Racine Raiders Football Club | Racine, Wis. |

Racine Rides Victory Train Over Quad City

Anton GrahamThe Racine Raiders offense was clicking on Saturday and the defense was stifling the Quad City Raiders until the final seconds of the first half. In the end, Racine would need a 98-yard drive to get the win, and they got it aided by 45 yards in penalties against Quad City, en route to a 25-21 win. The win clinched a spot in the MidStates Football League playoffs for Racine.

Racine was first to score on their second offensive play of the game. Running back Howard Triplett ran off tackle to the right side, found a seam, and burst into open space for a 52-yard touchdown run. Sam Nisler added the extra point and Racine led 7-0 with 12:37 to play in the opening quarter. 

Racine missed field goals of 20 and 33 yards on their next two possessions and Triplett fumbled on another possession. A great punt return by Torie Ruffin set Racine up at the Quad City four-yard line with 6:36 to play in the first half but they weren’t able to capitalize and turned the ball over on downs at the Quad City five-yard line.

Despite starting with the ball near midfield on their first two drives, Quad City couldn’t get any points. They went backwards two yards on the opening drive of the game and then turned the ball over on downs on the Racine 29-yard line on their second drive.

Howard Triplett celebrates a touchdown.Quad City’s defense would stand up the Raiders as well, despite D.J. Brown having a strong first half. Brown would hit Terrance Fitch for a 36-yard touchdown pass with 2:06 to play in the first half, giving Racine a 14-0 lead. The touchdown pass was the ninth straight completion in the game for Brown, who finished the first half 9-of-11 for 181 yards. Fitch caught four of those passes for 136 yards.

Quad City would use the legs of quarterback Nick Brown to get on the scoreboard. On the ensuing drive, Brown carried the ball three times for 69 yards and completed one pass for seven yards. Brown scored on a 25-yard run with just 17 seconds to play in the half and John Brammeier connected on the extra point to cut Racine’s lead in half at the half, 14-7.

Racine got the ball first in the second half and had their opening drive stall at the Quad City 32-yard line. Nisler came on and connected on a 49-yard field goal, the longest of his career, to extend the Racine lead to 17-7 with 12:22 to play in the third quarter.

That’s when Quad City took control of the game. Tyvis Smith bowled through Racine defenders on a five-yard touchdown run with 6:18 to play in the third quarter, cutting Racine’s lead to 17-14. Quad City would take a 21-17 lead on a five-yard run by Zach Minch with just 18 seconds left in the quarter.

Racine mounted a great drive down to the Quad City six-yard line on the next drive. Quad City helped Racine’s efforts with a pass interference penalty on third down inside the red zone and a subsequent unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on the coaching staff on the same play. Brown was intercepted on the next play, however, while looking for D.J. Smith in the endzone.

Quad City moved the ball down to the Racine 35-yard line on the ensuing drive but their drive stalled there. Matt Kussmann hung a high, short punt that was downed at the Racine two-yard line with 6:38 to play in the game and Racine trailing 21-17. Quad City had given up a last second touchdown the week prior to lose to the Chi City Ducks and some of the frustration of that possibility happening two weeks in a row started to show.

Terrance FitchRacine was only able to move the ball out to the seven-yard line on three plays and were set to go for it on fourth down-and-five. That’s when a flag was thrown against the Quad City sideline, resulting in a five yard penalty and a Racine first down. On the next play, Triplett rumbled for 18 yards and was pushed out of bounds along the Racine sideline. Two flags came out during the play and a third was thrown along the Racine sideline after the play. All three flags were against Quad City – one for offsides, one for a facemask, and one for unsportsmanlike conduct. The Raiders accepted the facemak and unsportsmanlike conduct penalties, moving them into Quad City territory.

After getting stuffed for a loss of two yards, Triplett broke off a run inside the Quad City ten yard line but he was flagged for an offensive facemask pushing Racine back out to the 22-yard line of Quad City. Triplett was again stopped behind the line, this time for a five yard loss.

On the next play, Brown dropped back to pass. Fitch was going down the Quad City sideline and threw his hands up thinking he was being held. In the process, he got past the Quad City defender and Brown lofted a pass to the endzone that Fitch caught for a 27-yard touchdown to give Racine a 23-21 lead. Racine went for the two-point conversion and Brown hit Smith to make it 25-21 with 2:14 to play in the game.

Quad City got a great return by Rob Jones to the Racine 49-yard line on the kickoff. They were able to get down to the Racine 29-yard line before having to face a fourth down situation with about 50 seconds to play. Brown took the snap and tried to get away from heavy pressure from Racine. He kept back-tracking until he was on the Quad City side of the field where he was sacked for a 26-yard loss by Michael Rachal and Artist Terry, effectively ending the game.

Brown had his best game with Racine and maybe the best game by a Racine quarterback this season, completing 17-of-25 passes for 263 yards and two touchdowns. Fitch caught six passes for 173 yards and Triplett carried the ball 18 times for 128 yards. Deveron Davis led all defenders with nine tackles, 1-1/2 tackles for loss, and a pass defensed. Anton Graham finished with five tackles, 1/2 tackle for loss, and two passes defensed. Rachal registered 3-1/2 tackles, 2-1/2 tackles for loss, and 1-1/2 sacks.

Game Promotion for August 12 against ChargersThe Raiders clinched a playoff spot with the win and have a chance to move from the four-seed in the Richhart Division to a three-seed if they can beat the Milwaukee County Chargers at Historic Horlick Athletic Field on Saturday, August 12. The game is the continuation of a game suspended by weather in June. The game will start at the beginning of the second quarter with Racine leading 3-0. The Chargers will have the football at their own 44-yard line. 

As a show of appreciation for all of the support fans have shown, the Racine is allowing free entry to all fans on a first come, first serve basis until capacity at Historic Horlick Athletic Field is met. The game will start at 7 p.m. and will be broadcast on WIPZ, 101.5 FM, Ranger Radio, http://www.wipz.org, or on the TuneIn app for mobile devices (search: WIPZ).

PHOTO CREDIT: First two photos (Anton Graham and Howard Triplett) in this story are courteous of F-Stop Milwaukee. Terrance Fitch photo courtesy of Justin Edwards.