RB David Oku scored on a 71-yard run (Photo: Markus Stieg)
This is something you will only see from the SWARCO RAIDERS. The Oakland Raiders' sister-team played two games on Saturday, winning both. First they won 50-34 (7-7; 16-14; 21-7; 7-7) at the Graz Giants in the Austrian Football League (AFL). With the victory the Tyroleans secured a playoff spot in the AFL. In the evening they also defeated the Basel Gladiators in the BATTLE4TIROL, beating the Swiss champion 47-7 (17-0; 21-7; 0-0; 9-0) at Tivoli Stadium.
"I'm extremely proud of the team; and I mean the whole team. We accomplished something extra-ordinary. We played two games on one day and won both", said SWARCO RAIDERS head coach Shuan Fatah. While most of the players from the club's first team played at Graz the US imports and many young players battled Basel in Innsbruck.
In Graz WR Clemens Erlsbacher played an outstading game. He caught 9 passes for 237 yards with 3 touchdowns and added a field goal and four extra points. QB Kyle Callahan completed 20 of 32 passes for 427 yards with 4 touchdowns and an interception. He also had 6 rushes for 21 yards. RB Fabien-André Gärtner had 8 rushes for 24 yards and 2 touchdowns. RB Sandro Platzgummer had 8 carries for 47 yards. RB Simon Muigg caught 5 balls for 151 yards and 2 total touchdowns. The Tyrolean defense forced 4 turnovers. DB Alexander Achammer caught his fifth interception of the season. DB Markus Krause, DB Enrico Martini and LB Simon Hoser each caught an interception. LB Simon Riedl led the team with 8 tackles (5 solo).
The SWARCO RAIDERS opened the scoring when Gärtner found the endzone from 1 yard out. Graz answered before two touchdown passes from Callahan to Erlsbacher and an Erlsbacher field goal gave the Tyroleans a 23-7 lead. The Giants scored twice just before halftime to cut the deficit to 23-21.
A 44-yard touchdown pass from Callahan to RB Simon Muigg early in the third gave the Tyroleans a 30-21 lead. Graz answered once again. But then touchdowns by Gärtner and Erlsbacher gave the SWARCO RAIDERS a 44-28 lead. Graz scored once more, but Muigg's second touchdown put the game away.
In the Tyroleans's second game of the day RB David Oku was the most dangerous guy on the field. He had 13 rushes for 136 yards and a touchdown. He also caught 6 balls for 46 yards and a touchdown. QB Sean Shelton completed 25 of 41 passes for 245 yards with 4 touchdowns and an interception. WR Julian Ebner caught 8 passes for 101 yards and a score. The SWARCO RAIDERS defense pitched a shutout for the second straight BATTLE4TIROL game and forced three turnovers. DB Clemens Kolb returned an interception for a touchdown. LB Nic Haritonenko and DB Vincent Müller each also caught an interception. DL Maximilian Wild had a sack.
K Dennis Wiehberg opened the scoring with a 32-yard field goal. Later Oku danced through the Gladiators defense for a 71-yard touchdown run. He added a 24-yard scoring catch to give the Tyroleans a 17-0 lead. Then Shelton threw a 9-yard touchdown pass to WR Daniel Saurer.
Basel's only points came on a 30-yard interception return touchdown by LB Milos Lakic. But Shelton came back strong, throwing an 18-yard touchdown pass to WR Oliver Eslami to give his team a 31-7 lead. A few seconds later Kolb scored on a 39-yard interception return touchdown to give the SWARCO RAIDERS a 38-7 halftime lead.
In the fourth quarter an 11-yard touchdown pass from Shelton to Ebner made it 44-7. Wiehberg put the last points on the board, hitting a 50-yard field goal late in the game.
The SWARCO RAIDERS play their next game on Sunday, May 24 when they host the Danube Dragons in the AFL.