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SWARCO Raiders win big at Dragons


RB Andreas Hofbauer scored 4 touchdowns(Photo: Schellhorn)

The SWARCO Raiders, sister-team of The Oakland Raiders keep riding on the wave of success – even in heavy rain. Despite adverse weather conditions the Tyroleans won 43-14 (14-14; 22-0; 0-0; 7-0) in week 7 of the 2014 Austrian Football League (AFL) season at the Danube Dragons.

It was their eighth win in a row against the Dragons and their fifth straight victory this season. The SWARCO Raiders also took over first place in the AFL standings thanks to a 9-6 loss by the Raiffeisen Vikings Vienna at the hands of previously winless Graz.

"It was a very important win for us", said SWARCO Raiders head coach Shuan Fatah. "We needed some time to get going in these conditions, but the longer the game went the better we played.  Especially the offensive line and Andreas Hofbauer played impressive today".

RB Andreas Hofbauer had another stellar performance. He gained 156 yards and scored 4 touchdowns on 19 carries. Hofbauer now has scored a league-leading 13 touchdowns on the season.

QB John van den Raadt had to throw the ball only 9 times. He completed 4 passes for 66 yards and a touchdown. Van den Raadt also had 9 rushes for 77 yards. WR Adrian Platzgummer caught 3 balls for 48 yards and ran for a touchdown. WR/K Clemens Erlsbacher scored 5 points. The defense recorded 4 sacks. DL Philipp Margreiter had 2 sacks and DL Manuel Jovic and LB Fabian Seeber each had one sack.

The Dragons won the toss, but deferred to the second half. DB Enrico Martini returned the opening kickoff to the opposing 42. On the first play from scrimmage Hofbauer ran for 19 yards. Later WR Adrian Platzgummer caught a pass at the 10. From there Hofbauer ran into the endzone for the score. Erlsbacher added the PAT to give the SWARCO Raiders a 7-0 lead with 10:33 minutes left in the first.

After the kickoff the Dragons started their first series at their 27. RB Florian Pos ran 17 yards on the first play. Later QB Cary Grossart found WR Thomas Haider at the Tyrolean 30. Two plays later RB Dominik Kecskemeti scored on an 18-yard touchdown run. The PAT tied the game at 7-7. 8:05 minutes were left in the first quarter.

The SWARCO Raiders second possession ended with a punt. Erlsbacher kicked the ball to the 3. On third down Pos found a hole and ran 45 yards. Then WR Georg Pongratz caught a pass at the opposing 30. Two rushes by Kecskemti moved the ball to the 2-yard line. Grossart then scored on a 3-yard touchdown run to give the Dragons a 14-7 lead with 1:59 minutes left in the first.

Martini again returned the kickoff to the Dragons 42. Two rushes by van den Raadt moved the chains to the 18. Next up Hofbauer ran close to the goal line. On the next play he scored from 1 yard out. Erlsbacher added the extra point. The game was tied again 14-14 with 48 seconds left in the first.

Thanks to good coverage on the kickoff the Dragons began their next possession at their 12. Finally the Tyrolean defense showed up and forced a three-and-out. After a short return by Erlsbacher the Tyroleans began at the SWARCO Raiders 37. Hofbauer opened the drive with a 17-yard run. Then van den Raadt ran 11 yards. Next up was an 11-yard run by Hofbauer. He finished the drive with a 14-yard touchdown run. The PAT gave the SWARCO Raiders a 21-14 lead with 9:43 minutes left in the second.

The ensuing kickoff resulted in a touchback. The Dragons started at their 25. Thanks to a bad snap Jovic sacked Grossart on first down. Two plays later Margreiter added to his sack total and forced another punt. Erlsbacher returned the ball to the Vienna 38. Van den Raadt started the drive with a 12-yard run. And on the next play Hofbauer paced 26 yards into the endzone for his fourth touchdown of the game. Erlsbacher's PAT gave the Tyroleans a 28-14 lead with 6:27 minutes left in the second.

The Dragons were forced to punt after their third consecutive three-and-out. Erlsbacher returned the punt 18 yards to the opposing 42. After two rushes by Hofbauer gained 9 yards the Dragons were flagged 15 yards for a late hit. A pitch to WR Damaso Tarneller was good for 8 yards. Later the Tyroleans scored on a successful end-around when Platzgummer ran untouched into the endzone from 12 yards out. He then also scored on the two-point conversion to give the SWARCO Raiders a 36-14 lead with 77 seconds left in the second quarter.

The Dragons opened the third quarter on their 25 after a touchback on the kickoff. A run by Grossart and a penalty against the Tyroleans gave the Dragons a first down at their 47. But moments later Margreiter recorded his second sack of the game to force a punt. The SWARCO Raiders took over at their 16, but had to punt, too.

After another Dragons punt the Tyroleans took over at their 14. After a run for loss and a penalty van den Raadt found Platzgummer for 36 yards. Later the quarterback escaped three pass rushers and scrambled for 15 yards to the Dragons 43. Then Hofbauer gained 21 yards. Van den Raadt finished the drive with an 18-yard touchdown pass to Tarneller. Erlsbacher's extra point gave the SWARCO Raiders a 43-14 lead with 9:35 minutes left in the game.

After a short kickoff return the Dragons began their next drive at the 22. Ob third down Grossart found Haider for 12 yards. Then WR Johannes Prammer caught a 19-yard pass. Three plays later Haider caught a 13-yard pass on third down and 15 to go. On the very next play Seeber sacked Grossart in the backfield for a turnover on downs.

The SWARCO Raiders return to action next weekend. On Saturday, May 17 they host the Prague Black Panthers. Kickoff at Innsbruck's Tivoli Stadium is at 8:00 a.m. PT (5:00 p.m. CET).

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