August 16, 2010

Showdown: Racine Threat, Raiders set to play this Saturday

It's rivalry week, Racine.

The city's two top semi-pro football teams will meet at Horlick Field Saturday night for bragging rights and for first-place atop their division in the Midstates Football League.

It's the first meeting between the Racine Raiders and the Racine Threat. The Raiders, who have been around for 57 years, will be the home team. The Threat, who play their home games at Ameche Field in Kenosha, expect a sizable crowd for the visitor's bleachers.

The Threat have eyed this game for several months. Defending MSFL champions, the Threat are looking to build on last Saturday's 50-25 win over the Kilbourn City Hawks. They're now 3-3 in league play, a game behind the Raiders who are 4-2. The Raiders blew out the Northern Illinois Cowboys last Saturday 51-10; they've scored 109 points in their last two games.

The 2010 season aside, the Threat have been looking forward to a game against the Raiders for several years. Racine's legendary team played games against several other city semi-pro teams, but never seemed to have a spot on the schedule for the up-and-coming Threat. But when the Raiders joined the MSFL, a showdown was imminent.

"We're looking forward to it," said Threat Owner Eric Olsen. "We know we can play with them."

The Threat prides itself for fielding a local team with players who almost all live in the city and graduated from local high schools.

"We're 97-98 percent from Racine," Olsen said. "I'm proud to say that."

While the Threat are technically the visitors Saturday, they'll enjoy one of their few true home games in recent seasons. With Horlick booked up by the Raiders and other local fields reluctant to put additional wear and tear on the grass, the Threat play their "home" games in south Kenosha. It's tough to turn out a big crowd down there, Olsen said.

That shouldn't be a problem Saturday night. The long-term forecast looks good for Saturday night and with a division title on the line, the Raiders and Threat should get fan support.

The Threat are led by running back Greg Sanders, by far the leading rusher in the MSFL. Sanders amassed 712 yards and 6 TDs on just 92 carries for a gaudy average of 7.7 yards per carry. That's more yards than any other team in the MSFL has so far this season. Torris Childs leads the Raiders' rushing attack with 379 yards and 6 TDs.

The Threat have struggled this year through the air. QB Ben Adrian is averaging about 100 yards per game. The Raiders are a little better at 145 yards per game through the air.

The difference so far this season between the two teams is defense. The Raiders have the MSFL's third-ranked defense giving up 97 points so far this season. The Threat are ranked 12th and have given up 167 points this year.

Kickoff Saturday is at 7pm at Horlick Field. Tickets are $7 for adults, $5 for seniors, $3 for students and veterans are free. Family tickets are available for $15.

Here's photos from a recent Racine Threat practice

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