July 25, 2009

Racine Raiders stay undefeated with 17-0 victory

Raiders Rush for 232 Yards; Intercept Six Passes

The Racine Raiders (4-0, 2-0 NAFL) relied heavily on their opportunistic defense in a 17-0 win over the River City Rough Riders (0-5, 0-4 NAFL) Saturday afternoon in North American Football League (NAFL) action in West Salem.

The defense came down with six interceptions, including three inside the Raiders' 20-yard line, en route to the victory. They also recorded three sacks.

Linebacker Nate Harris (Carroll College) and safety Torie Ruffin (Concordia University) each picked off two passes while defensive back Philip Despopolous (Broken Bow HS) and linebacker Zach Pedersen (North Central College) each came down with one interception.

Meanwhile, linebacker Will Caldwell (Grand Valley State University) had 1-1/2 sacks,with Pedersen also recording a sack. Defensive lineman Brandon Rogers (Tennessee State University) also got in on the action with half a sack.

The defense held the Rough Riders to 94 total yards. River City has now been shutout in each of their last three games.

The Raiders, who were the top rushing team in the NAFL entering this week, rushed for 232 yards. Bryan Jennings, Jr. (Vermillion Community College), second in the league in rushing and tied for first in touchdowns scored, rushed for 152 yards on 18 carries, an 8.4 yard per carry average, and one touchdown, a 37-yard scamper with 11:09 to play in the first half that gave Racine a 10-0 lead.

The only other touchdown came less than a minute into the fourth quarter on a two-yard sneak by quarterback Stephen Jackson (Rochester Community College), which was setup by a 34-yard pass to wide receiver Charles Ownes (Eastern Illinois University).

The Raiders still struggled with their passing attack again Saturday. Virgil McNeil (Wisconsin), Ron Ricciardi (Florida State University), and Jackson all took snaps in the game.McNeil completed just 2 of 9 passes for 3 yards and was intercepted once. Jackson was 1-for-3 for 34 yards and Ricciardi went 1-for-4 for just 3 yards.

The Raiders return home next week to play the Gateway (MO) Soul (5-3, 4-2 AFL) of the Alliance Football League (AFL). The Soul are in the midst of a three game winning streak entering tonight's game and lead their division. They are ranked sixth in theAFL, a 23-team league.

The game starts at 7 p.m. at Historic Horlick Field (1648 North Memorial Drive, Racine). The Boy Scouts Drum & Bugle Corps will perform at halftime.

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