SWARCO Raiders win thriller at Dragons

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The SWARCO Raiders won a tough game on the road in Week 9 of the 2012 AFL season. Schellhorn.

In week 9 of the 2012 Austrian Football League (AFL) season the SWARCO Raiders won their eighth contest. The sister-team of The Oakland Raiders defeated the Danube Dragons on the road, winning a thrilling game by a score of 35-27 (7-8; 15-7; 7-6; 6-6).

The matchup was decided on the game's last play, when the defense forced Dragons QB Jonathan Dally to run on fourth down and then stopped him shy off the endzone. For the SWARCO Raiders it was their eleventh win over the Dragons in their 13th meeting.

"The Dragons were on fire today. For the most part we were not", said SWARCO Raiders head coach Shuan Fatah. "We took the game to lightly and won only thanks to the better overall quality of our team".

QB Kyle Callahan completed 13 of 24 passes for 170 yards and 2 touchdowns. He also rushed 5 times for 18 yards and a score. RB Andreas Hofbauer caught 2 passes for 60 yards and a touchdown. K Christian Kellner made two late field goals that ultimately won the game.

After the SWARCO Raiders kicked off the Dragons started their opening drive at their own 16. Two runs by Dally and a pass to the quarterback moved the chains to the 41. But moments later the Dragons had to punt. The Tyrolean offense started their first drive at their own 14. On the second play from scrimmage Callahan was tackled in the endzone for a safety. The Dragons were up 2-0 with eight minutes left in the first.

Following the free kick and a good return by RB Tunde Ogun the Dragons started at the opposing 49. With runs of 16 yards and 15 yards Ogun was the driving force behind the Dragons offense. He also finished the drive, scoring from one yard out. The two-point try failed, but the Dragons extended their lead to 8-0 with 2:52 minutes left in the first.

It was the SWARCO Raiders special teams that had the right answer. DB Enrico Martini returned the ensuing kickoff 95 yards for a touchdown. After WR Clemens Erlsbacher added the PAT the Tyroleans cut the lead to 8-7 with 2:37 minutes left in the first.

Despite a 28-yard run by Ogun to start their next drive the Dragons were forced to punt. The Tyroleans regained possession at their own 22. RB Florian Grein opened the drive with runs of 15 yards and 6 yards. Then Callahan and Hofbauer had short runs. And on third down the duo hooked up for a big play. Callahan threw a screen pass to Hofbauer who paced down the left sideline to score from 51 yards out. Erlsbacher then scored on the two-point conversion to give the SWARCO Raiders a 15-8 lead with 9:39 minutes left in the second.

But the lead didn't last very long. After LB Florian Hueter sacked Dally on the first play from scrimmage on the ensuing drive the quarterback came back with a 71-yard pass to WR Georg Pongratz. On the next play Ogun scored with a 12-yard touchdown run. The PAT tied the game at 15-15 with 8:07 minutes left in the second.

Thanks to a very short kickoff the SWARCO Raiders offense started their next possession at the opposing 43. Callahan threw an 8-yarder to WR Julian Ebner on first down. A penalty moved the ball to the Dragons 19. A few plays later Callahan ran 9 yards for the touchdown. The extra point gave the Tyroleans a 22-15 lead with 7:06 minutes left in the second.

The Dragons started their next drive at their own 20. A 37-yard run by Ogun on third and 8 gave the home-site a first down at the Tyrolean 30. On the next play Dally ran for 7 yards. Moments later the team from Klosterneuburg converted a fourth down at the opposing 22. But a couple of plays later LB Philipp Margreiter intercepted a pass from Dally in the redzone and returned the ball to the SWARCO Raiders 24. On the ensuing drive Callahan moved the chains with a 43-yard pass to Erlsbacher. But Kellner's 49-yard field goal try at the end of the first half was wide left.

The SWARCO Raiders had the ball first in the second half. Another short kickoff gave them the ball at the opposing 41. Hofbauer opened the drive with a short run. Then Callahan found Erlsbacher for 6 yards. Moments later Ebner also caught a 6-yarder. The drive ended with a 29-yard touchdown pass from Callahan to WR Christian Willi, who made a nice catch to secure the touchdown. The PAT extended the SWARCO Raiders lead to 29-15 with 8:32 minutes left in the third.

Both teams then had to punt. The Dragons started their second drive of the third quarter at their own 33. Ogun opened the drive with a 20-yard run. Later Dally found Pongratz for 37 yards. Dally finished the possession with a 6-yard touchdown pass to WR Thomas Haider. The PAT was no good and the SWARCO Raiders were up 29-21 with 1:01 minutes left in the third.

The Tyroleans had to punt again on their next possession, giving the Dragons the ball back at their own 17. And the team from Klosterneuburg scored once again. On the drive's second play from scrimmage Ogun broke loose for a 83-yard touchdown run. Once again the Dragons were not successful on their two-point conversion. So with 11:21 minutes left in the fourth the SWARCO Raiders were up 29-27.

After yet another short kickoff and a good return by WR Damaso Tarneller the SWARCO Raiders began at the opposing 36. A pass to Hofbauer gained 9 yards, but the Tyroleans were not able to get a new set of downs. Thanks to Kellner's 43-yard field goal they still were able to extend their lead to 32-27 with 10:23 minutes left.

The score was followed by a punt on each side. The Dragons got the ball back at their own 12. But on fourth down from their own 40 Dally threw an incomplete pass to turn the ball over on downs. Two penalties against the SWARCO Raiders moved the ball backwards, before an 11-yard run by Callahan and a 7-yard run by Grein gave them reason for hope. But on third down Callahan was stopped inches shy of the decisive first down. Instead of going for it on fourth down Fatah sent out Kellner once again. The kicker was perfect from 47 yards out to give his team a 35-27 lead with 52 seconds left in the fourth.

After the ball went out of bounds on the ensuing kickoff the Dragons started at their own 40. Three straight completions from Dally to Pongartz moved the ball to the Tyrolean 41. Then Ogun found a hole and ran to the 28. On third down Dally went deep, but his pass to Haider was broken up by Hueter in the endzone. On fourth down the defense pressured Dally and made him run for his life. He was then tackled shy off the endzone on the game's last play.

Next week the SWARCO Raiders have a bye. On Saturday, June 16 they will host the Calanda Broncos in the European Football League's (EFL) semifinals. Kickoff at Innsbruck's Tivoli Stadium is at 11 a.m. PT (8 p.m. CET).

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