Richmond Raiders to take on First Place Hammers

Three of the league’s top four receivers will be featured in a key battle for playoff positioning

(June 6, 2013) The Richmond Raiders (6-4) will finish a two game road trip Saturday night against the Alabama Hammers (7-2) as the PIFL playoff chase heats up. The Raiders have waited 12 long weeks to get another shot at the Hammers after losing to them in Richmond on Opening Night. The Hammers have played just two games in the last five weeks but have won convincingly both times, while the Raiders have played three straight overtime games and six straight decided by six points or less.

Last week the Raiders fell to the Albany Panthers 69-63 in triple overtime. Albany rallied from an early 11 point deficit and the teams traded touchdowns throughout the last 20 minutes of regulation, with the Raiders grabbing the lead on four occasions only to have the Panthers tie the game each time. The Panthers scored first in the third overtime session, then picked off Warren Smith to end the game.

Preston Hines recovered a fumble and blocked a field goal, and Brandon Sutton chipped in with two sacks. Kevin Allen returned an interception for a touchdown. Herb Jones and Hakeem Moore each had over 100 receiving yards for the third straight game. T.C. Stevens had two field goals and an uno, but had a second uno nullified via penalty – one of 13 called on the Raiders to just three against the Panthers.

The Hammers dispatched the Louisiana Swashbucklers last week, 63-22. The ‘Bucs fumbled five times, losing three, and threw two interceptions. Alabama kept Louisiana out of the end zone until the fourth quarter, and went on a 49-0 run during the second and third quarters. Russell Hill threw for five touchdowns before giving way to backup Kevin Eakin in the fourth quarter. This win came on the heels of a 70-43 drubbing of the Columbus Lions on May 18.

The teams previously met in the Raiders’ first game (and the Hammers’ second) of 2013. Hill and company blew open a close game in the second half, holding the Raiders scoreless after the break and cruising to a 65-23 win. Hill threw for nine touchdowns and 340 yards, and the Hammers’ receiving tandem of Charles McClain and Mico McSwain had over 100 yards and two touchdowns apiece.

Jones and Moore are each in the league’s top four in receiving yards, while McSwain leads the league with 974 yards and 28 touchdowns. While McClain doesn’t have the raw totals to match his teammate, he has contributed three 100-yard games, bringing the total of the quartet to 18 – fully one third of the league’s total. The Hammers boast the most potent offense in the PIFL, averaging 59 points per game while holding opponents to a league low 43.7.

The Raiders were unable to clinch a playoff berth last week, but a win on Saturday would secure a postseason appearance for the second straight year. The Hammers have already locked up one of the four playoff bids, and can clinch home field advantage in the first round with a win over the Raiders.

Live coverage of the game will begin at 7:30 Saturday evening on the Raiders’ website, RichmondRaidersProFootball.com. Fans can also get real time updates on the Raiders’ Facebook and twitter feeds. The Raiders will return home on June 15 for the regular season finale. Tickets are available from $7 through the Raiders’ website, ticketmaster.com, or the Richmond Coliseum box office.