Swarco Tirol Raiders trample injury riddled Graz Giants in Austrian Football League showdown

The Swarco Raiders took a while to get untracked but when they did they were impressive in defeating the Projekt Spielberg Graz Giants 41-14 at Tirol Stadium in Innsbruck, Austria.

Both teams struggled early on, a plethora of flags and penalties derailed the game, but it was the Raiders who scored first through Daniel Saurer. There were multiple injuries on both sides, Graz’s quarterback Brandon Gorsuch had to leave the game due to a shoulder injury, while Tirol’s Gregor Hofmann’s day ended prematurely as well.

The guests from Graz were severely hampered by Gorsuch’s exit and had only damage control on their minds from that point on.

Giants head coach Martin Kocian had this to say about the unfortunate situation:

“First of all, thanks to the Swarco Tirol Raiders for playing a fair game. We came here to fight for the victory, but then we lost our starting center and quarterback within the first two drives. This was basically the end for our offense and our goal to give the Raiders as little time of possession as possible. We just didn’t accomplish this today.”

Photo: Arpad Kunzfeld

Tirol’s head coach Shuan Fatah knew how what the loss of Gorsuch meant for his opponent:

“Losing your starting quarterback is the worst case scenario for any team, we wouldn’t be able to compensate this neither. We know this was going to be one of the top games this season, and the Giants’ injuries were a lucky break for us. We are so happy to get this victory. Three wins, no losses and we know that we can only face the Giants once more in the Austrian Bowl. That makes this win so important.”

The Projekt Spielberg Graz Giants were able to keep up until the end of the first quarter, even tying the game at 7-7 with a touchdown by Alexander Sanz. After that, the absence of Gorsuch was very apparent, as backup quarterback Philipp Sommer entered the game. No more touchdowns were scored by Graz in the first half, whereas Tirol put points on the board with Sauer’s second touchdown and two field goals by Thomas Pichlmann from 48 and 45 yards, respectively.

Emotions piled up in the second half as the referees had to eject two players from the game, Giants’ Tony Godbolt and Raiders’ Patrick Donahue. Tirol scored anyway, Adrian Platzgummer crossed the goalline on two consecutive drives, while Pichlmann completed both extra points.

Going in the last quarter with a 37-4 score, Sommer was able to reach the end zone with a long 70 yard rushing touchdown. The answer followed immediately with a 45 yard pass to Daniel Saurer, who got his team just in front of the end zone. Sean Shelton then scored the touchdown, giving the Raiders the 41-14 win.

Photos: Arpad Kunzfeld, book-and-picture.at and on Facebook at Book-And-Picture

Translated by Leon Häfner from Football-Aktuell.de

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