Racine Raiders Football Club | Racine, Wis. |

Raiders too strong for Force

United States Army veteran and Racine Raiders offensive lineman Chris Edwards leads the charge through the Army tunnel.The Fox Valley Force struck early but the Racine Raiders still managed to pull out a difficult victory Saturday night at Historic Horlick Athletic Field, 26-10. Over 1,500 fans came out for Armed Forces Night. The Raiders improved to 2-0 on the season with the win while the Force, ranked number one in the region in some polls, fell to 9-1 on the year.

Fox Valley grabbed the lead on the third play of the game, a 57-yard touchdown pass from Matt Matsch to Al Clarke. Cody Robel’s extra point was good and the Force led 7-0 with 13:23 to play in the first quarter.

The Raiders had trouble getting anything going against Fox Valley early on. Racine was able to break through on a big play, a 49-yard touchdown pass from Craig McClelland to Terrance Fitch. Joel DaPra booted the extra point and Racine tied the game at seven with 1:02 to play in the first quarter.

The Raiders squandered an opportunity for points at the end of the first quarter. Fox Valley was forced to punt from their 23-yard line. Travis Rogers punt was fielded by Torie Ruffin at the Racine 35-yard line and he returned it to the Fox Valley 10-yard line as the first quarter expired. The Raiders would get to the four-yard line but DaPra’s 22-yard field goal attempt sailed wide left.

IMG_0611The Raiders got another big play for their next score, this time it came via the ground. J.R. Taylor, who had been bottled up in the first quarter, broke a 50-yard run to give Racine a 13-7 lead with 11:32 to play in the first half. The Raiders kicked the extra point to extend their lead but Fox Valley was offsides on the kick. The Raiders took the point off the scoreboard and decided to go for the two-point conversion. McClelland’s pass fell incomplete, however. The Raiders took the 13-7 lead into halftime.

The Raiders started the second half of play with the football and scored on two quick plays. McClelland hit Fitch for a 56 yard completion down to the Fox Valley 11-yard line. McClelland then made a beautiful back shoulder pass to D’Alie in the right front corner of the endzone. DaPra added the point-after and Racine led 20-7.

DaPra added a 20-yard field goal with 1:29 to play in the quarter to give Racine a 23-7 lead. The field goal capped a 7-play, 51 yard drive and took 4:44.

Fox Valley added a field goal early in the fourth quarter to clip the Raiders lead to 23-10 but Racine added their own field goal, a 27-yarder, with just 33 seconds left in the game to give the Raiders the 26-10 win.

The Raiders ate up 402 total yards to 279 for Fox Valley. Despite the Fox Valley defense spending a lot of time in the Raiders backfield, Racine was able to get 119 yards rushing, 75 of which came on two plays in the game.

Fox Valley managed just 26 yards on the ground and 253 through the air. They used three quarterbacks in the game. Al Clarke was the leading receiver with 5 catches for 128 yards and a touchdown.

D’Alie paced Racine through the air with 5 grabs for 108 yards. Fitch added 2 for 95 yards and Traves Worthington had 4 catches for 86 yards.

Gary Young had a nice game on defense for Racine with five tackles, two sacks and an interception.

Racine begins their Mid-States Football League play next week against the Springfield Foxes. The game starts at 7:00 p.m. at Historic Horlick Athletic Field.