Austria: Swarco Raiders come from behind to defeat Projekt Spielberg Graz Giants

The Swarco Raiders (5-0) found themselves trailing in a game for the first time this year in the Austrian Football League, but rallied in the second half to beat the 2-3 Projekt Spielberg Graz Giants 34-27 in Graz, Austria.

In gaining their fifth straight victory of the year, Swarco had to come from behind  twice after trailing 15-13 at halftime and 21-20 in the third quarter to a determined Giants team in front of their own home crowd.

Raiders quarterback Sean Shelton was outstanding throwing for 187 yards and two touchdowns but rushing for 107 and another touchdown. Fabian Abfalter was his top target catching six passes for 106 yards and a touchdown while Adrian Platzgummer caught the other. Vincent Müller returned a fumble for a touchdown and Darius Robinson returned a kickoff 95 yards for a major.

Giants quarterback Jake Kennedy threw for 224 yards and all four touchdowns with receivers Philipp Sommer and Johannes Schütz catching two apiece.

Graz opened the scoring when the Raiders gave up a two-point safety and then Kennedy found Sommer in behind the Swarco secondary and hit him for a 61 yard touchdown.

Raiders WR Darius Robinson scored on a 95 yard kickoff return Photo: Karin Lichtenauer

With the Giants leading 8-0, Platzgummer  capped a 79 yard Raiders drive with a five yard touchdown reception to narrow the lead to 8-7.

Kennedy then marched the Giants 70 yards and finishing the drive off with a 19 yard touchdown pass to Schütz widening the lead to 15-7. Three minutes later, Shelton hit Abfalter with a 64 yard touchdown pass and Swarco again narrowed the gap to 15-13 at the halftime break.

The third quarter saw the teams combine for three touchdowns as Swarco took the lead for the first time when Müller jarred the ball loose from Giants receiver Thomas Torta on the 10 yard line and returned it 90 yards for the go ahead touchdown, 20-15.

Then, three minutes later, Kennedy hit Schütz for a 23 yard touchdown strike to retake the lead for the Giants, 21-20.

The lead was short lived though as Robinson returned the ensuring kickoff 90 yards to put Swarco back out in front, 27-20.

Both defenses stiffened with neither team reaching the red zone until Shelton engineered a brilliant nine play, five minute, 70 yard drive culminating it with a 14 yard touchdown run with a minute and a half left in the game.

With the Raiders leading 34-21, Kennedy went back to work, driving Graz from their own 11 yard line and then connecting with Sommer from 15 yards out to narrow the gap to 34-27. But the touchdown came with a second left on the clock and Shelton took a knee giving Swarco the 34-27 win but in their toughest game of the year.

Photos: Karin Lichtenauer

 

 

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