The SWARCO RAIDERS are back on top in Austria. The Oakland Raiders sister-team defeated arch rival Vienna Vikings 38-0 (7-0; 3-0; 14-0; 14-0) in Austrian Bowl XXXI to capture the team's fourth national championship and its first since 2011.
Before the game SWARCO RAIDERS head coach Shuan Fatah said, it was his team's turn after three straight Austrian Bowl defeats at the hands of the Vikings. But nobody could have seen coming such a dominant performance. It was the highest Austrian Bowl victory since 1998 and for the first time since 1989 one Austrian Bowl finalist was not able to score.
"This team has really deserved this championship. My boys played 16 games this season. That's a complete NFL regular season. They have fought. They never gave up. They countered their critics. And at the end we all got rewarded for our fighting spirit", said Fatah. "This game was unbelievable. Offense, defense, special teams; we played very focused and never let the Vikings get into any rhythm. I am extremely proud of this team".
WR Julian Ebner was named MVP of Austrian Bowl XXXI. After giving his comeback just midway through the season he finished the biggest game of the year with 10 catches for 100 yards and a touchdown. QB Sean Shelton completed 18 of 26 passes for 190 yards with one touchdown and one interception. He also had 10 rushes for 57 yards. RB Sandro Platzgummer had 18 rushes for 77 yards and a touchdown. RB Fabien-André Gärtner scored 3 touchdowns and gained 50 yards on 7 carries.
The defense held Vienna to 97 total yards, gave up only four first downs and forced three turnovers. DB Markus Krause and DB Enrico Martini each intercepted their third pass of the season. DB Vincent Müller also had a pick. DL Korbinian Hoffmann and DL Reinhard Pardeller each had a sack.
The SWARCO RAIDERS won the coin toss and elected to receive. After the kickoff and Sandro Platzgummer's return the Tyroleans started at their 39. Shelton found WR Christian Willi for 12 yards for a first down. Ebner then caught 3 balls for 16 yards. Later Shelton ran for 23 yards on third down. He finished the drive with a 13-yard touchdown pass to Ebner. K Dennis Wiehberg added the PAT to give the SWARCO RAIDERS a 7-0 lead with 6:39 minutes left in the first.
WR Stefan Postel returned WR Clemens Erlsbacher's kickoff to the Vikings 21. He then caught a 15-yard pass from QB Alexander Thury. Later WR Manuel Thaller caught an 11-yarder. A few plays after that Hoffmann sacked Thury. And on the very next play Krause picked off Thury's pass. But the SWARCO RAIDERS gave the ball right back when a pass from Shelton was intercepted by DB Andreas Lunzer. The team's next possession each ended with a punt.
After the Vikings' punt the Tyroleans started at the opposing 43. Sandro Platzgummer had rushes for 7 yards and 6 yards. A few plays later Wiehberg missed a 43-yard field goal, though. The Vikings regained possession and had to punt once again. Just before the punt the game was delayed for 18 minutes due to a thunderstorm.
After the delay Vienna punted and Erlsbacher returned the ball to the Vikings 40. Sandro Platzgummer rushed for 7 yards. Then Shelton ran to the 28 on a fourth down. On the next play Ebner caught a 26-yard pass. The drive ended with an 18-yard field goal by Wiehberg. Two seconds before halftime the SWARCO RAIDERS held a 10-0 lead.
Vienna started the third quarter at their own 13. But after three plays the Vikings had to punt. The SWARCO RAIDERS took over at their 33. Shelton rushed for 10 yards. Then Ebner caught a 23-yarder. After a penalty negated a touchdown the Tyroleans regrouped and marched on. Two rushes by Shelton moved the chains to the Vienna 20. Then Willi caught a 7-yard pass. On the next play Shelton pitched the ball to Sandro Platzgummer, who ran 13 yards into the endzone. The PAT gave the SWARCO RAIDERS a 17-0 lead with 6:18 minutes left in the third.
After a short return on the ensuing kickoff Vienna started at its 24. On the second play from scrimmage Thury risked too much, overthrowing his intended receiver. The ball landed in Müller's hands at the Tyrolean 39. Luckily for the Vikings the SWARCO RAIDERS couldn't cash in on the turnover.
But the turnover had an impact as young QB Bernhard Seikovits entered the game for Vienna. After two incompletions to start the next drive he threw a pick on his third pass attempt. Martini returned the ball to the Vikings 14. On the very next play Gärtner scored on a 14-yard run after a pitch from Shelton. Wiehberg's extra point gave the SWARCO RAIDERS a 24-0 lead with 30 seconds left in the third.
The Vikings started their next series at their 19. A pass to Thaller on fourth down resulted in a first down at the 30. But after a sack by Pardeller Vienna was forced to punt once again. The Tyroleans took over at their 33. Gärtner rushed for 16 yards. Then Sandro Platzgummer and Shelton each ran for 8 yards. Shelton then found Erlsbacher for 12 yards and 10 yards. Gärtner finished the drive with a 5-yard touchdown run. The PAT gave the SWARCO RAIDERS a 31-0 lead with 6:16 minutes left in the fourth.
Vienna just couldn't find any holes in the Tyrolean defense and was forced to punt one last time. And the SWARCO RAIDERS made the most of their last possession. Starting at their 38 a 15-yard penalty gave them a fresh set of downs. Later Sandro Platzgummer ran for a first down on fourth and 3. Later his brother WR Adrian Platzgummer caught a 15-yard pass. And once again Gärtner finished the drive – this time from 3 yards out. Wiehberg's extra point made it 38-0 with 36 seconds left.