Racine Raiders Football Club | Racine, Wis. |

Raiders silence Thunder, 43-13

J.R. Taylor breaks free on a 54-yard touchdown runThe Racine Raiders biggest test of the season wasn’t easy, but the Raiders prevailed over the Chicago Thunder, 43-13, at Downers Grove South High School on Saturday night.

The Raiders went 65 yards on 5 plays on the opening drive of the game, culminating in a Craig McClelland 30-yard touchdown pass to D.J. Smith. The Raiders led 7-0 with 11:18 to play in the opening quarter.

The Thunder moved the ball well on their first drive but a field goal attempt by Igor Materic was blocked by Deveron Davis and the Raiders were setup at their own 45-yard line.

J.R. Taylor picked up a couple of yards on a run and then McClelland hit Terrance Fitch on a 53-yard bomb to give Racine a 14-0 lead with 1:31 to play in the first quarter.

Terrance Fitch hauls in a 55-yard touchdown pass from Craig McClelland.The Raiders extended their league to 21-0 on a 54-yard touchdown run by Taylor with 5:55 to play in the first half.

Ivry Lashley extended the Racine lead to 28-0 five minutes later on a 12-yard run to cap an 8 play, 46 yard drive.

The Raiders would score one more time in the half. It appeared the Thunder had stopped the Raiders drive as time expired in the first half, but the Thunder were flagged for a late hit on McClelland, giving the Raiders an untimed play at the Thunder 25-yard line.

Justin Schoepke came on and hit his career-long, 43-yard field goal to give the Raiders a 31-0 lead heading into the half.

Justin Schoepke boots a career-long 43-yard field goal.The Thunder got the ball to begin the second half but the Raiders scored first when Nate Heard picked off D.J. Brown and took it 45 yards for the score, giving Racine a 38-0 lead with 12:27 to play in the third quarter.

The Thunder got on the scoreboard with 3:31 to play in the third quarter when Brown found Darrell King on a 16 yard touchdown pass to end an 11 play, 85 yard drive that took nearly nine minutes. The Thunder cut the Raiders lead to 38-7.

The Raiders would get two points on a safety when the snap on a punt sailed over Bob Miller’s head and out of the back of the endzone to make it 40-7 in favor of the Raiders.

The Thunder struck again with 7:33 to play in the game on a Brown pass to running back Darelli Middleton out of the backfield. Middleton juked his way to a 78 yard touchdown. The extra point attempt was blocked by Larry Williams, leaving the Thunder trailing 40-13.

Michael Rachal picks off a D.J. Brown pass.Schoepke would add the final points of the game on a 39 yard field goal with 3:12 remaining to play to give the Raiders the win, 43-13.

The Raiders defense limited the Thunder to 92 yards rushing and 179 yard passing, with 78 of the passing yards coming on the Middleton touchdown catch. Racine’s defense was all over Brown, sacking him six times in the game, including three sacks by linebacker Michael Rachal.

Meanwhile, the Racine offense rushed for 175 yards and added 208 yards passing in the win.

The Raiders now face the unbeaten Lincoln-Way Patriots in a potential preview of the Mid-States Football League championship game. That game will be at 7 p.m. on July 25, in Tinley Park, Illinois.

The game will be carried live on Your Radio Friend, 1400 AM WRJN, http://www.wrjn.com, or through the TuneIn Radio app. The pregame show starts at 6:45 p.m.