Richmond Raiders Down SteelHawks, Advance to Championship Game

Defense makes several stops early and a big play late as Raiders defeat SteelHawks, 44-40

(July 1, 2013) RoShawn Marshall made a touchdown saving tackle on the last play of the game to preserve the Raiders’ 44-40 victory over the Lehigh Valley SteelHawks and set up a return trip to the PIFL Championship Game.

Warren Smith threw a 24 yard touchdown to a diving Hakeem Moore with 30 seconds left to put the Raiders up by three. The lead was extended to four when T.C. Stevens made his second uno of the game on the kickoff, forcing the SteelHawks to go for a touchdown. Adam Bednarik completed a pass to Tom Gilson, who stayed inbounds trying to gain yardage as the clock ticked down to 0:00. The Raiders were flagged for holding on the play, though, and Bednarik got one last chance from the Richmond 17. He again connected with Gilson, outside the end zone, and Marshall made a beautiful wrap-up tackle to keep Gilson away from the goal line.

Smith’s eventual game winning touchdown followed Bednarik’s fifth TD toss, a 19-yarder set up by a sack of Smith on fourth down. The Raiders outscored Lehigh Valley 23-12 in the second half thanks in large part to a defense that kept Bednarik on the run and under pressure. They sacked him four times and tallied seven hurries. He completed a season low 56% of his passes as the Raiders kept the league’s second highest scoring offense out of the end zone on eight of their 13 possessions. The SteelHawks’ 40 point total was their lowest since scoring 28 in their season opener at Alabama.

The SteelHawks dominated the early goings, striking for a 40 yard touchdown on the game’s first play and getting a safety two snaps later. John Kennedy’s interception led to a touchdown and a 15-0 lead, but the Raiders’ defense strung together three straight stops. When Smith hooked up with a streaking Hakeem Moore, the game was tied at 21, but only briefly. Bednarik again dialed long distance and put his team back up by seven with another 40 yard TD. The Raiders drove to the ‘Hawks’ five yard line in the final seconds of the first half, but their hopes of tying the game before the break were dashed when Smith threw his second interception – both in the end zone. The teams traded missed field goals to start the second half before Rodney Sledge’s 23 yard run brought the Raiders even at 28.

Lehigh Valley converted three fourth downs during a 12 play, 40 yard drive that took nearly eight minutes spanning the third and fourth quarters. Gilson got open in the back of the end zone on fourth and goal from the seven, but Brandon Sutton blocked the extra point and the Raiders took the lead on Moore’s third of four touchdowns.

The Raiders had a chance to really put the SteelHawks on their heels after Preston Hines recovered a fumble, but they could drive no farther than midfield before Smith was sacked on fourth down to set up Lehigh Valley’s final score.

Smith finished with 234 yards on 24 of 36 passing. Moore led all receivers with 12 receptions, 149 yards, and four touchdowns. Scooby Bryant had two kick returns totaling 92 yards in the first half, both of which led directly to Raider touchdowns.

The Raiders will travel to Huntsville, AL to take on the top-seeded Alabama Hammers in the championship game. Alabama defeated the Albany Panthers, 61-46, in the other semifinal. The title clash will kick off at 8:00 on Monday, July 8.

BOX SCORE FOLLOWS

Score by Quarters 1 2 3 4 Score
----------------- -- -- -- -- -----
Lehigh Valley Steelh 15 13 0 12 - 40 Record: (7-6)
Richmond Raiders.... 14 7 7 16 - 44 Record: (8-5)

Scoring Summary:
1st 14:34 LVS - Troy Pascley 40 yd pass from Adam Bednarik (Jon Striefsky
kick failed), 1-40 0:26, LVS 6 - RIC 0
12:47 LVS - Terence Thomas safety, , LVS 8 - RIC 0
05:58 LVS - Toriel Gibson 15 yd pass from Adam Bednarik (Jon Striefsky
kick), 4-33 2:37, LVS 15 - RIC 0
04:06 RIC - Gerron Bryant 6 yd pass from Warren Smith (T.C. Stevens
kick), 2-8 1:04, LVS 15 - RIC 7
00:45 RIC - Hakeem Moore 14 yd pass from Warren Smith (T.C. Stevens
kick), 1-14 0:35, LVS 15 - RIC 14

2nd 12:35 LVS - Jon Striefsky 51 yd field goal, 4-3 2:25, LVS 18 - RIC 14
04:25 LVS - Jon Striefsky 26 yd field goal, 7-19 3:52, LVS 21 - RIC 14
02:44 RIC - Hakeem Moore 24 yd pass from Warren Smith (T.C. Stevens
kick), 3-40 1:41, LVS 21 - RIC 21
01:35 LVS - Tom Gilson 40 yd pass from Adam Bednarik (Jon Striefsky
kick), 1-40 0:27, LVS 28 - RIC 21

3rd 06:49 RIC - Rodney Sledge 23 yd run (T.C. Stevens kick), 4-40 2:39, LVS
28 - RIC 28

4th 13:33 LVS - Tom Gilson 7 yd pass from Adam Bednarik (Jon Striefsky kick
blockd), 12-40 7:34, LVS 34 - RIC 28
09:01 RIC - Hakeem Moore 13 yd pass from Warren Smith (T.C. Stevens
kick), 6-0 4:42, LVS 34 - RIC 35
08:26 RIC - T.C. Stevens rouge, , LVS 34 - RIC 36
00:54 LVS - Tom Gilson 19 yd pass from Adam Bednarik (Adam Bednarik rush
failed), 3-19 0:53, LVS 40 - RIC 36
00:30 RIC - Hakeem Moore 24 yd pass from Warren Smith (T.C. Stevens
kick), 4-0 0:24, LVS 40 - RIC 43
00:30 RIC - T.C. Stevens rouge, , LVS 40 - RIC 44

                              LVS RIC
FIRST DOWNS................... 16 15
RUSHES-YARDS (NET)............ 12-38 5-29
PASSING YDS (NET)............. 256 216
Passes Att-Comp-Int........... 36-20-0 36-24-2
TOTAL OFFENSE PLAYS-YARDS..... 52-294 44-245
Fumble Returns-Yards.......... 0-0 0-0
Kickoff Returns-Yards......... 0-0 1-48
Interception Returns-Yards.... 2-20 0-0
Fumbles-Lost.................. 1-1 0-0
Penalties-Yards............... 4-30 2-20
Possession Time............... 32:36 27:59
Third-Down Conversions........ 3 of 12 5 of 8
Fourth-Down Conversions....... 3 of 3 0 of 2
Red-Zone Scores-Chances....... 2-3 1-2
Sacks By: Number-Yards........ 3-18 4-20

RUSHING: Lehigh Valley Steelh-Toriel Gibson 2-15; Adam Bednarik 6-14; Ian
Simon 1-4; Troy Pascley 1-4; Tom Gilson 1-1; Michael Simons 1-0. Richmond
Raiders-Rodney Sledge 3-27; Warren Smith 2-2.

PASSING: Lehigh Valley Steelh-Adam Bednarik 20-36-0-276; TEAM 0-0-0-minus
20. Richmond Raiders-Warren Smith 24-36-2-234; TEAM 0-0-0-minus 18.

RECEIVING: Lehigh Valley Steelh-Toriel Gibson 10-103; Tom Gilson 6-91;
Troy Pascley 2-43; Hunter Wanket 2-39. Richmond Raiders-Hakeem Moore 12-149;
Herb Jones 5-41; Gerron Bryant 3-16; Antwun Williams 2-19; Brandon Grier 2-9.

INTERCEPTIONS: Lehigh Valley Steelh-John KennedyIII 1-20; Chris Johnson
1-0. Richmond Raiders-None.

FUMBLES: Lehigh Valley Steelh-Michael Simons 1-1. Richmond Raiders-None.

Stadium: Richmond Coliseum Attendance: 3777
Kickoff time: 7:00p End of Game: 9:31pm Total elapsed time: 2:31
Officials: Referee: Wayne Winkler; Umpire: Kevin Botimann; Linesman: Jacques Hooper; 
Line judge: Jesse Moore; Back judge: Dan. Gautreaux; Scorer: T.Sparrow;
#3 Lehigh Valley Steelh vs #2 Richmond Raiders (Jul 01, 2013 at Richmond, VA)

SACKS (UA-A): Lehigh Valley Steelh-Terence Thomas 2-0; Eddie Smith 1-0.
Richmond Raiders-Brandon Sutton 1-1; Preston Hines 0-2; James Carter 0-1;
Jason Holman 1-0.

TACKLES (UA-A): Lehigh Valley Steelh-Terence Thomas 5-4; EJ Webb 3-5;
John KennedyIII 2-5; Alexander Ajayi 2-2; Eddie Smith 1-4; Chris Johnson 1-2;
Hunter Wanket 1-0; Larry Ford 0-2; Bryan Wick 0-2. Richmond Raiders-RoShawn
Marshal 5-4; Preston Hines 3-4; Davon Morgan 2-4; Kevin Allen 2-3; James
Carter 2-2; Brandon Sutton 2-2; Maurice Thorne 2-1; Jason Holman 1-2; Rodney Sledge
1-0.