Swarco Raiders dominate France’s Thonon Black Panthers in opening round of CEFL

The Swarco Raiders spoiled the debut of the Thonon Black Panthers in the Central European Football League tournament Saturday at Gernot Langes Stadium in Wattens, Austria, dominating them 41-7.

The Raiders exploded for four second quarter touchdowns and then cruised to the win.

Quarterback Sean Shelton threw five touchdown passes, three to Patrick Donahue while Mario Schneider and Fabian Abfalter caught one each. Running back Tobias Bonatti scored the lone rushing touchdown for the Raiders.

For Thonon, quarterback Clark Evans connected with Damien Di Cursi for the lone score.

Winners of back-to-back CEFL titles, the Raiders started tentatively, trading possessions with Thonon in the first quarter which ended 0-0.

Then Shelton and the Swarco offense stepped up their game as Shelton connected with Schneider to give the Raiders a 7-0 lead early in the second quarter.

Patrick Donahue returned a Thonon punt deep into Black Panthers territory and then on the next play hauled in a Shelton touchdown pass to extend the lead to 14-0.

The Black Panthers offense finally  kicked into gear with Evans marching the team down into Raiders territory but a miscue on the exchange led to a fumble and Swarco defensive lineman Maximillian Wild jumped on the ball, snuffing out the drive.

Shelton wasted no time, finding Donahue for another touchdown and suddenly the Raiders held a commanding 21-0 lead  still in the second quarter.

With the Thonon offense sputtering, the Austrian squad struck again as Donahue scored his third touchdown just before the half, extending the lead to 27-0.

The third quarter resembled the second with Swarco now in control. Bonatti found a seam off tackle and raced 12 yards into the end zone to pull the Raiders ahead, 34-0.

Swarco maintained control in the fourth with Shelton moving the offense down to Thonon’s 10 yard line and then finding Abfalter in the corner of the end zone for the final Swarco touchdown.

Late in the fourth, Evans called his own number outracing Raiders defenders all the way down to the 10 yard line and then on the next play found Di Cursi all alone in the end zone to get Thonon on the board, 41-7.

Next up for Swarco are the Milano Seamen on May 11 in Milan, Italy. Thonon won’t see action in the CEFL again until May 25 when the play host to the Seamen.

Check out the game highlights here.

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