Raiders defeat SteelHawks, 62-51

Raiders run over SteelHawks  

Ground game makes big plays in home victory

The Raiders seized momentum early and forced the SteelHawks to play catch-up, then used big plays to snuff any hopes of a comeback en route to a 62-51 win over Lehigh Valley. The victory moves the Raiders to 3-1 on the season and gives them sole possession of second place in the PIFL.

The Raiders’ fast start was facilitated by all three phases: T.C. Stevens kicked an uno on the opening kickoff, the defense forced a long field goal attempt which was blocked for a safety, and the offense scored in just two plays to build a 9-0 lead.  E.J. Webb put the SteelHawks on the board with a three yard run, but the Raiders responded with another touchdown and another stop, resulting in a missed field goal.

Warren Smith hooked up with Hakeem Moore from 15 yards out early in the second quarter and Stevens notched another uno to make the score 24-6 and force Lehigh Valley to abandon the run.  Adam Bednarik threw touchdown passes of his own on the last two SteelHawk possessions of the first half, but the red-hot Raiders offense never let up. Mike Jones scored the third of his four rushing touchdowns, and with time running out in the half, Smith threw a 40 yard bomb to Herb Jones, who dodged a couple of SteelHawk defenders inside the five yard line, scoring a touchdown to give the Raiders a 38-21 halftime lead.

For the first time, the Raiders offense sputtered as the second half started, and they were forced to settle for a 36 yard field goal. The teams traded touchdowns, with Smith again dialing long distance and finding Hakeem Moore from 40 yards. The Raiders defense pressured Bednarik  all night long, sacking him twice and forcing four intentional grounding penalties. They took the ball away on fourth down on consecutive possessions, and when Jones bulldozed his way in to the end zone, the Raiders were up 55-27.

But the SteelHawks were not ready to concede. They got a Bednarik to Torieal Gibson touchdown and a two point conversion, then got to Smith in the end zone for a safety, and cashed in with another Bednarik touchdown and two.  Seemingly in the blink of an eye, Lehigh Valley had run off 18 straight points to pull within 55-45 with four minutes to go. They attempted an onside kick, which sailed out of bounds and gave the Raiders good field position. Tight end Nick Royal caught a five yard touchdown after the offense milked the clock, and down by 17 with under a minute to go, the SteelHawks could not score quickly enough. They did get a touchdown with 15 seconds remaining, but once again the onside kick went harmlessly out of bounds and the Raiders ran out the clock.

Smith finished with 227 passing yards on 14 completions.  Jones ran the ball 12 times for 87 yards, including gains of 21 and 25 yards, and four scores.  Bednarik racked up 314 yards through the air, but got virtually no support from a rushing attack that had averaged 56 yards per game. The Raiders’ 88 rushing yards represented more than four times the total ground yardage Lehigh Valley had given up their first three games.

The Raiders will hit the road for the next two weeks, traveling to Columbus to face the Lions next week before the rematch with the SteelHawks in Lehigh Valley on April 27.

BOX SCORE:

Score by Quarters     1  2  3  4   Score

—————–    — — — —   —–

Lehigh Valley Steelh  6 15  6 24  – 51       Record: (2-2)

Richmond Raiders…. 16 22 10 14  – 62       Record: (3-1)

Scoring Summary:

1st 15:00 RIC – T.C. Stevens rouge, , LVS 0 – RIC 1 12:18 RIC – TEAM safety, , LVS 0 – RIC 3
11:20 RIC – Mike Jones 21 yd run (T.C. Stevens kick failed), 2-40 1:08, LVS 0 – RIC 9
08:25 LVS – EJ Webb 3 yd run (George Pierson kick failed), 3-40 2:25, LVS 6 – RIC 9
02:40 RIC – Mike Jones 7 yd run (T.C. Stevens kick), 7-41 5:18, LVS 6 – RIC 16
2nd 14:10 RIC – Hakeem Moore 15 yd pass from Warren Smith (T.C. Stevens kick), 2-0 1:40, LVS 6 – RIC 23
13:23 RIC – T.C. Stevens rouge, , LVS 6 – RIC 24
07:55 LVS – Tom Gilson 6 yd pass from Adam Bednarik (Hunter Wanket rush), 9-45 5:28, LVS 14 – RIC 24
03:48 RIC – Mike Jones 3 yd run (T.C. Stevens kick), 5-40 3:14, LVS 14 – RIC 31
00:12 LVS – Tyrone Collins 13 yd pass from Adam Bednarik (George Pierson kick), 5-40 2:50, LVS 21 – RIC 31
00:00 RIC – Herb Jones 40 yd pass from Warren Smith (T.C. Stevens kick), 2-40 0:12, LVS 21 – RIC 38
3rd 10:38 RIC – T.C. Stevens 36 yd field goal, 7-19 4:22, LVS 21 – RIC 41
08:05 LVS – Tom Gilson 1 yd pass from Adam Bednarik (George Pierson kick failed), 5-40 2:29, LVS 27 – RIC 41
07:20 RIC – Hakeem Moore 40 yd pass from Warren Smith (T.C. Stevens kick), 1-40 0:28, LVS 27 – RIC 48
4th 11:50 RIC – Mike Jones 1 yd run (T.C. Stevens kick), 2-22 0:56, LVS 27 – RIC 55
08:13 LVS – Toriel Gibson 9 yd pass from Adam Bednarik (Michael Simons pass from Adam Bednarik), 6-40 3:22, LVS 35 – RIC 55
07:12 LVS – Eddie Smith safety, , LVS 37 – RIC 55
04:44 LVS – Tyrone Collins 1 yd pass from Adam Bednarik (Tom Gilson pass from Adam Bednarik), 5-40 2:28, LVS 45 – RIC 55
00:56 RIC – Nick Royal 5 yd pass from Warren Smith (T.C. Stevens kick), 6-10 3:48, LVS 45 – RIC 62
00:15 LVS – Tom Gilson 8 yd pass from Adam Bednarik (Adam Bednarik rush fumbld), 5-40