Swarco Raiders New Austrian Champions!

The Swarco Raiders left no doubt Saturday night as they captured their first Austrian Bowl title since 2011 by blanking the defending champions Vienna Vikings 38-0 in front of a terrific crowd at Klagenfurt Wörthersee Stadium.

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This was the fourth Austrian championship for the Raiders who also won in 2004 and 2006.

Swarco running backs Sandro Platzgummer  and Fabien-Andre Gärtner were outstanding in the win especially in the second half as the Vikings had no answer for them. Gärtner scored three straight touchdowns in the second half. Raider quarterback Sean Shelton also had a brilliant game completing 18 of 26 passes and one touchdown. But he also rushed for 70 yards and timed his runs perfectly, throwing the Vikings defense into confusion. The Raiders racked up 375 yards of offense while giving up only 97. They were so dominant that the Vikings only had a total of four first downs the entire game.

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Julian Ebner – Game MVP

The Raiders receiving corps, led by Julian Ebner had 190 yards in receptions.

Swarco opened the game with a six minute drive capping it with a Shelton to Ebner 13 yard touchdown pass. The Vikings offense, which is powered by the league’s leading rusher in Islaam Amadu, could not get untracked. Amadu was held to 13 yards rushing on the day, an indication of how well Swarco’s defense was playing.

Despite the Raiders statistical superiority in the first half, they were only up 10-0 at the break. But the second half opened with the Vikings having to punt almost immediately and Shelton and the Raiders offense went to work mounting a seven play, 67 yard drive capped by a Sandro Platzgummer 13 yard touchdown to extend the lead to 17-0.

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Sandro Platzgummer and Sean Shelton

Then, Vikings quarterback Alexander Thury was picked off and although Swarco did not capitalize they ended the day for the Vienna starter and on the next series Bernhard Seikovits stepped in at quarterback. But he fared no better being intercepted at the Vikings 14 yard line setting up the first of three Gärtner touchdowns.

With the score now 24-0, Vienna was reeling. They could not move the ball past their own 20 yard line and on Swarco’s next series, the Raiders marched down the field with seeming ease with Gärtner  again finishing it off with another touchdown.

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Swarco’s defense was relentless

The Raiders were now up 31-0 and forced Vienna into another three and out. Shelton wasted no time guiding the Raiders to their fourth touchdown of the half with Gärtner scoring with 30 seconds on the clock handing the Vikings a 38-0 defeat, their worst ever performance in the championship game.

Julian Ebner was named the MVP of the championship game after hauling in 10 passes for 100 yards and a touchdown. He was a never-ending threat in the Vikings secondary.

Raiders head coach Shuan Fatah:

“It was a great year for everyone involved and I am very proud of my team. It was a very emotional year for me. My father passed away in November and I wanted to win a bowl for him. Thank you to everyone and to the Vikings for pushing us all year. Today was just not their day and sometimes that happens.”

Swarco’s defense kept the Vikings offense off the field most of the game. Raiders defender Florian Hueter:

“Our defense was on fire and allowed no points. I am very proud of this team. There is nothing more beautiful than bringing back the title to Innsbruck.”

Austrian Bowl XXXI highlights:

Feature image photo: Herbert Kratky








Roger Kelly is an editor and a writer for AFI. A former PR Director the B.C. Lions of the Canadian Football League for 7 years, he now lives in Sweden writing about and scouting American Football throughout the world.