RAIDERS RETURN TO ACTION SATURDAY NIGHT
SteelHawks come to town in a battle for 2nd place in PIFL standings.
The Richmond Raiders (2-1) will meet the Lehigh Valley SteelHawks (2-1) for the first time on Saturday night at 7:00 at the Richmond Coliseum. It will be a showdown for second place in the Professional Indoor Football League, with the winner grabbing sole possession of that slot. Both teams are on two game winning streaks, and both have had a week of rest – the SteelHawks have had two – in preparation for the game, coming on Volunteer Appreciation Night presented by MeadWestvaco.
In the Raiders’ last game, QB Warren Smith led the team to season-highs in points (51), yards (266), and yards per play (6.0) in a 51-36 win over Knoxville. Smith spread the ball around, completing at least one pass to six different receivers, and led the Raiders to touchdowns seven of the eight times he stepped on the field before running out the clock. The key sequence spanned the halves, as the Raiders’ defense stopped the Nighthawks from extending their two point lead in the final 90 seconds, and got the ball back in time for a 52-yard field goal from T.C. Stevens as the clock expired to take a 23-22 lead into the locker room. The Raiders received the second half kickoff and scored a touchdown, then recovered a fumble on the second play of the ensuing Nighthawks’ drive, and got back in the end zone on the next play to go up by 15. Knoxville would never again have the ball with a chance to tie or take the lead.
Three Raiders made the league’s weekly honor roll. Smith was 21 of 26 passing, setting a team record with his 81% completion rate. He threw for four touchdowns and rushed for one more en route to being named the PIFL’s Offensive Player of the Week. The 52 yard field goal was the longest of Stevens’ career, and for his efforts, which included going 6-for-7 on extra points, he was named the league’s Special Teams Player of the Week. Defensive Player of the Week Roshawn Marshall forced and recovered the Nighthawk fumble and added several tackles and a 4th down pass deflection on Knoxville’s final play of the game.
The SteelHawks have had the last two weeks off after beating the Louisiana Swashbucklers 44-22. Lehigh Valley turned a close game into a runaway, going on a 22-1 run after Louisiana got to within one point at 22-21 early in the second quarter. Adam Bednarik threw for 282 yards and four touchdowns. Tom Gilson led the SteelHawk receivers with nine catches for 108 yards and two scores, and the Lehigh Valley defense held the Swashbucklers to just 148 yards and 1-of-7 on third down conversions.
Saturday’s matchup will be on Volunteer Appreciation Night, presented by MeadWestvaco, when the Raiders will salute everyone who donates their time to make our community a better place. Participants in the “First Things First” youth mentoring program will be honored at halftime, and there will also be a youth cheerleading demonstration presented in conjunction with the USO as part of the Month of the Military Child.
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 Richmond Coliseum box office or visit ticketmaster.com. The Raiders are also offering discounted lower bowl tickets to anyone who presents their race bib from Saturday morning’s Monument Avenue 10K at the box office.