SWARCO Raiders win at Dragons

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RB/DB Jaycen Taylor scored two touchdowns against the Dragons (Photo: Schellhorn)

In week 9 of the 2013 Austrian Football League (AFL) season the SWARCO Raiders celebrated a 45-31 (7-7; 10-7; 14-3; 14-14) victory at the Danube Dragons. With its seventh win in eight games Oakland's sister-team secured at least 2nd place in the standings, giving them a home game in the upcoming AFL playoff semifinals.

"It was an important win for us", said SWARCO Raiders head coach Shuan Fatah. "The Dragons have made our life miserable for a long time. We were also missing some key players on defense. But my team stayed focused and showed great improvement in the second half".

QB Kyle Callahan completed 12 of 19 passes for 262 yards and 3 touchdowns. He also ran the ball 6 times for 17 yards and a score. RB/DB Jaycen Taylor scored on a 56-yard touchdown catch and on a 65-yard punt return touchdown. RB Andreas Hofbauer had 5 rushes for 69 yards and a touchdown. WR Damaso Tarneller caught 4 passes for 130 yards and a touchdown. DB Markus Krause caught an interception; his third picked off pass against Dragons QB Jonathan Dally this season.

The Dragons won the coin toss and elected to receive. WR/K Clemens Erlsbacher's kickoff resulted in a touchback. Starting at their own 25 the Dragons lost 7 yards on the opening play when DE Maximilian Pichler tackled RB Tunde Ogun in the backfield. A few plays later the home-site had to punt. The SWARCO Raiders started at their own 26 with a 10-yard run by Hofbauer. Then Erlsbacher caught a 14-yard pass from Callahan. But the drive also ended with a punt. Erlsbacher's kick went out of bounds at the 4.

The Dragons were not able to get out of their redzone and had to punt again. Taylor caught the ball at the Tyroleans 35 and paced down the left sideline for a 65-yard punt return touchdown. Erlsbacher's extra point was good. The SWARCO Raiders were up 7-0 with 3:58 minutes left in the first.

After a short kickoff return the Dragons began their third series at their 26. Ogun gained 20 yards on the first play from scrimmage. After a penalty against the Tyroleans Dally ran to the opposing 42. Then Ogun ran to the 25. Dally threw an 11-yard pass to WR Thomas Haider. On the next play Dally pitched the ball to Ogun, who ran into the endzone from 14 yards out. The PAT tied the game at 7-7 with 68 seconds left in the first.

A short kickoff and a fine return by Erlsbacher gave the SWARCO Raiders the ball at the Dragons 49. On the first play Tarneller caught a 12-yard pass. A screen pass to Hofbauer was good for 6 yards. Then Hofbauer ran to the 15. A penalty gave the Tyroleans a first down at the 4. And on the next play Callahan threw a 4-yard touchdown pass to WR Christian Willi. Erlsbacher nailed the PAT to give the SWARCO Raiders a 14-7 lead with 10:57 minutes left in the second.

The Dragons started their next drive at their 14. Ogun ran for 21 yards. Then Dally carried the ball for 12 yards. A pass to Haider was good for 17 yards, before WR Johannes Prammer caught a 14-yarder. Moments later Ogun ran to the 3. And on third down Dally scored on a 1-yard touchdown run. K Martin Wunderer converted the PAT and with 2:04 minutes left in the second the game was tied at 14-14.

After the ensuing kickoff the SWARCO Raiders started at their 17. A 14-yard pass from Callahan to Erlsbacher gave the Tyroleans a fresh set of downs. Then RB Lukas Miribung ran to the 44. Callahan ran for 8 yards, before Miribung ran to the opposing 36. The drive ended with a last-second 47-yard field goal from Erlsbacher to give the SWARCO Raiders a 17-14 halftime lead.

The third quarter started with a quick strike by the Tyroleans. Starting at their own 25 they needed only three plays to score. After a penalty and a run for a short loss Callahan found Tarneller at the opposing 33. On the next play Hofbauer ran 33 yards for the touchdown. The PAT was good and the SWARCO Raiders were up 24-14 with 10:30 minutes left in the third.

After the kickoff and a touchback the Dragons started their first drive of the second half at the 25. Ogun opened the drive with a 17-yard run. Then Haider caught a 15-yard pass. The drive stalled at the SWARCO Raiders 22, but Wunderer's 39-yard field goal cut the SWARCO Raiders lead to 24-17 with 4:27 minutes left in the third.

DB Enrico Martini returned the ensuing kickoff to the Tyroleans 38. Miribung ran for 6 yards on the first play of the drive. Then Callahan threw a short pass over the middle to Taylor, who eluded a defender and then sprinted 56 yards for the score. Erlsbacher kicked the extra point to extend the SWARCO Raiders lead to 31-17 with 3:31 minutes left in the third.

The Dragons next possession ended with a punt, giving the Tyroleans the ball at their own 19. After two short runs Callahan spotted a wide-open Tarneller, who caught the ball and ran 75 yards untouched into the endzone. The PAT was good. The SWARCO Raiders led 38-17 with 11:04 minutes left in the fourth.

The ensuing kickoff resulted in a touchback. On the drive's first play from scrimmage Dally threw a deep pass under heavy pressure. Krause was right there to pick it off. He returned the interception to the Tyroleans 35. The SWARCO Raiders offense was not able to capitalize on the turnover. After Erlsbacher's punt the Dragons took over at their own 29. Two Ogun runs gave them a first down at their 41. Then WR Georg Pongratz caught a pass at the opposing 46. Moments later Ogun scored on a 26-yard touchdown run. The PAT cut the SWARCO Raiders lead to 38-24 with 4:55 minutes left in the fourth.

The SWARCO Raiders recovered the ensuing onside kick at the Dragons 43. On second down Callahan threw a 32-yard completion to WR Julian Ebner. A few plays later Callahan scored on an 11-yard touchdown run. K Martin Wetzel converted the extra point to give the SWARCO Raiders a 45-24 lead with 1:45 minutes left.

After a touchback on the kickoff the Dragons started at their own 25. Dally opened the series with a 17-yard run. Two completions moved the ball to the opposing 32. And a couple of plays later Dally threw a 30-yard touchdown pass to Haider with 20 seconds left. The PAT was good and the final score was 45-31.

Next Sunday, June 16 the SWARCO Raiders host the Calanda Broncos in the European Football League (EFL) semifinals. Kickoff at Innsbruck's Tivoli Stadium is at 5:15 a.m. PT (2:15 p.m. CET).

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