by Christie Johnson
Christie Johnson, TV-Sportreporterin aus Kanada, die für 'The Score' und 'Stamps TV' über die Canadian Football League berichtet, veröffentlicht in der heurigen Saison Spielvorschauen und Nachberichte der Raiders auf Englisch.
The 2009 season opener features a rematch of last season's Austrian Bowl between the Swarco Raiders and Turek Graz Giants. It is a new era for the Swarco Raiders, playing their first game under new head coach Santos Carrillo, who was promoted to the position from defensive coordinator during the off-season. The theme for the Swarco Raiders as they kick-off the 2009 campaign is youth & new faces. The club welcomes three new imports to the squad, quarterback Jason Johnson (Arizona), wide receiver Matt Epperson (Hardin-Simmons), defensive back Alexander Hoad (Ottawa), who join 4th year returning veteran, defensive lineman Gonzalo Segovia (Eastern Illinois). The club also welcomes a handful of new coaches, including Carl 'Duke” Iverson (offensive coordinator), Menyada Watson (running backs), Brian Avery (defensive line).
The two teams have developed a bitter rivalry over the past few seasons. In the 2008 post-season, the Swarco Raiders defeated the Turek Graz Giants in an epic, double overtime battle 56-49 in the Eurobowl Semi-Final on their way to winning the 2008 Eurobowl Championship. Yet on the national front, the Turek Graz Giants conquered the Swarco Raiders in the Austrian Bowl Final 31-21 for their own bragging rights.
When the SWARCO RAIDERS have the ball:
The Swarco Raiders offense will feature a balanced attack, led by Eurobowl MVP running back Florian Grein, former NFL/CFL quarterback Jason Johnson, and a group of big play receivers. Last season in the Italian Football League, Johnson completed 61.6% of his passes while throwing for 3,052 yards and 45 touchdowns in just 10 games, compiling a league leading 184.3 quarterback rating. Joining him this year in Innsbruck, is his top-target & teammate from Italy's Catania Elephants, Texas-native WR Matt Epperson. Epperson caught 66 passes for 1183 yards (averaging 147 yards per game) and 15 TDs last year to lead the league. Rounding out the receiving corps will be a pair of Austrian national-team players, explosive Jakob Dieplinger and 6'6” Andreas Pröller.
Graz has a well-coached defense that limited opponents last season. While they will miss defensive end Sam Carter, they are led by linebacker Gregor Kodella and import defensive lineman James Canetti.
When the TUREK GRAZ GIANTS have the ball:
Leading the Turek Graz Giants' attack is mobile quarterback and Austrian league veteran, Chris Gunn, and running back Mo Muheize. Their multi-faceted offense can score a number of different ways, and the Swarco Raiders' defense will need to be fundamentally sound and apply pressure to limit their success.
Anchoring the Swarco Raiders' defense is emotional leader Mario Rinner and import defensive tackle Gonzalo Segovia. This aggressive unit will look to capitalize on their youth and speed to swarm to the football. Florian Hueter has had an excellent pre-season and will look to plug holes as he leads the linebacking corps. Patrolling the secondary will be import defensive back Alexander Hoad, who joins veterans Markus Krause, Manuel Eisenführer, and athletic safety Immo Söllner.
DID YOU KNOW?
Graz' most famous citizen is current California 'GOVERNATOR” and movie star Arnold Schwarzenegger.