ELF: Raiders Tirol defeat Munich Ravens with late heroics

On a Sunday afternoon in Innsbruck, the Raiders Tirol got a nail-biting European League of Football home victory over the Munich Ravens, winning by a final score of 29-26.

The Raiders got the ball first and ended their drive with a missed field goal, but they immediately got possession again when Jonas Gacek intercepted a Chad Jeffries pass.  From there, running back Tobias Bonatti scored the game’s first touchdown with a 12 yard score, which would be the only points of the 1st quarter.

Munich found the end zone early in the second quarter on a quarterback sneak from Jeffries, but the Raiders later responded as newcomer quarterback N’Kosi Perry found Darion Chafin on a deep shot for the quarterback’s first touchdown with his new team.  The Raiders later had a chance to add more points right before halftime, but Perry was intercepted by Nico Leiderer.  The hosts carried a 13-7 lead into the break.

In the third quarter, the Ravens quickly took the lead, capping a long drive with a 6 yard touchdown pass from Jeffries to Marvin Rutsch.  The teams then traded field goals, leaving the Ravens up by 1 point at the beginning of the final frame.  The Raiders were deep in their own territory when Perry was dropped in the end zone for a safety to extend the Munich lead to 19-16.

Photo: Roland Johannes

After the Raiders defense got a stop, their offense started moving in the right direction and found the end zone on a 6 yard run from Bonatti to give them the lead with about 6 minutes left.  But Munich’s offense put together a great drive of their own, and scored on another quarterback sneak from Jeffries to put them up 26-22.

The Raiders got the ball with over 2 minutes left, needing a touchdown to win the game.  They marched down the field thanks to key connections from Perry to Chafin on a 3rd and 4th down.  The game came down to a 4th and 12 play on the Munich 13 yard line with 15 seconds left on the clock.  Perry took the snap and once again found Chafin over the middle, and the receiver scampered into the end zone to win the game for the home team.

N’Kosi Perry played admirably in his first game in Europe, as he went 19/33 for 248 yards and two touchdowns (both to Chafin), while Bonatti was a beast on the ground, rushing for 112 yards on 16 carries.

The Raiders will travel to Switzerland next week to face the Helvetic Mercenaries, while the Ravens have a big game against the Stuttgart Surge in Nuremberg.

A current student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Carter played football in high school and has been a lifelong avid football fan.