Racine Raiders Football Club | Racine, Wis. |

Raiders quash Rebels uprising

Adaris Anderson breaks up a pass against the Sheboygan RebelsRacine Raiders head coach Wilbert Kennedy said his team needed to get off to a fast start against the Sheboygan County Rebels on Saturday night at Historic Horlick Athletic Field. He knew the quality of football that the Rebels were playing since they fell to the Raiders, 44-16, back on June 27.

Since their 44-16 loss to the Racine Raiders on June 27, the Sheboygan County Rebels went 2-3 and hadn’t lost a game by more than a touchdown. All three of their losses came to MidStates Football League playoff teams and the Rebels entered the playoffs having won two straight games. On top of it, the Rebels, down 27-6 at halftime of the first game, intercepted Raiders quarterback Craig McClelland three times in the third quarter, converting two of those into scores, and trailed by just 11 points early in the second half.

If Kennedy had serious concerns, they grew on the Rebels opening drive of the game. A long kickoff return set them up at the Raiders 40-yard line. The Rebels then converted two fourth down plays on the drive, getting them inside the Racine one-yard line. That’s when the defense stepped up for Kennedy’s Raiders and allowed him to breath a bit.

Steve Kleist, Justin Ankley and Deveron Davis combine to stop Santos Medina.Linebacker Steve Kleist came free on a blitz, wrapped up Rebels quarterback Dylan Kelly, and knocked the ball loose. Defensive tackle Justin Ankley picked up the ball and rumbled 59 yards to the Rebels 27-yard line. On the next play, Craig McClelland tossed the ball down the Raiders sideline and Myles Spiegel made a great adjustment and stepped into the endzone, giving Racine a 6-0 lead. Justin Schoepke added the extra point to extend the lead to 7-0 with 10:44 to play in the first quarter.

Sheboygan County fought back with a 13 play drive but a Chris Lee 42-yard field goal attempt sailed wide left, giving the ball back to Racine. The Raiders wouldn’t mount much offensively in the first half and the defense couldn’t seem to get off the field on third and fourth downs.

The Raiders did mount one sustained drive in the first half and it resulted in a nine-yard touchdown run by J.R. Taylor on the first play of the second quarter. Taylor’s run capitalized on a 6-play, 68-yard drive and Racine would take a 14-0 lead into halftime.

The Raiders then marched down the field on the opening drive of the second half to go up 21-0 on McClelland’s second touchdown pass, this one a 28-yarder to Sam D’Alie with 10:56 to play in the third quarter.

Taylor extended the Raiders lead to 28-0 on a ten yard touchdown run with 4:38 left to play in the third quarter. The run was setup by a 61-yard screen pass from McClelland to Taylor two plays earlier.

Tyrone Galvin looks for running room.Schoepke converted a 26-yard field goal with 10:42 to play in the game, giving Racine a 31-0 lead.

The Rebels got on the board with 2:14 to play on a perfect pass from Kelly to Courtney Gatlin good for 27 yards. The two-point conversion run attempt on a bad snap was unsuccessful, giving the final score of 31-6.

McClelland was 11-18 for 214 yards and the two touchdowns. Spiegel was his favorite target on the night, hauling in 4 passes for 85 yards and the touchdown. On the ground, Howard Triplett had 4 carries for 70 yards. Taylor finished with 43 yards on the ground and 61 through the air to go with his two touchdowns.

Defensively, Deveron Davis and Kleist led Racine with seven tackles. Tracy Baskin had an interception.

The team statistics were pretty even considering the 31-6 Racine win. The Rebels had one more first down than Racine and ran 21 more plays and holding onto the ball for 15 more minutes than Racine. The Raiders racked up 320 yards of total offense to 290 for the Rebels.

Racine moves on to the MidStates Football League Northern Conference championship game next Saturday, August 29. They will host the Door County Destroyers who sent the Muskego Hitmen packing, 20-10.