July 13, 2008

Raiders open season with a 41-8 win

The Racine Raiders had some frustrations to take out Saturday night after suffering a lopsided defeat to the Detroit Seminoles last week at Historic Horlick Field. Interstate 94 rivals, the Milwaukee Marauders, were unfortunate enough to be the Raiders' opponent.

The Raiders made a statement on the opening kickoff as Rick Hutchins, a high school and college track star, found an opening down the Marauders' sideline and returned the kick 82 yards for a touchdown. New kicker Ben Aguila added the point-after and the Raiders had a quick 7-0 lead.

On one of their first plays from scrimmage, Marauders' quarterback Virgil McNeil threw the ball right to Raiders' cornerback Eric Feest who returned the ball to the Marauders' six-yard line. Raiders' quarterback Shawn Kain found wide receiver Dorian Palmer in the corner of the endzone on the next play for a quick 14-0 lead after the converted extra point.

Both teams' offenses seemed to stall a bit, aided by excellent defense. Neither team would find the endzone again until the second quarter when Kain hit wide receiver Sam D'Alie on a one-yard TD pass. The extra point was good and the Raiders led 21-0 with 4:33 to play in the half.

Several miscues by the Marauders gave the Raiders the ball back and they capitalized on a 25-yard field goal by Aguilar just before the two-minute warning.

Frustration seemed to set in for the Marauders as they decided to run the ball four straight times, including on fourth and three in their own territory, which they didn't convert, giving the Raiders the ball in great field position. With no timeouts remaining, Kain forced a pass into the endzone with no time on the clock and it was intercepted by cornerback Mike Harrison to end the half with the Raiders leading 24-0.

The Raiders were first to strike in the second half when Kain found Palmer streaking down the sideline for a 33-yard TD. Aguilar's extra point landed on High Street and the Raiders led 31-0 with 8:45 to play in the third quarter.

The Raiders would score again on a Bryan Jennings, Jr. one-yard TD run with 3:15 left to play in the third. The run was set up by a screen pass from backup quarterback Ricky Irby Jr. to Jennings that went for 61 yards.

The Raiders would score again just a few minutes later off the left foot of Aguilar, who booted a 42-yard field goal just 30 seconds into the final quarter.

The Raiders' defense tried to hold onto to their second shutout of the season, but the Marauders were able to put together one drive that culminated in a McNeil four-yard TD pass to running back Demetrius Thompson in the back of the end zone with 8:10 left to play. The Marauders went for the two-point conversion and McNeil was able to run the ball in to convert, making the final score 41-8.

The game was taped by Time Warner Cable Sports channel 32. It will first air on Monday, July 14, at 7 p.m. Fans can also check the Time Warner Cable website for additional dates. The game will also be available on Wisconsin-on-Demand, Channel 1111, beginning on Wednesday, July 16.

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