Raiders will face Columbus Lions as both teams hunt their first win
The Richmond Raiders (0-1) will look to bounce back from their season opening loss to the Trenton Freedom when they head south to Columbus, GA to take on the Columbus Lions (0-1). It’s the second straight road game for the Raiders to open the season and the home opener for the Lions. The teams split two exciting, down-to-the-wire games last season, and with some former Raider teammates now suiting up for Columbus, Saturday night’s game is sure to be another spirited chapter in this rivalry.
Last Sunday, the Raiders dropped their season opener to the Trenton Freedom, 52-17. The Raiders turned the ball over on each of their first two possessions and had two touchdowns negated by penalty in the first half, and the Freedom capitalized by scoring on every one of their possessions until the final whistle. Gerron “Scooby” Bryant was a bright spot for Richmond, returning two kickoffs into Trenton territory and adding a touchdown reception. In the second half, the Raiders blocked two Freedom extra points and turned one of them into a two point defensive conversion. Freedom quarterback Warren Smith, who started for the Raiders last season, threw more touchdown passes (four) than incompletions (three) and added two rushing touchdowns.
For the second straight week, the Raiders will be facing one of their two most recent quarterbacks. Antwon Young, who won the PIFL MVP award for the Raiders in 2012 while throwing 60 touchdowns against just five interceptions, played in one game for the team last year before suffering a season ending injury. He is now the signalcaller for the Lions, and seemed to revert to his MVP form last week in their loss to the Harrisburg Stampede. Young passed for 313 yards and accounted for eight total touchdowns, throwing and passing his way through the Stampede defense. Raiders head coach James Fuller said this week that keeping Young in the pocket will be key to limiting big plays from the dynamic QB.
Both games between these teams in 2013 were decided on the last play. The first meeting, in Columbus, saw the Raiders climb to a 42-27 lead in the fourth quarter, but Lions’ backup QB Brian Harris engineered a 21-0 run to put the Lions up by six in the final 20 seconds. The Raiders had a chance at a potential game winning touchdown from the Lions’ 8 yard line, but a pass into the end zone went incomplete as time expired. Later in the season, in Richmond, the Raiders scored a touchdown with 19 seconds left to force overtime after a Columbus missed field goal at the horn. The Raiders’ defense picked off a Lions pass on the first possession of overtime, and shortly thereafter scored the game winning touchdown.
The overtime interception was made by RoShawn Marshall, who had two picks in the game and was second in the league with seven on the season. Marshall, like Young, is now suiting up for Columbus and will pair with Damian Daniels in the defensive backfield. Daniels is a perennial defensive player of the year candidate and is closing in on the all time indoor football interception record. With two of last year’s three first team All-PIFL defensive backs on the field, the Lions will pose a significant challenge to the Raiders’ passing attack, which only registered 187 yards last week.
The Raiders will return to the Richmond Coliseum for their home opener on Saturday, April 12 in a Championship Game rematch against the Alabama Hammers. Single game and group event tickets are now on sale on the Raiders’ website, www.RichmondRaidersProFootball.com, and the Raiders’ ticket hotline at 804-780-0430. Tickets start at $7, and lower level tickets are on a Buy 2, Get 1 Free special for Opening Night. Groups can call the hotline to get customized event packages and prices.
For more information contact:
(804) 780-4970 x139