Swarco Raiders Hold Off Helsinki Roosters in Battle4Tirol Matchup

Austria’s Swarco Raiders remain undefeated after their second 2016 Battle4Tirol match.

Tyrol remains firmly in the hands of the Swarco Raiders. In this season’s second duel of Battle4Tirol, the Raiders celebrated a second win, this time over the Finnish champions Helsinki Roosters 37-21 (13-0 0, 14-7, 7-14, 3).

The 2,850 spectators braved the cold of Innsbruck’s Tivoli Stadium and were rewarded with an entertaining game. Raiders WR Kyle Callahan (6 receptions, 202 yards, and 2 TDs) and Roosters WR Bernard Luster (5 receptions, 133 yards and 1 TD) were the games’ MVPs.

“All in all I am satisfied with the victory and our appearance,” said Swarco Raiders head coach Shuan Fatah, who spent the match in the coaches’ box due to illness. “It was a good test. In the third quarter, the Finns came out strong. We had to be careful that the game did not turn in their favor. Fortunately, we responded well. This makes me feel positive about the tasks ahead. Because not every game will be easy.”

The Raiders were forced to punt on their opening drive, and, after stopping the Roosters on 4th down at the Raiders 32-yard line put together a drive that featured mostly RB Milton Knox Jr. and was capped off by a Knox 4-yard touchdown run. It was 7-0 Raiders with 6:32 left in the first quarter.

The Roosters were forced to punt after a few decent rushes by RB Jaycen Taylor. This gave Raiders QB Sean Shelton an opportunity to assert himself as he hit WR Julian Ebner for 11 yards then WR Daniel Saurer for a 10-yarder. This was followed by a short pass to RB Sandro Platzgummer who ran up the sideline for a 65 yard touchdown. After the failed extra point was 66 seconds left in the first quarter, 13-0 Raiders.

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Roosters WR/KR Benard Luster returned the following kickoff to the 34-yard line of Roosters. A sack by Raiders DL Maxmillian Wild on Roosters QB Micah Brown ended the guests drive and the Roosters were forced to punt once again. The Swarco Raiders offense took over at their own 26-yard line where Shelton went back to work finding Ebner at his own 45-yard line. Knox then rumbled for a 10 yards, before Shelton found WR Kyle Callahan for a 45-yard touchdown pass. 20-0 Raiders.

After another Helsinki punt, a Sean Shelton pass was picked off by Roosters DB Pekka Rantala at the Helsinki goal line and returned the ball to the Rooster 9. Now the Roosters put a drive together. QB Brown hit WR Luster in stride for 59-yard completion. Then Rooster RB Alexander Kuronen’s rush of 13 yards set up a Micah Brown 12-yard touchdown run. The PAT with 25 seconds before halftime shortened the Raiders lead to 7-20.

After the a great kickoff return, the Raiders caught the Roosters on their heels when Shelton launched a 60-yard grenade and found Callahan for a touchdown. The Raiders took a 27-7 into halftime.

The Roosters came out of the halftime break hot. Starting at their own 25-yard line, QB Brown hit WR Kimi Linnainmaa for 9 yards. After a 15 yard penalty on the Raiders, Brown found Luster for 25 yards. A little later, Rooster RB Jaycen Taylor scored a 10-yard TD run.

A few possessions later Brown found Luster on deep post for a 31-yard touchdown pass. After the PAT the Swarco Raiders lead had shrunk to 27-21 with 2:51 minutes to play in the third quarter.

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The Raiders began their next series at their own 13-yard line. From here it was all Shelton, Callahan, and Knox. A 12-yard pass to Knox brought a first down. Then Shelton hit Callahan 26 yards and Knox for 7 yards. Then a 33-yard pass to Callahan. Knox ended the drive with a 5-yard touchdown run. A little breathing room for the Raiders now leading 34-21.

The teams both trading possessions in the final quarter without much progress. The only time Roosters threatening in the fourth quarter was when Brown led his team to the Raider 33-yard line before an incomplete pass on fourth down ended the drive. The Raiders tacked on FG as time expired leaving us with the 34-21 final score.

Individual performances

Statistically, Raiders QB Sean Shelton led the way going 21 of 39 for 413 yards and 3 TD and an INT. WR Julian Ebner caught 6 balls for 82 yards. RB Milton Knox had 14 rushes for 135 yards and 2 touchdowns and caught 5 balls for 46 yards. DL Maximilian Wild had two Sacks. LB Nic Haritonenko also contributed a sack.

John McKeon
John McKeon is a former professional and collegiate American Football player and coach now living and working in New York. His goal is to spread news, information, and opinion on the global growth of the sport he loves.
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