Racine Raiders Football Club | Racine, Wis. |

Raiders Pour On Points Late in Sloppy 53-18 Win Over Grand Rapids Seminoles

Howard Triplett breaks an 82-yard touchdown run against the Grand Rapids Seminoles on June 8, 2019.Prior to the game, during his interview for the broadcast of the Racine Raiders 2019 season opener on AM 1050 WLIP, head coach Wilbert Kennedy said he expected the game might be sloppy. 

“I’m just excited about finally getting the opportunity to see the guys perform,” he told Raiders broadcaster Don Wadewitz. “I’m sure it will be sloppy and messy. It’s the first game and we haven’t had the opportunity to do a whole lot at practice.”

Sloppy and messy played out in front of nearly 900 fans for both teams, including the Grand Rapids Seminoles, who had played 2-1/2 games already. The two teams combined for 14 turnovers, including 11 interceptions, 20 penalties, and nearly 200 penalty yards. In the end, the Raiders scored 28 unanswered points in the fourth quarter for the 53-18 win.

Davonte Ransom returns a kickoff against the Grand Rapids Seminoles on June 8, 2019.The Raiders first two offensive possessions resulted in drives stalling inside the red zone. Sandwiched in between was a muffed punt that was recovered by Grand Rapids. The Raiders first drive got inside the Seminoles 10-yard line but they had to settle on a 27-yard field goal by T.J. Hearn to give them a 3-0 lead just three minutes into the game.

The Raiders would again drive deep into Grand Rapids territory on a drive that spanned across the first and second quarters. After getting down to the Seminoles 2-yard line, the Raiders could only move backwards and had to settle for a 32-yard field goal by Hearn. The Raiders lead was 6-0 with 14 minutes to play in the half.

Gage Zahradnik and Anton Graham celebrate a sack against the Grand Rapids Seminoles on June 8, 2019.The Raiders first touchdown would come with their worst starting field position of the game after a Dontae Ensley punt backed them up to their own 18-yard line. Raiders running back Howard Triplett took the handoff right up the middle, broke an ankle tackle, and was off to the races for an 82-yard score. The Raiders first touchdown of the 2019 season gave them a 13-0 lead. Hearn would add his third field goal of the half, this time from 39 yards out, to give the Raiders a 16-0 lead with under a minute to play. 

The Seminoles would threaten inside the final minute. Quarterback Craig Holman hit Ensley on a 53-yard reception setting Grand Rapids up at the Racine 20 yard line with 30 seconds to play. Holman then connected with LeRoy McKay to put the Seminoles at the Raiders 5-yard line. After a rush for two yards, Holman tried to find Ensley in the end zone but rookie cornerback Jersey Eickhorst broke on the ball and was able to swat it away to end the threat and the half.

Troy Collier goes up high to haul in a pass against the Grand Rapids Seminoles on June 8, 2019.Grand Rapids grabbed the momentum in the second half. Holman found Monterio Smith for a 44-yard touchdown pass. The two-point conversion run failed but cut the Racine lead to 23-6 just two minutes into the third quarter.

The Raiders would respond with Triplett’s second touchdown run of the game, this time from 22 yards out to extend their lead to 17 with 6:47 to play in the quarter.

Defense and special teams would be responsible for the next three scores between the teams. With the Raiders knocking on the door, Raiders quarterback Tony Henner, on to play in the second half, threw a dart to the goal line. Henner and the intended receiver, who ran deep into the end zone, weren’t on the same page and Malik Williams stepped in front of the pass and took it 99 yards for a touchdown. The two-point conversion failed but the Raiders lead was down to 11 points at 23-12.

Racine Raiders wide receiver D.J. Smith looks for room to run against the Grand Rapids Seminoles on June 8, 2019.The Raiders would get a safety on a bad snap on a punt that Ensley tried to run out of the end zone but he kicked the pilon on his way out extending the Racine lead to 25-12. With Henner having difficulties and throwing two interceptions, the Raiders went back to Mitchell Farr at quarterback. At the start of the fourth quarter, Farr would throw a pick to Eric Whitehead who took it in for a score. The conversion failed again but Grand Rapids pulled to within seven points at 25-18.

The Raiders would score 28 unanswered points from that point to coast to victory. In the final 11 minutes, Farr had a six-yard touchdown run, five-yard touchdown pass to Will Norwood, and a 42-yard touchdown pass to Brian Mosley. Jordan Scott added a 40-yard pick six for the defense.

The Raiders begin the MidStates Football League regular season on Saturday, June 15, against the Southern Lakes Blue Devils. Kickoff is at 7 pm and it’s Education Appreciation Night. The Raiders will award five scholarships to Racine County high school seniors that went through the application process, during halftime festivities. Tickets can be purchased at any of our local ticket outlets and online for a discount

 

PLAYERS OF THE GAME

OFFENSE: Howard Triplett – 24 carries , 229 yards, 9.5 average, 2 TDs

DEFENSE: Jordan Scott – 1 tackle, 1 tackle for loss, 1 sack, 1 INT, TD

SPECIAL TEAMS: T.J. Hearn – 3-3 field goals (27, 32, 39), 5-5 extra points

 

PHOTOS: Dan Scherbert, FStop Milwaukee