Tirol Raiders clamp down on high flying Barcelona Dragons for key win

By Michael Voitek

The Barcelona Dragons and Raiders Tirol battled in the mountains last Saturday in Innsbruck, Austria in a European League of Football matchup of undefeated teams with the home team coming away with a solid 29-13 victory.

The game, which was supposed to feature the return of ex-NFL player Sandro Platzgummer from injury, instead showcased a different running back, Tobias Bonnati. Bonatti ran all over the Dragons defense to the tune of 88 yards and two touchdowns while Platzgummer was no slouch himself averaging 11.6 yards a carry on his five touches. He showed that his explosiveness had not vanished with injury.

However, there was one player that stood out amongst all the other great players in Innsbruck last Saturday – Raiders wide receiver Jarvis McClam. The former Seton Hill product proved again why he is one of the most feared players in the league. He hauled in eight passes for 169 yards and two touchdowns. But it was the way he did it that was amazing. In one scamper to the end zone, he broke two tackles, then made a Dragons defender completely miss him on the way to his first score. Later in the game, he turned on the jets and blew past everyone for another touchdown.

McClam has the speed to leave everyone in the dust and the shiftiness to make anyone miss.  It helps that his college quarterback, Christian Strong, is also his quarterback in the European League of Football. Their chemistry is undeniable.

Raiders WR Jarvis McClam #5

The game was never truly in doubt for the Raiders, but the Dragons had a lot of fight in them, clawing back each time they were down. The ELF passing yards leader coming into week 2, (377 yds/g) Barcelona signal caller Conor Miller, was under duress for most of this game thanks to the Raiders defense led by linebacker Nicolas Gustav. Even on one of his two touchdown passes, Miller was fading away from pressure and was forced to toss it up. Still, he threw for 251 yards and two scores. However, the Barcelona run game was neutralized as the Raiders tough front seven held them to a mere 35 yards on the ground. As a result, Barcelona found themselves trailing most of the game. The Raiders took a commanding 26-6 lead into the fourth quarter, and it was essentially over from there.

This Raiders team looks like it will be a tough matchup for anyone in this league considering their talent all over the field. The Dragons also have talent, but they may need a boost in the running game. Wins become difficult when all the weight is put on the quarterback’s shoulders, even with a quarterback as good as Miller. These teams will match up again in week 7, and that will be a must watch game.

Photos: Angelo Sarabia & Joe Schmid

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