Racine Raiders Football Club | Racine, Wis. |

Raiders torched by Des Moines Blaze

Racine Raiders running back J.R. Taylor navigates through a crowded line.The Racine Raiders won the opening coin toss on Saturday night against the Des Moines Blaze but not much else went right for the 2014 semi-pro national champions.

The Blaze easily marched down the field on the opening drive and took the lead on a seven-yard touchdown run by T.J. James to capitalize on a 5-play, 74-yard drive with 12:03 to play in the opening quarter. The touchdown was setup by a 48 yard quarterback scamper down the left seam by Dorian Ballentine. They would never relinquish the lead.

Racine Raiders kicker Justin Schoepke connects on a 42-yard field goal, the longest of his career.The Raiders put together a nice drive on their first possession but the drive stalled at the Blaze 25-yard line. Justin Schoepke booted a 42-yard field goal, the longest of his career, to get the Raiders on the board, 7-3, with 7:52 to play in the first quarter.

The Blaze scored on their next two possessions. Ballentine capped an 18-play, 59-yard drive that took 9:21 off the clock with a one-yard touchdown run with 13:31 to play in the first half.

James then topped off a 66-yard drive with a 29-yard touchdown run to give Des Moines a 21-3 lead with 6:59 to play in the first half.Racine Raiders tight end Travis Worthington finds his way into the endzone.

The Raiders would finally find the end zone with 1:11 to play in the opening half. Tyrone Galvin returned a booming 44 yard punt by Brent Tisl 79 yards for a score to cut the Blaze lead to 21-10.

The Raiders had a ray of hope as they’d get the ball first in the second half, but ended up punting it away. Ballentine ran in for his second touchdown of the game, this time from 16 yards out, ending a 6-play, 62 yard drive and giving Des Moines a 28-10 lead.

Ballentine got his first passing touchdown of the year with 1:22 to play in the third quarter when he found J. Heathcote near the 20-yard line. Heathcote slipped a tackle the completed the 47-yard pass play to extend Des Moines lead to 34-10.

Racine Raiders rookie running back Anthony Johnson runs away from trouble.James put the exclamation point on the Blaze win with a 60-yard touchdown run with 4:55 to play, making it 41-10.

Raiders rookie Anthony Johnson, in to relieve starter Craig McClelland in the blowout, hit tight end Travis Worthington on an 18-yard pass play with 2:22left in the game to narrow the deficit to 41-17.

The Blaze rushed 46 times for 374 yards and passed for another 143 yards in the win. The Raiders mustered just 94 yards on 27 carries and managed just 116 yards through the air as McClelland had a difficult time navigating a very strong wind blowing into his face in the second and third quarters.

The Raiders 14-game winning streak comes to an end with the loss and they fall to 0-1 on the 2015 season. The Blaze improved to 2-2, including being 2-0 at home.

The Raiders travel to Kimberly, Wisconsin, on Saturday, June 6, to play the Fox Valley Force. The game starts at noon.

PHOTO CREDITS: Justin Edwards