Raiders sink Seamen hopes

Photo: Bernhard Hörtnagl www.fhb-photo.com

Milan Seamen have staged an excellent game day on the Vigorelli stadium when they hosted Swarco Raiders Tirol today. The home team was a step behind when the first half ended, and won the last quarter, but the Raiders were merciless in the third. Running back Sandro Platzgummer scored 4 touchdowns, connecting once with QB Sean Shelton, who scored 3 more.

Results

Team1234TOutcome
Milan Seamen780823Loss
Swarco Raiders Tirol16727050Win

Raiders’ offense tested the waters first. Sandro gets a short pass and turns it into a 26 yard gain. The ball stops at the 6 yards line but the Raiders can’t get in. Fabian Abfalter kicks the field goal for the first points 0-3.

A long kickoff return by Xavier Mitchell gets the Seamen in a great position to score. Their QB Luke Zahradka rushes for 15 yards and the ball is 1 yard away from the goal. On a reverse play, WR Ismail Lamamra tosses the ball back to Zahradka near the right sideline and he falls in for 7-3.

After the squib kick by the home team, the Raiders are near midfield. On the very first play, Sandro gets a screen pass, breaks a tackle and runs straight to the end zone for a 53 yard score, 7-10.

Seamen offense sputters and they punt. Visitors get it back and Shelton drops a rainbow right in the basket of Abfalter who’s chased by two defenders. He keeps his stride and runs it 70 yards for a score, 7-16.

Zahradka opts for long passes in the next series, all of them incomplete. When Raiders get it back, their offensive line parts the sea of blue in front and Sandro meanders through for another 47 yard touchdown, 7-23.

Again Seamen go through the air, but Raiders’ secondary bucks all their attempts. Shelton dials up Abfalter and Tobias Bonatti’s numbers for first downs but they have to punt.

Home team has their backs pinned to their goal line but Zahradka lobs a deep pass to Filippo Fiammenghi in the last minute of first half. Danilo Bonaparte snags a shovel pass and takes it 25 yards closer. Zahradka zips it to Mitchell in the end zone for a 26 yard touchdown. On the 2 point attempt Mitchell takes the snap and puts it in the corner where only Stefano Di Tunisi can get it and the score at half time is 15-23.

Italians are not as efficient in the third period and have to punt from the end zone. Ball lands on their 36 yards and the Raiders jump at the opportunity. Daniel Saurer picks up a pass for first down and Sandro takes it the distance for a 23 yard touchdown, 15-30.

The following kickoff is received by Bonaparte who gets stripped of the ball and Raiders’ Thomas Kugler falls on it at the Seamen 9 yard line. One play later Shelton locates Adrian Platzgummer in the end zone for 15-37.

After a three and out, Seamen punt. Raiders go one step forward, two steps back, hobbled by penalties. Finally, Sandro gets the ball and breaks tackles to take it 37 yards for the touchdown, 15-43.

Seamen offense can’t start their engine yet and they punt. Visitors get the ball at the 50 yard line and Adrian follows his brother’s lead from there. Shelton sees him open and they connect for 15-50.

The home team is close to another 3 and out, when Zahradka drops a desperation pass under pressure and Mitchell corrals it. Bonaparte takes off on a wheel route and Zahradka hits him in the end zone for 23-50.

Raiders keep the clock going with a selection of runs and screen passes. Shelton surprises the defense with 36 yard rocket to Lukas Fink. He screens again to Jakob Thöni, but the pass goes behind him and Seamen Nicolas Principi pounces on a fumble.

Zahradka threads the needle to Mitchell, and then rockets a hail Mary-like pass toward the end zone. Lamamra comes up with it at the Raiders’ 4 yard line, only to drop the next pass which gets scooped up by Vincent Müller for an interception.

The Austrians take the game clock to all zeros and the scoreboard shows the final 23-50. Xenith helmet which gets awarded to all Championship games MVPs is well deserved by Sandro Platzgummer. Aside from scoring 4 touchdowns, he’s just fun to watch on the field.

This is the Raiders’ second win in the Western Conference which promotes them to Xentih CEFL Bowl XIV. Milan Seamen will play for the second spot in the conference when they travel to meet Thonon Black Panthers.

Also in two weeks, Eastern Conference will get its champion. Top contenders are Calanda Broncos, after their second win today against Istanbul Koç Rams. Their only obstacle on the road to the finals are Kragujevac Wild Boars who lost to Wrocław Panthers earlier today.