The Traverse City (MI) Wolves (5-1) came to Horlick Field Saturday night as one of the top teams in the North American Football League. They left cold, wet and humiliated following a 43-6 drubbing by the Racine Raiders (8-1).
The Raiders shot themselves in the foot numerous times in the first ten minutes of the game, amassing numerous penalties and finally failing to score on a 13-play drive that ended in a missed Mike Morrison 40-yard field goal.
The emotion of a big game subsided, however, and the Raiders started to show the Wolves that they were outmatched. Bryan Jennings, Jr., started the scoring for Racine with a 13-yard touchdown run with 1:54 to play in the first quarter, giving the Raiders a 7-0 lead.
On the ensuing drive, linebacker James Cichon sacked Wolves quarterback Will Moran. Moran fumbled the ball and defensive back Phil Despopoulos picked it up and ran it 16 yards for a touchdown, giving Racine a 14-0 lead.
The Raiders would score just two minutes later on a 14-yard touchdown pass from Brett Hall to Sam D'Alie and Racine led 21-0.
The Raiders added a safety with 2:06 to play in the first half when a snap sailed over punter Pablo Bocardo's head and out of the back of the end zone for a safety, giving Racine a 23-0 lead.
The Raiders would tack on six more points on a 32-yard touchdown pass from Hall to wide receiver Dorian Palmer. Palmer received a personal foul for excessive celebration and Morrison's extra point attempt from 27 yards was no good but the Raiders would take a 29-0 lead into the half.
The defense held the Wolves to negative total yards in the first half.
There was no quit in the Wolves. They started the second half by stopping the Raiders' initial drive and scored on a ten-yard run by fullback D.J. Szymoniak. The snap on the extra point attempt sailed through the holder's hands. The Wolves cut the Raiders' lead to 29-6.
The Wolves looked like they might get some momentum when they had the Raiders at third-and-long on the ensuing drive. Hall then completed a short pass across the middle to D'Alie, who broke it for a 55-yard touchdown, giving the Raiders a 36-6 lead.
The Raiders would cap the scoring on an 85-yard interception return by defensive back Torie Ruffin, his fifth interception of the season.
The Raiders harassed the Wolves' quarterbacks all game, recording eight sacks and intercepted three passes, holding the Wolves to just 109 total yards. The Wolves averaged 290 yards per game coming into the game, including 210 yards rushing.
Hall overcame very sloppy playing conditions to complete 11 of 22 passes for 213 yards. D'Alie led the receivers with five catches for 117 yards and two touchdowns.
The Raiders have a bye next week. They play perennial powerhouse, the Dakota (SD) Lawdawgs (7-1) at Horlick Field on Saturday, Sept. 12, in another game with playoff implications. The game begins at 7 p.m. The Lawdawgs are three-time NAFL North Central Division champions and feature the top rushing attack in the league.