Peach State Trip Begins Busy Week
The Richmond Raiders will hit the road looking to win back to back games for the first time in 2014 as they battle the Georgia Fire Sunday afternoon in Rome, GA. With the Raiders’ 55-33 win over Harrisburg last week, they pulled even with the Stampede in the loss column in the National Conference standings as they try to claw their way into playoff position. Meanwhile, the Fire are coming off a 39-21 loss to the Alabama Hammers which dropped them to 3-4 and into a three way tie for second place in the American Conference.
Quarterback Phil Konopka had five total touchdowns (4 pass, 1 rush) in the win over Harrisburg and was named PIFL Offensive Player of the Week. He led the team on a 21-0 run to start the second half and put Harrisburg in a hole they could not climb out of. Kenny Jones rushed for a season high three touchdowns and the Raiders intercepted E.J. Nemeth three times. For the second straight week, the Raiders set a season high in points, and the 33 allowed tied the fewest they’ve given up in a game this year.
The Fire also set a season standard by only giving up 39 points to the Hammers, but their offense scored a season low 21. Cecil Lester threw two interceptions, one of which was returned for a touchdown as part of a 19-0 run that gave Alabama all the breathing room they would need. Georgia committed a season high 14 penalties, three of which nullified touchdowns. They held the Hammers to just 150 total yards and allowed Darnell Kennedy to complete just 10 passes in 32 attempts, but went a combined 1 for 8 on third and fourth downs, missed two field goal attempts, and gave up six sacks including a safety.
This will be the first meeting between the Raiders and the expansion Fire, which is comprised of no less than 15 players with PIFL experience, mostly with the Albany Panthers. Lester, despite just playing in five games to date, is fourth in the league with 1339 passing yards and 26 touchdowns. His cousin Johnny Lester and John Harris provide two talented targets, as each is in the top 10 in receptions and yardage. Cecil threw for 15 touchdowns in two meetings with the Raiders last season and has 33 scores and just 5 interceptions in six career games against Richmond.
Whichever team can hang on to the ball will have a leg up in Sunday’s contest. Both teams are tied for last place in the league with a -8 turnover margin. In each Raiders win this season, they have won the turnover battle, but when they are negative on turnovers for a game, they are 0-5. Likewise, in every Fire loss, they have committed more turnovers than they forced. Georgia will likely have to strike from long distance, as their red zone offense ranks seventh in the PIFL while the Raiders boast the league’s best red zone defense, which was bolstered by a goal line stand against Harrisburg last week.
The Raiders’ next home game will be after a short turnaround on Friday, June 6 against the Lehigh Valley SteelHawks. Tickets start as low as $7, and are available on the Raiders’ website, www.RichmondRaidersProFootball.com, or by calling 1-855-GO-RAIDERS or 804-780-0430. Additionally, fans can contact the Richmond Coliseum box office or visit ticketmaster.com.
For more information contact:
(804) 780-4970 x139