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03.06.2010 Swarco Raiders Tirol
SWARCO Raiders host Berlin Adler in EFL-semifinals
On Sunday, June 6 the SWARCO Raiders have the chance to get one step closer to their third straight Eurobowl title. In a neighborhood duell Austria versus Germany, the Tyroleans host the Berlin Adler in the champions league semifinals. Kickoff at Tivoli Stadium is 2 p.m. CET.
Raiders fans can follow the action live on www.raidersTV.at. The new live stream starts at 1:45 p.m. CET and includes four different camera angles, slow motion replays, a live-chat and stats.
“We will face the toughest test of the season. Berlin is a very talented team all over the board and they are a well-coached squad. On a scale from 1-10 I would give them a nine”, said SWARCO Raiders head coach Santos Carrillo. “I’m happy we can face this tough opponent at home. I’m sure our fans will have our back and will be a great 12th man”.
It’s the first ever meeting between the reigning and two-time Eurobowl champion SWARCO Raiders and the reigning German champion from Berlin. Then again, the Tyroleans face a multi World Bowl-winning coach for the second time in their recent Eurobowl history. In the 2009 Eurobowl final they played against former Oakland Raiders International Guest Coach Program participant Patrick Esume (then-head coach of Paris Flash). Now they face Shuan Fatah. The Adler head coach has won four World Bowls in NFL Europe. He also won six German championships as a player and a coach with Berlin.
Although he won many rings, Fatah won’t take the game in Innsbruck for granted: “We know who we’re facing – the European champion. We have a lot of respect for the SWARCO Raiders as a team, but also for their organization. It’s impressive what they have accomplished in the past few years”.
Only once in team history has Berlin made it past the Eurobowl semifinals. In 1991 they became the first German team to reach the final, only to lose 20-21 to the Amsterdam Crusaders in the Eurobowl. Last year Berlin got eliminated in the group stage.
This season Berlin is still unbeaten in Eurobowl competition. They beat the Collectpoint Prague Panthers 40-30 in their group opener, before defeating the Stockholm Mean Machines 35-9. In the quarterfinals they traveled to Porvoo (Finland) and beat last year’s semifinalist 47-16. In the German Football League the Adler have had much more problems. Although they’re unbeaten, they won their three regular season matchups by a combined seven points (27-24 at Schwäbisch Hall, 20-17 vs. Braunschweig; 27-26 at Dresden)
The SWARCO Raiders won all their games by a wide margin. In three of their last four games they scored 50 or more points. The offense is led by RBs Tory Cooper and Florian Grein. Cooper gained 606 yards on 67 carries and scored 6 touchdowns in AFL play. He also caught 9 balls for 144 yards and 2 touchdowns. In the Tyroleans’ 55-13 victory over the Valencia Firebats in the Eurobowl quarterfinals Cooper ran 14 times for 139 yards and 2 scores. Grein had his first start of the season two weeks ago at Salzburg and gained 177 yards on 17 carries. His 5 touchdowns in that contest were a personal record. He has a total of 39 rushes for 241 yards and 6 touchdowns in the AFL.
QB Leon Jackson III leads the AFL with a 67.9 completion percentage. He threw for 1,101 yards with 13 touchdowns and 5 interceptions. Against Valencia he completed 12 of 13 passes for 209 yards and 3 touchdowns. He has three reliable weapons in WRs Jakob Dieplinger, Philipp Heider and Andreas Pröller. Dieplinger caught 22 balls for 398 yards and 4 touchdowns in the AFL. Heider hauled in 12 balls for 154 yards and 4 touchdowns. Pröller has 11 catches for 177 yards and 3 touchdowns. He led his team with 6 caught balls for 101 yards and a score against Valencia.
The SWARCO Raiders defense allowed only 17.5 points per game in their six contests (AFL and EFL) and forced a total of 15 turnovers (6 fumble recoveries, 9 interceptions). Led by DL Mario Rinner (3), DE Michael Dawodu (1.5), DE Marquay Love (1.5), LB Florian Hueter (2), and LB Christoph Schilcher (3.5) they also sacked opposing quarterbacks 18 times.
Berlin relies on QB Kyle Callahan. He joined the Adler this offseason, after leading the Kiel Baltic Hurricanes to an 11-1 record and the German Bowl finals in 2009. This season he completed 48 of 78 passes for 714 yards with 7 touchdowns and one pick in the GFL. He also gained 176 yards on 32 carries. In Berlin’s last two Eurobowl games Callahan scored a total of 7 touchdowns (5 passing, 2 rushing).
RB Talib Wise leads the Adler rushing attack. The former Chicago Bears player has 48 rushes for 236 yards and 2 touchdowns in the GFL. Against Porvoo in the Eurobowl quarterfinals Wise caught a touchdown and also returned a kickoff 70 yards for a score. Berlin’s leading receiver is Hemaseh Heidary. He caught 14 balls for 216 yards and a touchdown in the German league. He also scored once against Porvoo.
Berlin’s defense is led by LB Patrick O’Neal, who has a total of 29 tackles in the GFL. The Adler also can rely on players with pro-experience. DB Oliver Flemming played in NFL Europe and LB Rich Scanlon played for three different NFL teams (Kansas City Chiefs, Tennessee Titans, New York Giants). Despite the big names on defense, the unit forced only one turnover in the GFL so far.