RB Tory Cooper scored three touchdown in the SWARCO Raiders 34-17 win over Prague.
The "battle of the European champions" turned out to be a lopsided affair as the reigning Eurobowl champion SWARCO Raiders, marketing teammate of The Oakland Raiders, defeated EFAF-Cup champion Collectpoint Prague Panthers 34-17 (6-7; 14-3; 6-0; 8-7). The Tyroleans are 2-0 in the new Austrian Football League (AFL) season.
In front of 3,200 fans at Tivoli Stadium RB Tory Cooper again was the dominant player on the field. Two weeks after his successful AFL debut, the new import ran for 171 yards and two touchdowns on 17 carries. Cooper also caught two passes for 52 yards and another score. QB Leon Jackson III completed 15 of 24 passes for 239 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions. He also showed his mobility, rushing 7 times for 40 yards and two scores. His favorite target against Prague was WR Jakob Dieplinger, who caught 6 balls for 108 yards. The Tyrolean defense held the reigning EFAF-Cup champion's powerful running attack to 58 yards on 26 carries and forced two turnovers.
SWARCO Raiders Head Coach Santos Carrillohad a lot of praise for Cooper, but wants to see his team improve in the future. "Tory Cooper is a great running back and he had a great game," said the 38-year-old coach. "Overall I'm satisfied, but not happy with our performance. It was a very emotional game. It's not easy to stay focused throughout the entire game. We have to work hard, if we want to beat Vienna in two weeks."
The SWARCO Raiders won the toin coss, but decided to kick the ball. Prague could not use this as an advantage. Their opening drive ended with a missed 47-yard field goal. The Tyrolean offense started on their own 19-yard line after a penalty moved back the chains. On the second play of the drive Cooper showed his skills as he ran 48 yards. After runs by RB Florian Grein and Jackson, Cooper finished the drive off with a 2-yard touchdown run. The PAT failed, but with 5:54 left in the first quarter the SWARCO Raiders had a 6-0 lead.
After TE Jan Dundaceks good kickoff return the visiting team began their second drive at the SWARCO Raiders 35. Using the short field to their full advantage, they scored on a 5-yard touchdown run by RB Ondrej Visek. After the extra point the Panthers had a 7-6 lead with 1:31 left in the first.
The SWARCO Raiders' next drive started at their own 37 with an 18-yard run by Cooper. Dieplinger added a 21-yard catch. But the drive ended abruptly, when CB Jirka Hamal picked off Jackson inside the Prague 10-yard line and returned the ball to the Panthers 23. On a long third down, RB Clinton Graham broke loose for a long run to the Tyrolean 33. The drive ended with a 33-yard field goal by K Gabor Sviatko. With 7:23 left in the second quarter, the Panthers extended their lead to 10-6.
Starting at their own 27, Cooper moved his team forward with runs of 23, 11 and 9 yards. Later Jackson fooled the Panthers defense with a pump fake, then took off and ran the ball for a 13-yard touchdown. After the failed two-point conversion the SWARCO Raiders were up 12-10 with 4:18 left in the first half.
Prague's attempt for an immediate answer fell short when QB Jake Shrum lost the ball on the first play from scrimmage and LB Christoph Schilcher recovered the fumble at the Panthers 41-yard line. After running the ball twice, Cooper finally showed his receiving skills. Jackson hit him over the middle and the running back danced his way into the end zone from 30 yards out. Dieplinger caught the two-point conversion to give the SWARCO Raiders a 20-10 lead with 2:08 left in the second quarter.
The Panthers were able to march into enemy territory once more, but the drive ended when LB Florian Hueter picked off a deflected pass at the SWARCO Raiders 23.
The third quarter started with yet another SWARCO Raiders touchdown. Starting at midfield Jackson found TE Stefan Michalsky for 17 yards. Cooper then ran for 18 yards. And with 9:15 left in the third he ran into the endzone from 5 yards out. With another missed PAT the score was 26-10.
The Panthers first drive of the second half ended with an incomplete pass on a fourth down at the SWARCO Raiders 17. Jackson moved the Tyrolean offense with two completions to Dieplinger for 17 and 20 yards. Grein then caught an 11-yard pass, before Jackson found Cooper on the left side for 22 yards. The quarterback finished the drive with an 8-yard scramble for a touchdown. DT Marquay Love showed his soft hands, catching the ball in the end zone for a successful two-point conversion to give the SWARCO Raiders a 34-10 lead with 9:14 left in the fourth quarter.
With the second win of the season in the books, the SWARCO Raiders gave up a second touchdown on the game's very last play, when Dundacek caught a 20-yard touchdown pass. The extra point made it 34-17 in favor of the home team.
Next weekend the SWARCO Raiders have a bye week. They will host arch rival Raiffeisen Vienna Vikings on Saturday, April 24 at Tivoli Stadium.