Raiders turn back Nighthawks again
Special teams, defense make key plays in 51-36 win
The Raiders erased an early 15 point deficit and used a timely second half takeaway to build a lead, then answered every Knoxville challenge down the stretch to get their second win over the Nighthawks in as many weeks with a 51-36 victory. T.C. Stevens gave the Raiders momentum– and their first lead – with a long field goal as time ran out in the first half, and Roshawn Marshall added a fumble and a pass deflection to stifle any hopes of a Knoxville comeback.
As they did last week, Knoxville took the opening kickoff and drove for a touchdown, with Daccus Turman finishing off the drive with a three yard run. The Raiders were unable to get a first down and turned the ball over at their own 15, and three plays– all Turman runs – and an uno later the Nighthawks were up 15-0.
Warren Smith found his groove, connecting with Herb Jones on a 36 yard pass to set up a seven yard toss to a wide open Nick Royal for the Raiders’ first touchdown. Then, after dropping Turman for a three yard loss on third and one, a missed field goal gave the Raiders possession. Mike Jones capped off an eight play, 40 yard drive with a one yard plunge that pulled the Raiders to within two. Nighthawks quarterback Randy Hippeard answered with a 29 yard bomb to Deandre Brown, but Jones was up to the task again, scoring from a yard out again on the same play call.
Knoxville took over with 1:35 left in the half nursing a two point lead, but the Raiders appeared to force another field goal attempt on fourth and four. An offsides penalty extended the drive, but defensive lineman Joseph Marshall, playing in his first game, sacked Hippeard to more than make up for the penalty yardage, and eventually the field goal unit came out again. Armando Cuko misssed a 47 yarder with three seconds left. That gave the Raiders time for one last play before halftime, and T.C. Stevens drilled a 52 yard field goal to put the Raiders on top, 23-22, at the break.
The Raiders extended their lead once the second half began, as Herb Jones accounted for 31 of the 35 yards on the drive including the final nine for a touchdown. Roshawn Marshall made a beautiful, textbook tackle on the Nighthawks’ first play to stop Kelvin Bolden a yard shy of the first down. The call on second and one was a screen pass to Deandre Brown, which Marshall and the Raiders were ready for. Marshall made initial contact with three teammates in pursuit, Brown fumbled and the Raiders recovered. Smith went for the jugular, connecting with Chris Schubert on an 18-yard touchdown and the Raiders led by 15.
Hippeard engineered two more scoring drives, but each time the Raiders answered with a touchdown of their own, with Smith running in from seven yards and throwing a beautiful fade pass to Antwun Williams to account for the game’s last score. The Nighthawks got the ball back with 4:47 to play and a chance for a score and an onside kick, but the Raiders ensured the first part of that equation would never come to pass. Brandon Grier sacked Hippeard, forcing Knoxville to spend precious minutes getting those yards back, and Marshall knocked down Hippeard’s deep pass on fourth and seven.
The win puts the Raiders (2-1) in a three-way tie for second place in the PIFL. Knoxville drops to 0-4. The Raiders are off next week and return home to host the Lehigh Valley SteelHawks on April 13.
Score by Quarters 1 2 3 4 Score
—————– — — — — —–
Richmond Raiders…. 7 16 14 14 – 51 Record: (2-1)
Knoxville Nighthawks 15 7 7 7 – 36 Record: (0-4)
1st 11:15 KNX – Daccus Turman 3 yd run (Armando Cuko kick), KNX 7 – RIC 0
06:50 KNX – Daccus Turman 1 yd run (Armando Cuko kick), KNX 14 – RIC 0
06:50 KNX – Armando Cuko uno, KNX 15 – RIC 0
03:51 RIC – Nick Royal 7 yd pass from Warren Smith (T.C. Stevens kick), KNX 15 – RIC 7
2nd 09:45 RIC – Mike Jones 1 yd run (T.C. Stevens kick failed), KNX 15 – RIC 13
06:53 KNX – Deandre Brown 29 yd pass from Randy Hippeard (Armando Cuko kick), KNX 22 -RIC 13
01:35 RIC – Mike Jones 1 yd run (T.C. Stevens kick), KNX 22 – RIC 20
00:00 RIC – T.C. Stevens 52 yd field goal, KNX 22 – RIC 23
3rd 10:18 RIC – Herb Jones 9 yd pass from Warren Smith (T.C. Stevens kick), KNX 22 – RIC 30
08:19 RIC – Chris Schubert 18 yd pass from Warren Smith (T.C. Stevens kick), KNX 22 – RIC 37
02:09 KNX – Deandre Brown 11 yd pass from Randy Hippeard (Armando Cuko kick), KNX 29 – RIC 37
4th 13:38 RIC – Warren Smith 7 yd run (T.C. Stevens kick), KNX 29 – RIC 44
10:13 KNX – Randy Hippeard 3 yd run (Armando Cuko kick), KNX 36 – RIC 44
04:47 RIC – Antwun Williams 18 yd pass from Warren Smith (T.C. Stevens kick), KNX 36 – RIC 51
Knoxville Nighthawks-Randy Hippeard 2-3; Daccus Turman 9-39.
Richmond Raiders-Mike Jones 12-20; Warren Smith 5-14.
Knoxville Nighthawks-Randy Hippeard 19-27-0-179; TEAM 0-0-0-minus 12.
Richmond Raiders-Warren Smith 21-26-0-232; TEAM 0-0-0-minus 2.
Knoxville Nighthawks-Deandre Brown 7-72; Kelvin Bolden 7-66;
Rico Joseph 5-41. Richmond Raiders-Hakeem Moore 3-32; Herb Jones 8-86; Antwun Williams 5-45; Mike Jones 2-24; Nick Royal 2-27; Chris Schubert 1-18.
Knoxville Nighthawks-None. Richmond Raiders-None.
Knoxville Nighthawks-D. Brown 1-1. Richmond Raiders-None.
Knoxville Nighthawks-John Brown 1-0. Richmond Raiders-Joseph Marshall 1-0;
Brandon Grier 1-0.