WR Clemens Erlsbacher caught 10 passes for 243 yards and 3 TDs (Photo: Markus Stieg)
The SWARCO RAIDERS are on a roll. The Oakland Raiders sister-team celebrated its fifth straight victory in the Austrian Football League (AFL) as they defeated the Danube Dragons in convincing fashion, winning 58-6 (0-0; 21-0; 20-0; 21-6).
It was the highest win against the Dragons in SWARCO RAIDERS history. It was also the eighth victory in eigth games at Gernot Langes Stadium in Wattens.
"This was a great team effort", said SWARCO RAIDERS head coach Shuan Fatah. "Last week we basically had to split the team in two halfs and still found a way to win both games we played. Today we were able to show how good we can be when we play as a unit".
QB Sean Shelton completed 27 of 34 passes for 500 yards with 4 touchdowns and one interception. WR Clemens Erlsbacher played even more spectacular than last week. After catching 9 passes for 237 yards and 3 touchdowns a week ago at Graz, he had 10 catches for 243 yards and 3 scores against the Dragons, bringing his total over the last two games to 19 catches for 480 yards and 6 scores.
WR Julian Ebner caught 4 passes for 84 yards and WR Christian Willi had 4 catches for 70 yards and a touchdown. RB Fabien-André Gärtner and RB Sandro Platzgummer each scored twice. DB Markus Krause and DB Alexander Achammer each had an interception. For Achammer it was already his fifth pick in the AFL this season. LB Florian Hueter and DL Philipp Popp each added a sack.
The Dragons won the coin toss and elected to receive. They started their first drive at their own 14, but had to punt after reaching midfield. The SWARCO RAIDERS took over at their 17. Sandro Platzgummer started the day with a 6-yard run. Then Shelton found RB Simon Muigg for 21 and Erlsbacher for 10 yards. Next up were passes to Ebner for 14, Willi for 14 and Erlsbacher for 7 yards. Gärtner finished the drive with a 1-yard touchdown run. K Dennis Wiehberg added the extra point to give the Tyroleans a 7-0 lead with 10:42 minutes left in the second.
On the ensuing kickoff FS Thomas Meznik lost the ball and the Tyroleans recovered the fumble at the Dragons 27. Shelton found Ebner for 8 yards. A few plays later Wiehberg tried a field goal, but a penalty gave the SWARCO RAIDERS a fresh set of downs. The Tyroleans took full advantage of the second chance, scoring on a 4-yard touchdown run by Sandro Platzgummer. Wiehberg's PAT gave the team a 14-0 lead with 7:40 minutes left in the second.
The Dragons began their next possession at their 25. QB Alex Good gained 32 yards with three completions. But later the Dragons turned the ball over on downs. Starting at their own 41 the Tyroleans moved the chains with a 24-yard completion from Shelton to WR Oliver Eslami. On the very next play Shelton found Willi for a 35-yard scoring strike. The PAT gave the SWARCO RAIDERS a 21-0 lead with 2:12 minutes left before halftime.
After a touchback on the kickoff the Dragons started at their 25. On the first play from scrimmage Krause picked off a pass from Good, giving the Tyroleans the ball at the opposing 26. But moments later they gave the ball back when Gärtner fumbled. The team from Vienna marched to the Tyrolean 30. But K Stefan Knaller missed a 48-yard field goal try on the last play of the second quarter.
The third quarter began with DB Enrico Martini's kickoff return to the Dragons 20. A few plays later Wiehberg kicked a 30-yard field goal to give the SWARCO RAIDERS a 24-0 lead with 10:16 minutes left in the third.
The Dragons had to punt on their first possession of the third quarter, giving the Tyroleans the ball back at their own 37. On the drive's first play Shelton found Erlsbacher for 61 yards. Sandro Platzgummer then finished off the drive with a 2-yard touchdown run. The PAT was blocked, but the SWARCO RAIDERS had a 30-0 lead with 6:58 minutes left in the third.
Another Dragons possession ended with a punt, this time after only three plays. Starting at their own 32 Shelton found Willi for 5 yards, then passed to Muigg for 7. Next up was a 51-yard completion to Ebner. Shelton finished the drive with a 5-yard touchdown pass to Erlsbacher. The PAT gave the Tyroleans a 37-0 lead with 3:51 minutes left in the third.
Erlsbacher's kickoff resulted in yet another touchback. The Dragons then finally were able to move the ball. Good ran for 17 yards. Then RB Florian Pos had rushes of 39 and 10 yards. Hueter then sacked Good in the redzone. On the next three plays Good missed his target and the Dragons turned over the ball at the Tyrolean 20.
Shelton started the drive with a 16-yard pass to Willi. After a penalty he found Sandro Platzgummer for 14 yards. Later Erlsbacher caught a 34-yarder. Shelton and Erlsbacher then hooked up for a 10-yard scoring strike. Wiehberg's extra point gave the SWARCO RAIDERS a 44-0 lead with 10:13 minutes left in the fourth.
Starting at their own 25 the Dragons began with an 11-yard run by Good. On the next play the quarterback was sacked by Popp. Two plays later the Dragons had to punt once more. The punt was downed at the Tyroleans 18. And on the second play from scrimmage Erlsbacher caught an 82-yard touchdown pass from Shelton. The PAT made it 51-0 with 7:48 minutes left.
The Dragons next possession ended with a turnover. Achammer intercepted a pass from Good on the drive's sixth play and returned the ball to the Tyrolean 35. But moments later Shelton was picked off by LB Ramon Azim. The Dragons took over at the opposing 25 and finally were able to score. Good found WR Philipp Haun from 12 yards out. The PAT was blocked. But with 4:01 minutes left in the clock the Dragons were finally on the board, cutting the SWARCO RAIDERS lead to 51-6.
The Tyroleans were not done, yet though. After a short kickoff they took over at their own 40. Shelton found WR Gregor Hofmann for 8 yards, then threw to Ebner for 11 yards. An 8-yarder to Erlsbacher gave them another first down. Shelton then threw 9 yards to Erlsbacher and 14 yards to Eslami. Gärtner finished the drive with a 7-yard touchdown run. Wiehberg's extra point gave the SWARCO RAIDERS a 58-6 lead with 32 seconds left.
The SWARCO RAIDERS will finally have a bye next weekend. They will host the London Warriors in the BATTLE4TIROL on Saturday, June 6.