Albany, Georgia – the Richmond Raiders came up short in what for indoor football might be characterized as a defensive struggle Saturday night before 5,275 rowdy Albany Panther fans.
Neither team scored on its first possession, but the Raiders moved the ball well on the second, scoring on a 15-yard pass from Richmond quarterback Antwon Young to Jason Lovett. J.C. Steven kick was good to make the score 7 to 0.
The Panthers scored next on a five-yard pass from quarterback Lester Cecil to wide receiver Antwone Savage. Panther kicker Geoff Boyers extra point attempt failed, leaving the Raiders ahead by 7 to 6. But the Panthers held the Raiders and scored on their next possession via a 15-yard pass from Cecil to Savage. They never relinquished lead.
The Raiders fell farther behind in the third quarter. At one point the Panthers led by 32 to 18. Then the Raiders scored ten unanswered points to bring the score to 32 to 28, capped by a T.C. Steven 20-yard field goal with 9:37 left in the fourth quarter.
The Raider defense held the Panthers after the following kick off, and it looked as though they might retake the lead as they drove to the Panther 22. But with second and ten to go, Panther defensive back Core Rue intercepted a pass from Young and returned it 34 yards for a score. Geoff Boyers’ kick for the extra point was good, and the Panthers led 39 to 28. Boyer then placed the ball through the uprights on the kickoff for an Uno, raising the Panther total to 40 points.
While the Panthers outscored the Raiders to win the game, the Richmond showed it can move the ball. The Raiders made 14 first downs compared to nine for Albany. Richmond’s offense totaled 242 yards compared to only 126 for the Panthers. Antwon Young completed 14 of 37 passes for 168 years and proved he is a major threat on his feet, gaining 74 yards on 11 carries, even after subtracting yardage for a couple of sacks.
The Raiders next take on the Knoxville Nighthawks, March 24, at the Richmond Coliseum. Kickoff is at 7 p.m.