The Swarco Raiders and Graz Giants took care of business Saturday but in totally different ways and advanced to meet each other in Austrian Bowl XXXII. This is Graz’s first trip to the final in seven years where they will face a Swarco Raiders team making its seventh straight trip to Austria’s championship game.
Swarco downed the Ljubjlana Silverhawks 63-30 while the Giants edged the Vienna Vikings 7-3 in a thriller in Graz.
Swarco Raiders 63 – Ljubljana Silverhawks 30
The Swarco Raiders made no mistake Saturday as they scored 49 first half points in routing Solvenia’s Ljubljana Silverhawks in front of a crowd of almost 3,000 in Innsbruck.
Quarterback Sean Shelton completed 13 of 17 passes for 190 yards and three touchdowns while also running for 127 yards and another two touchdowns to lead the Raiders. Running back Ezri Ansah Acquah made his debut in the Raiders starting lineup and took full advantage carrying the ball 16 times for 147 yards and a touchdown. In fact, seven Raiders found the end zone in the first half. In addition to Shelton and Acquah, Adrian Platzgummer, Max Tollinger, Jermaine Guynn, Tobias Bonatti and Daniel Saurer all found the end zone.
The Raiders eased off in the second half as Shelton and Guynn added two more touchdowns.
Wide Receiver/kicker Clemens Erlsbacher kicked nine extra points for Swarco.
Silverhawks quarterback Anthony Gardner threw for 203 yards and two touchdowns and ran one in himself while running back Darion Hall escaped for a 67 yard third quarter touchdown for Ljubljana. Matic Tomse caught five passes for 125 yards and two touchdowns and Ales Zakzek kicked a field goal for the Silverhawks.
Graz Giants 7 – Vienna Vikings 3
In front of a delighted home crowd of 2,000 the Graz Giants stymied Vienna’s offense and then relied on the running of Matthias Kiegerl to eke out a 7-3 victory over the vaunted Vikings.
Kiegerl scored a touchdown in the second quarter for Graz and pounded out valuable yardage time and again when the Giants needed it as the Vienna defense kept Giants quarterback Christoph Gubisch in check. Gubisch still threw for 155 yards.
Maurice Wappl kicked the field goal for Vienna to account for all their scoring.
Vienna entered the game without their two quarterbacks as Alexander Thury was sick and his backup Bernhard Seikovits was injured so wide receiver Dominik Bundschuh stepped in. Although he gained 86 yards on the ground the passing game was not what it could be.
The last time these two teams met in the Austrian Bowl was in 2008 when Graz beat Swarco 31-21. In their last regular season meeting in 2016, Graz downed the Raiders 22-21.