WR Julian Ebner (#85) caught two touchdown passes (Photo: Schellhorn)
The SWARCO Raiders have made a big step toward playing at home in the upcoming Austrian Football League (AFL) playoffs. In week 7 The Oakland Raiders sister-team won 54-28 (21-0; 17-0; 13-21; 3-7) at the JCL Giants Graz.
The Tyroleans had already won the season's first matchup against the Giants by a score of 31-21. Today they celebrated their eighth victory in the last nine meetings against Graz. The SWARCO Raiders were up 38-0 by halftime and scored on their first nine possessions.
"Today was a huge and impressive win", said SWARCO Raiders head coach Shuan Fatah. "We played flawless in the first half and laid the foundation for the victory in the first two quarters. The offense was unstoppable and the defense also played a huge role in our win today".
QB Kyle Callahan completed 23 of 29 passes for 309 yards with 6 touchdowns. It was his first six touchdown performance since he came to the AFL in 2011. He also had 9 carries for 39 yards. RB Andreas Hofbauer led his team with 10 rushes for 101 yards and a touchdown. WR Talib Wise caught 7 balls for 117 yards and 2 touchdowns. WR Julian Ebner caught 5 passes for 45 yards and 2 scores. WR Clemens Erlsbacher caught 5 balls for 70 yards and a touchdown. He scored a total of 18 points. The defense didn't give a single point in the first half in both games against Graz this season. DE Philipp Margreiter had 3 sacks and DB Enrico Martini recovered a fumble.
Graz opened the game with the kickoff. Starting at their own 25 Callahan threw an 8-yard pass to Ebner, and then found Erlsbacher for 9 yards. Later WR Damaso Tarneller caught a 25-yard pass. On the next play Erlsbacher hauled in a pass at the Graz 15. The drive ended with a 9-yard touchdown pass from Callahan to Ebner. Erlsbacher added the extra point to give the SWARCO Raiders a 7-0 lead with 7:42 minutes left in the first.
The Giants started their first drive at the 25. Two runs by QB Alex Good gained 14 yards. But moments later Margreiter finished off the drive by himself. First he sacked Good on third down. On the next play he blocked the punt and recovered the ball at the Giants 35. On the second play from scrimmage Callahan threw a 31-yard touchdown pass to a wide-open Wise. The PAT extended the lead to 14-0 with 4:30 minutes left in the first.
Graz' second possession started after a touchback. RB Alex Gross ran for 13 yards on the first play. But on the next play Good lost the ball and Martini recovered the fumble at the Giants 37. Wise opened the SWARCO Raiders series with a 22-yard catch. Later Callahan threw a 9-yard touchdown pass to Ebner. Erlsbacher netted the extra point. The Tyroleans were up 21-0 with 2:01 minutes left in the first.
Margreiter's second sack forced the Giants to punt on their third drive. The Tyroleans then took over at their 35. On second down Callahan threw an 11-yarder to Tarneller. Then Hofbauer turned a quick pass into a 21-yard gain. The drive ended with a 43-yard field goal by Erlsbacher, extending the SWARCO Raiders lead to 24-0 with 9:17 minutes left in the second.
The Giants next possession resulted in another punt. The Tyroleans started at their own 28. On third down Callahan found Wise for 30 yards. On the next play Hofbauer ran 32 yards. A 3-yard touchdown pass from Callahan to Tarneller finished the drive. The PAT was good and the SWARCO Raiders were up 31-0 with 5:12 minutes left in the second.
Another long kickoff by Erlsbacher resulted in another touchback. On first down from their own 25 Margreiter sacked Good once again. Two plays later Graz punted. The punt went out of bounds at the Giants 45. On the SWARCO Raiders second play from scrimmage Callahan spotted Erlsbacher at the opposing 31. Two runs by Callahan moved the ball to the 19. Then Callahan threw a 14-yard pass to Wise. On the next play Hofbauer ran untouched into the endzone. The PAT was good and the Tyroleans extended their lead to 38-0 with 1:23 minutes left in the first half.
The Giants received the opening kickoff of the second half. After a short return they started at their own 23. A penalty against the SWARCO Raiders took an interception return touchdown off the scoreboard. On the very next play the Giants scored on a 57-yard touchdown pass from Good to WR Max Taurer. K Stefen Lechner added the extra point to cut the SWARCO Raiders lead to 38-7 with 10:08 minutes left in the third.
On the ensuing kickoff Martini returned the ball to the 30. Hofbauer gained 35 yards on the drive's first play. Then WR Christian Willi caught a 9-yard pass. On the next play Ebner hauled in a ball at the opposing 15. Next Callahan threw a 15-yard touchdown pass to Erlsbacher. A bad snap on gthe extra point left Callahan scrambling for the two point conversion, but he was unsuccessful. Still the Tyroleans extended their lead to 44-7 with 8:35 minutes left in the third.
Graz started the next possession at their own 30. Good ran for 19 yards on the first play. And on the next play he found WR Armando Ponce de Leon for a 51-yard touchdown. Lechner added the PAT to cut the lead to 44-14 with 7:52 minutes left in the third.
After a touchback the SWARCO Raiders regained the ball at their own 25. Callahan opened the drive with a 12-yard run. Then Hofbauer rushed for 7 yards. On the next play Erlsbacher caught a pass on the Giants 38. Hofbauer then ran for 16 yards. RB Lukas Miribung added 8 yards before Wise caught a 14-yard touchdown pass from Callahan. Erlsbacher hit the extra point to give the SWARCO Raiders a 51-14 lead with 4:15 minutes left in the third.
On the ensuing kickoff Ponce de Leon returned the ball to the Giants 47. He then caught a 14-yard pass from Good. A penalty against the Tyroleans gave the Giants a first down at the opposing 15. From there RB Alexander Sanz scored on a 15-yard run. The PAT was good, cutting the SWARCO Raiders lead to 51-21 with 86 seconds left in the third.
After a good return by Wise on the kickoff and a penalty against Graz the Tyroleans started their next drive at midfield. A run by Callahan gave the SWARCO Raiders a first down at the Giants 34. Miribung then ran for 22 yards. The drive stalled at the 16 and Erlsbacher kicked a 33-yard field goal to give the SWARCO Raiders a 54-21 lead. 10:41 minutes were still to play in the fourth.
After a long kickoff and a touchback the Giants started their next drive at their own 25. With a heavy dose of running plays Graz marched down the field. The Giants finished their possession with a 9-yard touchdown pass from Good to Taurer. Lechner added the PAT for the final score of 54-28. 49 second were left on the clock.
Next weekend the SWARCO Raiders host the Danube Dragons at Tivoli Stadium on Saturday, May 18. Kickoff is at 8:00 a.m. PT (5:00 p.m. CET).