, head coach of the SWARCO Raiders. "The Panthers have a new coach. Their new quarterback Justin Walz and the new running back Amos Allen are really dangerous. We will have a hard time keeping those two in check. The Panthers played a good game in their opener against the Dragons and we know what we're up against."
The 13-time Czech champion Panthers opened the AFL season last Sunday against the Danube Dragons. The Panthers led 33-10 at the half, but ended up losing 33-37.
Despite the close loss, the Czechs and their new head coach Adam Rita want to get a little closer to the top of the AFL. It won't be an easy task. Since joining the Austrian league in 2010, the Panthers haven't won a single game against the AFL's big four (Raiders, Vikings, Giants, Dragons).
On Sunday, the teams will meet for the fourth time. The first-ever matchup took place in the Czech capital. On April 27, 2002, the Panthers beat the SWARCO Raiders in the European Football League's (EFL) group stage, winning 54-20.
Eight years later, both teams finally met again. In the Panthers' first AFL season in 2010, they lost 34-17 at Tivoli Stadium in Innsbruck. Last season, the SWARCO Raiders beat Prague again, winning 38-7 on the road.
In that game on April 10, 2011, the Tyroleans gave up only eight first downs and 179 total yards. QB Kyle Callahan completed 11 of 22 passes for 183 yards with two touchdowns and three interceptions. He also rushed seven times for 62 yards and two scores. RB Florian Grein gained 40 yards on nine carries and scored a touchdown. RB Andreas Hofbauer had 11 runs for 22 yards.
WR Christian Willi led his team with three catches for 47 yards. WR Talib Wise had two catches for 39 yards and a score. CB Markus Krause and S John Clements each caught an interception.
This year the SWARCO Raiders opened the season with a 52-0 victory over the Kornmesser Rangers on the road. In that contest, Callahan completed nine of 14 passes for 126 yards with a touchdown. He had eight carries for 70 yards and a score. Hofbauer gained 39 yards on 11 carries and scored twice. Grein and RB Lukas Miribung also scored a touchdown each.
Wise caught three passes for 66 yards and a touchdown. He also had two punt returns for 63 yards. Willi scored on a 10-yard run and caught a pass for 20 yards.
The SWARCO Raiders defense also played well, allowing only six first downs and 146 total yards to the Rangers. DT Reinhard Pardeller had a sack and four solo tackles. DE Markus Hechenberger recovered a fumble and CB Manuel Eisenführer intercepted a pass. LB Christoph Schilcher had four solo tackles.
Prague signed QB Justin Walz this past offseason. Walz played for Western New England College and The Crew Wroclaw in Poland. In his first game for the Panthers, he completed 11 of 21 passes for 164 yards with two touchdowns and a pick against the Dragons. He also rushed 18 times for 53 yards and a touchdown.
RB Amos Allen gained 166 yards on 22 carries and scored two touchdowns. He also caught four passes for 12 yards. WR Jan Dundacek caught four passes for 88 yards and a score. LB Jan Simanek led his team with four tackles (two solo). DE Vojtech Svoboda had 1.5 sacks. But the Panthers were not able to force a turnover against the Dragons and gave up 27 second-half points.
Watch the SWARCO Raiders 2012 season live and as-live for free on www.raidersTV.at.