Shelton, Swarco Raiders stay unbeaten, down Graz Giants

The Swarco Raiders offense too much for the Giants in Graz this weekend. The team from Innsbruck prevailed 31-14.

The Swarco Raiders (5-0) won the coin toss and started with the offense. Raiders quarterback Sean Shelton found receivers Fabian Abfalter, Sandro Platzgummer, Simon Unterrainer on an opening drive that took the Raiders close to the Graz end-zone. The Giants (3-2) stepped up and stopped the touchdown, but the Raiders got on the board with a Thomas Pichlmann field goal. He converted a 21-yard attempt and the Raiders took the lead 3-0.

On their first possession, the Giants started at their own 39 yard line. Graz quarterback Brandon Gorsuch put together a drive finding Alexander Sanz and Florian Bierbaumer again and again and the Giants drove to the Raider 1-yard line. Sanz then attempted three runs in a row for 2 yards, 3 yards and finally a yard to convert the touchdown and thus give the Graz Giants the lead. The extra point was converted by Mario Greil.

Photo: Florian Schellhorn

The defense on both sides iwas extremely strong. The Giants zeroed in on Raiders star Sandro Platzgummer and forced Shelton to find other targets. However the Raiders defense was keyed up. In the second quarter, Gorsuch threw a pass from the Raiders 4-yard line into the end zone, but Raiders defender Patrick Pilger grabbed his 3rd interception this season (2 CEFL, 1 AFL). The Raiders converted on the turnover with a score by Adrian Platzgummer. Big catches from Abfalter and Adrian Platzgummer as well as a Shelton scramble set up the score. Pichlmann converted and the Raiders led 10-7 at half-time.

After the break, the Giants started on offense. Gorsuch hit targets Florian Bierbaumer, Philipp Sommer, Matthias Kiegerl, Armando Ponce de Leon Mendoza before Sanz plunged in for his second touchdown. The extra point was converted by Greil and the Giants led 14-0. The Raiders needed just 90 seconds to regain the lead. An outstanding 58-yard pass from Shelton to Abfalter halfway across the field put the Raiders back in front. Pichlmann made it 17-14 at the end of the third.

The Raiders opened the final quarter with a 38-yard field goal attempt by Pichlmann, which was long enough, but unfortunately too far right. The Giants next drive stall at their own 32-yard line. The Raiders next drive leads to a touchdown that is finished off by Shelton and Tobias Bonatti for the touchdown. The extra point was good and it is now 24-14. The Raiders defense was on fire and stopped the Giants back in their own half. Starting from the midfield the Raiders next drive was finished off once again by Bonatti and then Shelton.

The Graz Giants tried to put more points on the scoreboard, but their drive ended when Raiders Markus Krause piceds off a Gorusch pass. With 15 seconds left on the clock, Shelton took a knee and ended the game.

Raiders head coach Shuan Fatah:

“This was the expected to be atough game, we lost here last year, and we are happier we have now won here. We were not at full strength here but it was enough and this is a good news for us. For the next week at the (Vienna) Vikings, we have to look to get the best squad on the field so we can play at a high level. “

Scoring Summary:

1st Quarter
FG # 9 Thomas Pichlmann for 21 yards
TD # 1 Alexander Sanz, EP # 11 Mario Greil

2nd Quarter
TD # 5 Adrian Platzgummer, EP # 9 Thomas Pichlmann

3rd Quarter
TD # 1 Alexander Sanz, EP # 11 Mario Greil
TD # 80 Fabian Abfalter, Pass for 58 yards, EP # 9 Thomas Pichlmann

4th Quarter
TD # 25 Tobias Bonatti, EP # 9 Thomas Pichlmann
TD # 12 Sean Shelton, EP # 9 Thomas Pichlmann


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