Racine Raiders Football Club | Racine, Wis. |

Raiders lasso Illinois Cowboys, 34-6

The Racine Raiders had trouble converting miscues by the Illinois Cowboys into points, but still came out on top, 34-6, in a game shortened due to lightning. The game was called with 4:14 to play in the third quarter.

DiQuan McRae lays a hit on Brian MilesThe Raiders defense forced five Cowboys turnovers in the first half but the Cowboys defense stood tall. Racine had difficulty getting things moving on the ground as the Cowboys defense held the Raiders to just 36 yards on 17 carries. All of the yardage belonged to J.R. Taylor who ran the ball 13 times.

Brandon Rogers forced a fumble on the Cowboys opening drive that was recovered by Pierre Smith at the Illinois 25-yard line. The Raiders turned the ball over on downs at the Illinois 16-yard line.

On the next Cowboys drive, Torie Ruffin made a great diving interception of former Notre Dame quarterback Demetrius Jones’ pass giving the Raiders the ball at the Illinois 30-yard line. The Raiders converted that turnover into a touchdown when Craig McClelland hit Chris Hicks for an 18-yard touchdown. Justin Schoepke added the extra point and Racine led 7-0 with 8:57 to play in the first quarter.

The Cowboys would respond right back with their only score of the game. Jones hit Rance Hughes for a 73-yard touchdown play. The two-point conversion attempt was no good and Racine still led 7-6 with 7:53 to play in the first quarter.

The Raiders went three-and-out on their next drive but the defense forced another turnover. This time Rogers sacked Jones, forcing a fumble that was recovered by Quintell Pratcher at the Illinois 15-yard line.

The Raiders would have to settle for a 26-yard field goal by Schopeke to extend their lead to 10-6 with 4:13 to play in the opening quarter.

The official confer following an onside kick recovered by the RaidersThe Cowboys could only move backwards on their next drive. Jones punt went straight up in the air and carried just 14 yards. Eric Feest returned it two yards to the Cowboys 40 yard line. The Raiders mounted their most sustained drive of the game, covering 40 yards on 7 plays, ending with a McClelland 9-yard touchdown pass to Sam D’Alie. The Schoepke point-after gave the Raiders a 17-6 lead with 13:05 to play in the first half.

The Raiders got really gutsy on the kickoff, attempting an onside kick. Toeller went airborne to dive and grab the kick, landing with one knee in-bounds at the Cowboys 45-yard line. McClelland was intercepted near the goal line on the sixth play of the drive to end the Raiders threat.

The Raiders defense got the ball back four plays later when Nate Harris caused Miles to fumble for the second time in the game. Torie Ruffin jumped on the ball at the Illinois 44-yard line with 8:09 to play in the first half.

Raiders tight end Chris Hicks goes up high in traffic to haul in a touchdown pass.The Raiders would convert two, fourth down plays on the drive. McClelland found Hicks in the middle of the field for a 12-yard completion on fourth-and-six. Then, on fourth-and-seven, McClelland found Hicks again, this time for a leaping 25-yard touchdown. The Schoepke extra-point gave Racine a 24-6 lead with 5:25 to play in the first half.

Both teams traded short, four play drives. The Cowboys continued to be in a giving mood on their next drive as Smith busted through the line on fourth down and blocked the Jones punt and recovered the ball at the Illinois nine-yard line.

McClelland found Fitch in the middle of the endzone on the next play for a touchdown. Fitch made a great catch, holding the ball in the crook of his knee as he came to the ground to secure the ball. Schoepke’s point-after extended the Raiders lead to 31-6 with 48 seconds to play in the first half.

Jones would be intercepted again on the next drive, this time by Feest, and McClelland took a knee to run out the clock on the first half.

Steve Kliest and Nate Harris tackle an Illinois Cowboys player.On the opening drive of the second half, the Raiders went 53 yards on 9 plays but their drive stalled at the Cowboys eight-yard line. Schoepke connected on a 23-yard field goal, giving the Raiders the 34-6 lead.

The game was called during the ensuing Cowboys drive due to lightning. The Raiders improved to 2-1 with the win while the Cowboys dropped to the same record.

McClelland was 16-30 for 191 yards, 4 touchdowns and 1 interception. Hicks led all Raiders receivers with 5 grabs for 86 yards and 2 touchdowns. D’Alie, the leading receiver on the season for the Raiders, hauled in 4 catches for 44 yards.

Deveron Davis paced the defense with six tackles while Steve Kliest recorded five. Michael Rachal had four tackles, including a sack and two tackles for loss.

The Raiders open the 2015 Mid-States Football League season next Saturday against the Door County Destroyers in Bailey’s Harbor. Kickoff is scheduled for 4 p.m.