The Swarco Raiders staged a second half rally to defeat the Dacia Vienna Vikings 42-34 Saturday in St. Polten to capture Austrian Bowl XXXV and finish off a perfect, undefeated season.
The Raiders fell behind early and trailed the entire first half. It wasn’t until late in the third quarter that Swarco pulled even and then took the lead for the first time.
Quarterback Sean Shelton completed 14 of 22 passes for 245 yards and three touchdowns while rushing for another one. His leading target, Patrick Donahue, had 105 yards receiving scoring two touchdowns while Adrian Platzgummer had three receptions for 58 yards. Running back Sandro Platzgummer had eight carries for 85 yards and a touchdown while teammate Tobias Bonatti had eight for 84.
For Vienna, Austin Herink threw for 249 yards and four touchdowns with Yannick Mayr catching five for 114 yards and two touchdowns and Maurice Wappl five for 89 and two touchdowns. Running back Andrew Spencer carried the ball 19 times for 96 yards while Herink had nine carries for 59 yards.
Vienna took charge of the game early, jumping out to a 21-7 lead early in the second quarter on touchdowns from Mayr and Wappl with linebacker Lucky Ogbevoen scooping up a fumble by Shelton at the Vikings 20 and taking it 80 yards for a touchdown. In between, Swarco had also capitalized on fumble as Raiders defensive lineman Stanley Aronokhale pounced on a fumble at the Vikings seven yard line. Three plays later, Shelton hit Abfalter for the touchdown.
With Dacia Vienna leading 21-7, Sandro Platzgummer delivered one of his patented explosions, returning a Vikings kickoff 80 yards for a touchdown, pulling Swarco closer, 21-14.
Herink capped a 79 yard drive lofting a 27 yard touchdown pass to Mayr in the end zone to extend the lead again to two scores, 28-14.
With a minute to go in the first half, Shelton found a streaking Donahue wide open hitting him with a 44 yard touchdown strike and Swarco again moved closer, 28-21.
Swarco set the tone early in the third quarter as Shelton marched the team to the Vikings four yard line and took it in himself to tie the game up 28-28.
For the first time in the game, a Vikings drive was stopped on a fourth down, and Swarco took over at their own 30. Then Platzgummer did what he does best. Explode. He took the handoff from Shelton, avoided one tackle and raced all the way untouched to give Swarco the lead for the first time in the game, 35-28 with five minutes left in the third.
Vienna’s offense, which seemed to be able to score at will in the first half, was completely stymied in the second. After three straight scoreless drives, the last one which did not get past the Vikings 10 own yard line, the Raiders struck again as Shelton capped another drive with a 22 yard touchdown pass to Donahue, his second of the night, and the lead ballooned to 42-28 with just over two minutes left in the game.
Herink finally kicked the offense into gear, marching 85 yards in only five plays, finishing with a 15 yard touchdown pass to Wappl to reduce the lead to 42-34 with a minute left.
Vienna needed the onside kick to work, but it didn’t and Shelton simply kneed out the game and the Raiders started celebrating.
With the win, Swarco has now win four of the last five Austrian championships and tied with Vienna for the most titles since 2011 with four apiece.