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SWARCO Raiders win Thriller – Reach Eurobowl Final


The SWARCO Raiders defeated the Vienna Vikings 13-10 on a last-second 34-yard field goal. Photo by Shellhorn.

The SWARCO Raiders, marketing teammate of The Oakland Raiders, have reached the Eurobowl final. Thanks to a last-second field goal they defeated arch rival Raiffeisen Vikings Vienna 13-10 (0-7; 7-0; 0-3; 6-0) in the EFL semifinal. In their third Eurobowl final in four years, the Tyroleans will face reigning champion Berlin Adler on June 18. The German team beat the Graz Giants 32-30.

For some SWARCO Raiders players the game against Berlin will be a matchup with their former team. One of them is the man who decided the Eurobowl semifinal thriller against Vienna: K Dennis Wiehberg.

The Berlin native, who tied the game with a field goal with less than two minutes left and won the game with his 34-yarder on the very last play, is excited to play his former team in the final. "Being from Berlin this game against Berlin will be something very special," said Wiehberg.

He is not the only one who feels that way. SWARCO Raiders Head Coach Shuan Fatah also believes the final against the Adler will be something special. And why not. Fatah also is a Berlin native and led the Adler to the Eurobowl title last season. "This is huge," he said. "It will be a great game."

Looking back at the victory over Vienna, Fatah especially praised his defense: "The way our defense has played was simply amazing. Not many teams can hold the Vikings to 10 points." His defense allowed only 192 total yards and forced six punts. DB Manuel Eisenführer added an interception.

RB Florian Grein rushed for 116 yards on 20 carries. WR Talib Wise caught 3 balls for 34 yards, had 2 runs for 9 yards and also excelled at cornerback. QB Kyle Callahan completed 8 of 16 passes for 103 yards with 2 interceptions. He also had 10 rushes for 48 yards and a touchdown. Wise and Callahan also won the Eurobowl with Berlin last season.

The game's first drive belonged to the Vikings, but not for long. On the opening drive's third play from scrimmage Eisenführer intercepted a pass from QB Christoph Gross at the Tyroleans 40 and returned the ball to midfield. But a few plays later Callahan lost the ball and Vienna recovered the fumble at the SWARCO Raiders 41. They cashed in on the turnover when RB Tony Hunt scored from 29 yards out. The PAT gave the Vikings a 7-0 lead with 8:40 left in the first.

The home team's second possession also ended with a turnover. This time Callahan was picked off by WR/CB Chauncey Calhoun at the Vienna 22. But thanks to a sack by DE Reinhard Pardeller the Vikings had to punt.

The SWARCO Raiders started their third drive at their own 19. Callahan started with a 4-yard run, then sprinted to the Vienna 43. Grein rushed for 12 yards. Moments later the drive stalled. Wiehberg's 51-yard field goal try was short.

Vienna's next drive ended with another punt. Starting at their own 20, rushes by WR Jakob Dieplinger, Grein, WR Andreas Pröller, and RB Andreas Hofbauer gained 18 yards. A penalty against Vienna added 15 yards. Then Callahan found Wise for 16 yards at the Vikings 24. A pass to Pröller gained 7 yards. On the next play Grein ran to the 2-yard line. Callahan finished off the drive with a 2-yard touchdown run. The PAT tied the game at 7-7 with 5:50 left in the second.

Starting at their own 24, the Vikings got a quick first down before they had to punt for the third straight time. The Tyroleans took over at their own 32. Grein opened the drive with a 13-yard run. But a few plays later another deep pass from Callahan was picked off – this time by CB Daniel Auböck at the Vienna 3-yard line. Vienna wasn't able to capitalize on the turnover and a sack by DE Robert Zernicke sent the game into halftime.

After a good kickoff return by S John Clements the Tyroleans started the third quarter at their own 40. Yet they couldn't gain many yards and had to punt for the first time this evening. WR/P Pascal Maier pinned Vienna at their own 19. A pass from Gross to Calhoun gave Vienna a first down at their own 34. After three more completions Vienna was at the SWARCO Raiders 19. But a good tackle by S Markus Krause on TE Daniel Stanzel stopped the drive deep in Tyrolean territory. With a 29-yard field goal K Peter Kramberger gave Vienna the lead back. 4:31 were left in the third.

Clements returned the ensuing kickoff to the SWARCO Raiders 44. Callahan rushed for 5 yards to open the drive. Then Grein ran to the Vikings 36. Callahan added rushes of 13 and 3 yards. Then he pitched the ball to Grein, who gained 16 yards. But on second down and goal LB Chris James stripped the ball out of Callahan's hands just before he crossed the goal line and returned the ball to the Vikings 11. But thanks to the SWARCO Raiders defense Vienna had to punt again.

After a short punt return by Wise the Tyroleans started at the Vienna 37. The offense barely moved the ball and on came Wiehberg again. This time his 51-yard field goal try went just wide left. Once again the defense stepped up and forced yet another Vikings punt.

Just when it looked as if Vienna would be able to gain control of the game, a penalty gave the SWARCO Raiders new life. The Vikings forced a punt, but a roughing the kicker penalty gave the Tyroleans the ball back at their own 26. Callahan opened the drive with a 9-yard run, then threw a 12-yard pass to Wise. Hofbauer rushed for 9 yards on the next play. Grein then carried the ball to the Vikings 35 for a new set of downs. The Tyroleans moved to the Vikings 8, before they had to settle for a field goal. This time Wiehberg was perfect, nailing a 25-yard kick to tie the game at 10-10 with 1:57 left in the fourth.

After a short kickoff return Vienna started at their own 23. But the SWARCO Raiders defense would not be denied this evening, forcing a punt after three straight incompletions. So with 1:23 left in the fourth the Tyrolean offense regained possession at midfield.

On the very first play of the drive Callahan found Maier at the Vikings 26. Then Wise rushed for 6 yards and added a 3-yard run. Wiehberg sent a 34-yard field goal through the uprights to give the SWARCO Raiders a 13-10 win on the game's final play.

Next weekend the SWARCO Raiders have a bye. On Saturday, June 11 they host reigning Austrian champion Danube Dragons in the AFL semifinals with a chance to advance to the Austrian Bowl.

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