QB John van den Raadt (R) threw 7 touchdown passes (Photo: Schellhorn)
A bad snap on an extra point was all the difference in the SWARCO Raiders exciting and entertaining 63-62 (21-14; 7-14; 20-28; 15-6) victory over the Prague Black Panthers in week 8 of the 2014 Austrian Football League (AFL) season. Thanks to the win the sister-team of The Oakland Raiders stays in first place.
It was the last game for the next month. From May 30 to June 7 the European Football Championships take place in Austria. Many players from the SWARCO Raiders will represent their country on home soil.
These players were part of a historic offensive showdown at Innsbruck’s Tivoli Stadium as the SWARCO Raiders and Prague Black Panthers combined for 125 points and 1,394 offensive yards. In the end a bad snap on Prague’s extra point try with about two minutes remaining gave the Tyroleans their eighth straight win over the team from the Czech Republic.
”This was definitely not a game for coaches”, said SWARCO Raiders head coach Shuan Fatah. ”You don’t want to give up that many points and be in the middle of an offensive showdown. But in the end all that matters is the win. Now we can rest, sitting in first place. We need that well deserved break”.
QB John van den Raadt completed 22 of 30 passes for 511 yards with 7 touchdowns and one interception. WR/K Clemens Erlsbacher caught 7 balls for 204 yards with 2 touchdowns. WR Julian Ebner had 6 catches for 171 yards and 3 touchdowns. WR Adrian Platzgummer caught 6 passes for 106 yards with 2 touchdowns. He also had a rushing touchdown. RB Andreas Hofbauer had 14 rushes for 114 yards and a touchdown. On defense LB Fabian Seeber excelled with a fumble recovery and an interception. He was also the one who tackled Prague’s kicker after he scooped up the ball after that botched snap on the decisive extra point try.
The SWARCO Raiders won the coin toss and elected to receive. Erlsbacher returned the opening kickoff to the 43. On the first play from scrimmage van den Raadt found Platzgummer for 10 yards. Then WR Damaso Tarneller gained 18 yards on a reverse. On the next play Platzgummer scored on a 15-yard touchdown pass from van den Raadt. Erlsbacher added the extra point to give the Tyroleans a 7-0 lead with 10:59 minutes left in the first.
Erlsbacher’s kickoff sailed through the endzone for the touchback. Starting at their 25 the Black Panthers opened the drive with a 12-yard pass from former Oakland Raiders backup QB Kyle Newhall-Caballero to WR Jakub Wolesky. He then found WR Jan Stiegler for 21 yards. Two penalties on third downs kept the drive alive. Finally Newhall-Caballero scored on a 9-yard touchdown run. The PAT tied the game at 7-7 with 7:55 minutes left in the first.
Both teams had to punt on their second possession. After Prague’s punt the Tyroleans started at their 34. Van den Raadt found Ebner for 11 yards. Then he threw an 18-yarder to Erlsbacher. Moments later Platzgummer caught a 35-yard touchdown pass. Erlsbacher added the PAT to give the SWARCO Raiders a 14-7 lead. 3:22 minutes were left in the first.
A penalty on the kickoff against the Tyroleans gave Prague the ball at its 40. RB Ondrej Visek ran to the opposing 44. A few plays later Newhall-Caballero threw a 39-yard touchdown pass to WR Jan Dundacek. After the PAT the scoreboard read 14-14 with 1:58 minutes left in the first.
Platzgummer returned the short kickoff to the 42. On the first play from scrimmage van den Raadt found Erlsbacher for 21 yards. Then he threw a 33-yard pass to Ebner. Hofbauer finished the drive with a 3-yard touchdown run. The extra point gave the SWARCO Raiders a 21-14 lead with 22 seconds left in the first.
The Black Panthers had to punt for the second time on their next possession. After a short Erlsbacher return the Tyroleans took over at their 21. On the very first play from scrimmage van den Raadt fooled the defense with a pump fake then threw a pass to a wide-open Ebner. The receiver then outran the defense for a 79-yard touchdown. Erlsbacher added the PAT for a 28-14 lead with 10:13 minutes left in the second.
A touchback on the kickoff gave Prague the ball at its 25. Newhall-Caballero found Dundacek for 11 yards on the first play from scrimmage. Moments later the Black Panthers struck again when Newhall-Caballero threw a 64-yard touchdown pass to WR Daniel Balazovic. The PAT cut the SWARCO Raiders lead to 28-21 with 8:39 minutes left in the second.
DB Enrico Martini returned the ensuing kickoff to the 38. Van den Raadt ran for 11 yards on first down. But a few plays later DB Jan Kabat stepped in front of his long pass to Ebner and picked it off at Prague’s 10-yard line. The Czechs couldn’t cash in on the turnover though and had to punt. Erlsbacher returned the ball to the Tyrolean 38. A 37-yard run by Hofbauer gave the home-site a fresh set of downs at the opposing 24. The drive ended with a field goal try. But after a bad snap Erlsbacher tried to run for a first down and was stopped inches short.
Starting at their 15 the Black Panthers moved quickly when a penalty cost the Tyroleans 15 yards. Then Dundacek caught a pass at the Tyrolean 47. Moments later Newhall-Caballero rushed to the 29. Next up he threw a 29-yard touchdown pass to Balazovic. The PAT tied the game. With 24 seconds left in the first half the score was 28-28.
Prague opened the third quarter with a short kickoff return to their 19. Two passes to Balazovic and a run by Visek moved the ball to the opposing 46. Then Visek ran to the 27. Later Newhall-Caballero threw a 16-yard touchdown pass to Balazovic. The PAT gave the Black Panthers their first lead of the game. With 7:49 minutes left in the third they were up 35-28.
Yet the Tyroleans answered immediately. Starting at their 25 Hofbauer had a short run. On the second play from scrimmage van den Raadt found Erlsbacher over the middle and the receiver ran 71 yards untouched into the endzone. He also added the extra point to tie the game 35-35. 7:10 minutes were left in the third.
On the ensuing kickoff DB Markus Krause and DB Arno Andreas hit RB Stanislav Jantos hard. The returner lost the ball and Seeber scooped up the fumble. He returned the ball to the 7. From there Platzgummer scored on a reverse. Erlsbacher’s PAT gave the SWARCO Raiders a 42-35 lead with 6:55 minutes left in the third.
After a touchback Prague started at its 25. Newhall-Caballero found Stiegler for 24 yards. Then Dundacek caught a long pass at the Tyrolean 4. On third down Newhall-Caballero scored on a 4-yard touchdown run. The PAT made it 42-42 with 5:47 minutes left in the third.
The Tyroleans had to punt for the first time since the first quarter on their next drive. Prague took over at its 29. Dundacek caught a pass at the 41. Then Newhall-Caballero found Stiegler for 23 yards. A penalty gave the Black Panthers a first down at the 12. From there Newhall-Caballero found Dundacek in the endzone. The PAT gave Prague a 49-42 lead with 2:28 minutes left in the third.
Martini returned the ball on the kickoff to the 36. And on the very first play from scrimmage van den Raadt threw a 64-yard touchdown pass to Erlsbacher. The extra was blocked. So Prague stayed on top 49-48 with 2:13 minutes left in the third.
Prague returned the kickoff to the 30. Dundacek caught a pass from Newhall-Caballero at the opposing 37. Then the quarterback found Balazovic for a 36-yard touchdown pass. The extra point gave the Black Panthers a 56-48 lead with 44 seconds left in the third.
After Martini’s kickoff return the SWARCO Raiders offense took over at its 39. Van den Raadt opened the drive with a 12-yard pass to Erlsbacher. He then connected with Erlsbacher again this time for 17 yards. Then van den Raadt threw a 32-yard touchdown strike to Platzgummer. Hofbauer scored on the two-point conversion to tie the game once more. With 11:55 minutes left in the fourth the score was 56-56.
After a short return Prague started at its 18. Newhall-Caballero ran to the 36. Two penalties moved the chains to the Tyrolean 44. But on the next play Dundacek was not able to secure Newhall-Caballero’s pass and Seeber stepped in for the interception. A penalty after the play cost the Tyroleans 15 yards and moved the ball back to the 17.
Hofbauer started the drive with a 17-yard run. Then van den Raadt found Ebner for 25 yards. Hofbauer then rushed for 14 and 7 yards. A few plays later WR Christian Willi caught a ball at the 6-yard line. The drive ended with a 6-yard touchdown pass from van den Raadt to Ebner. Erlsbacher kicked the extra point to give the SWARCO Raiders a 63-56 lead with 5:40 minutes left in the fourth.
Erlsbacher kicked the ball into the endzone for a touchback. The defense forced a fourth down on which Newhall-Caballero ran to the 46. Later the Black Panthers faced another fourth down and a again they were successful. This time Newhall-Caballero found Stiegler at the opposing 24. And on the very next play the quarterback threw a 24-yard touchdown pass to Wolesky. But on the ensuing extra point try the ball was snapped to low and deep. K Marek Hrubon scooped up the ball, but was immediately tackled by Seeber. So with 2:07 minutes left in the fourth the SWARCO Raiders held a slim 63-62 lead.
On the ensuing onside kick a Black Panthers player illegally touched the ball, giving it automatically to the Tyroleans. Starting at the opposing 44 a 21-yard run by Hofbauer sealed the win.
Due to the European American Football Championships (05/30-06/07) the SWARCO Raiders have four weeks off. They play their next game on Saturday, June 14 against the Berlin Adler in the BIG6 European Football League. A win would secure the Tyroleans a spot in the Eurobowl final. Kickoff for the Berlin game is on 11:00 a.m. PT (8:00 p.m. CET).
Watch the SWARCO Raiders 2014 season live and as-live for free on www.raidersTV.at.