Richmond Raiders’ Comeback Falls Short

Freedom Hold On For 52-42 Win

The Trenton Freedom scored a touchdown on fourth and goal in the final minute, thwarting the Raiders’ comeback attempt en route to sweeping the season series with a 52-42 win in Richmond Saturday night. The Raiders trailed by 17 with less than three minutes to play, when Phil Konopka scored on a two yard keeper. Scooby Bryant recovered the ensuing onside kick, and on the next play Konopka threw a 30 yard dart to Derrick Hector to close the deficit to just three points with 1:26 to play.

The second onside kick attempt was unsuccessful, but even though Trenton had the ball on the Raiders’ six yard line, the game was still far from over. Three Melik Brown runs netted just three yards, and the Freedom were faced with a decision on fourth and goal from the three yard line. They kept the offense on the field, and tight end Lavon McCoy slipped into the open to haul in Warren Smith’s fifth touchdown pass, and the lead was back up to 10. With 52 seconds left, a rally was not out of the question until a couple of incompletions and a sack of Konopka ensured the Raiders would not threaten again.

The teams traded scores during the first half, with each squad getting a field goal, two touchdowns, and an uno to tie the score at 18. Kevin Allen picked off Smith, but the Raiders could only manage a field goal, and the Freedom responded with a seven play touchdown drive capped off by Brown’s two yard run with 9 seconds left, which put the Freedom up 24-21 at halftime.

The Raiders squandered early opportunities in the third quarter, as Konopka fumbled on the first play and threw an interception on the team’s second possession. His 25 yard strike to Bryant was the lone offensive highlight until the late rally. The Raiders missed a field goal and turned the ball over on downs as the offensive struggles continued into the fourth quarter. Meanwhile, the Freedom offense finished strong. Smith threw touchdowns on three straight attempts to close the game in leading Trenton to 21 fourth quarter points.

The Raiders’ Derrick Hector led all receivers with 113 yards, including a 30 yard touchdown and receptions of 39 and 36 yards to set the Raiders up inside the Freedom 5 yard line. Daron Clark had a 50 yard kickoff return deep into Freedom territory, leading to the first of Kenny Jones’ two touchdown runs. Jones has rushed for two scores in each of the last three games. Konopka finished with 18 completions in 35 attempts. Smith was 11 for 14 in the second half and had 299 yards.

The Raiders finish their two game homestand next week against the Harrisburg Stampede on Military Appreciation Night. Military personnel can get tickets for just $5 with their military ID. Additional ticket specials are available for all fans, and the first 750 people through the doors will get a free mini football courtesy of Richmond International Airport. 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 Ford Box Office at the Richmond Coliseum or visit ticketmaster.com.

 

For more information contact:
Tim Hurley
(804) 780-4970 x139
(804) 938-8313
thurley@richmondraidersprofootball.com