Austria’s Swarco Raiders Down NCAA Div. 3 Elmhurst Bluejays

More than 5,000 fans packed Tivoli Stadium in Innsbruck to watch the reigning Austrian champion the Swarco Raiders Tirol defeat the Div. 3 Elmhurst Bluejays 24-10 on Saturday as the final game in the Raider’s Battle4Tirol series.
Swarco took an early 10-0 lead and never looked back, keeping the college team’s offense in check throughout most of the game.
Swarco Raiders head coach Shuan Fatah was very happy with the game:
“That was a great experience for everyone on our team. We wanted to show that football in Europe has progressed and we wanted to offer our loyal fans something special. I think both teams succeeded today in entertaining the crowd.”
Raiders receiver Clemens Erlsbacher and Elmhurst running back Danny Bourgault were the co MVPs. Erlsbacher who doubles as the Swarco kicker scored 12 of the Raiders 24 points catching four passes for 79 yards and a touchdowns and also kicking a field goal and three PATs.
Swarco quarterback Sean Shelton completed 17 of 24 passes for 201 yards and touchdowns while carrying the ball seven times for 41 yards and another touchdown.
Wide receiver Kyle Callahan caught six balls for 84 yards. Defensive back Dijon Washington and defensive back Martin Shield each had an interception while defensive lineman Korbinian Hoffmann, linebacker Christoph Schilcher and defensive lineman Jermaine Guynn recorded a sack apiece. Guynn was a problem for the Bluejays all game forcing and recovering a fumble.
According to Elmhurst Bluejays head coach Ron Planz, the game was part of an unforgettable experience for his team. It comes at the midpoint of a tour of Switzerland and Austria with Global Football.:
“It was a great game, a unique atmosphere and a journey that none of us will ever forget. We knew that a serious opponent would await us here and the Raiders were just that.”

The game did not start off well for Elmhurst. After the Bluejays had been forced to punt away the opening possession by a tough home defense, the hosts methodically worked their way downfield. Wide receiver Adrian Platzgummer reeled in a seven yard touchdown pass from Shelton.  Erlsbacher added the extra point giving the Raiders a 7-0 lead with 5:03 to play in the first quarter.

Bluejays quarterback Orlando Hernandez was intercepted on the very next series by Washington and after gains by Sandro Platzgummer and Christian Willi, a 49-yard Erlsbacher field goal 33 seconds before the end of the first quarter earned the Raiders a 10-0 lead.

Austria - Swarco-Elmhurst - action.2

After a 53-yard Brett Bayer field goal attempt came up short, the Bluejays got on the board with a second quarter safety when running back Milton Knox was held in his own end zone. Elmhurst produced two interceptions, but was unable to turn either into points and trailed 10-2 at halftime.

The Raiders put together an impressive drive, starting at their own seven yard line, to score and increase the advantage to 15 points. Knox started with an 11 yard run, Shelton ran 8 yards, and a short pass to Willi brought a first down at the 32-yard line. A pass to Knox and two rushes by the Tyrolean back brought took the ball to the Elmhurst 46 yard line and from there, Shelton found a small gap, escaped a tackle and sprinted 45 yards to the end zone. The reliable Erlsbacher gave the Raiders a 17-2 lead with 3:39 remaining in the third quarter.

Working from their own 9-yard line, the Bluejays fought their way back into the contest. Three runs by Bourgault ate up 40 yards, then when faced with a crucial fourth down, Elmhurst went for broke. Garrett Claxon caught a 47-yard touchdown-pass from Hernandez, who then threw a two-point conversion pass to Connor Brewer, reducing the deficit to a touchdown with 7:02 to play.

Knox returned the resulting kickoff up to the Tyrolean 33-yard line, then with the ball in his hands again left several opponents in his wake and raced to the Elmhurst 29-yard line. After a quick 14-yard connection from Shelton to Kyle Callahan, Erlsbacher came up with the ball in heavy coverage for a 15-yard touchdown reception and split the uprights to earn a 24-10 unassailable lead.

The win improves the Raiders record on the year to 11-1 including the Austrian league, Battle4Tirol and the Big6 tournament. For the Bluejays, the game was a part of a trip through Austria and Switzerland.

Source: Mike Preston, Global Football/Swarco Raiders

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