Benedictine Ravens fly past Swarco Raiders in Austria

Benedictine College recovers from a 13-point deficit to beat Swarco Raiders in Austria

Benedictine College produced an impressive second half comeback to rally from a 13-point third quarter deficit to beat European powerhouse the Swarco Innsbruck Raiders 31-29 in Austria.

After a scoreless first quarter, the Ravens trailed 7-0 after Raiders quarterback Sean Shelton ran 4 yards for a touchdown and Thomas Pichlmann tagged on the extra point before increasing the hosts’ lead to 10-0 with a 28-yard field goal. Benedictine College replied as Charles Nihart found the end zone from a yard out and a Sam Vitulli PAT reduced the deficit to three points. Pichlmann split the uprights again, this time from 27 yards out, to put the Raiders 13-7 ahead at halftime.

Swarco looked to be heading towards victory when Shelton hit Sandro Platzgummer for a 15-yard touchdown and the reliable Pichlmann tagged on the extra point and the Austrians led 20-7 in the third quarter. Another Nihart rush, this time from 15 yards out and a Vitulli conversion pulled the Ravens back into contention then Nihart’s third rushing score of the day tied the game at 20-20.

Logan Harris put the visitors ahead for the first time with a 15-yard reception from Shaefer Schuetz, who then connected with Zach Renfro for a two-point conversion and a 28-20 lead. The Raiders pulled to within a point as Tobias Bonatti scored on the ground from two yards out and Pichlmann was true with the PAT. The decisive score came in favor of the visiting Ravens as kicker Vitulli nailed a dramatic 38-yard field goal with only seconds remaining for the narrow win.

Quotes of the game:

Larry Wilcox, head coach Benedictine Ravens:

“It was a great victory for our team, but it was a victory for both teams. I look forward to our players and have great respect for the Swarco Raiders; their organization, the quality of their concept, the quality of the coaching staff, the performance of the players and I have a special recognition for Sean (Shelton), which I have known for a few years now. It was sensational here and it (the victory) makes it a little easier to get home.”

Shuan Fatah, head coach Swarco Raiders Tirol:

“We spent a long time preparing for this game and thought we could take this victory at home. We knew they (Bendectine College) were very strong, the Ravens. And then we unfortunately had two turnovers in the second half. They have made the difference. They did well. But I am, of course, incredibly proud of the team that we have presented, and we played with maturity; It was fun, the guys really did it have fun, everyone felt like it and it was nice to see. Besides, the fans were incredible. I’ve been here seven years, but that was one of the loudest games we had. A super football event.”

John McKeon is a former professional and collegiate American Football player and coach now living and working in New York. His goal is to spread news, information, and opinion on the global growth of the sport he loves.