The final game of the regular 2012 season, which took place between the Richmond Raiders (10-2) and the Albany Panthers (10-2), is one no one who was there will soon forget. Suffice it to say the two teams kept the 3,735 fans present at the Richmond Coliseum on the edges of their seats for the entire evening. Not a single one left before the game clock read 0:00. How could they as the score seesawed back and forth, the lead changing 14 times during 60 minutes of regulation play.
As the clock ran down, it looked as though Albany might come out ahead. They scored just before the one minute warning, making it Panthers 65, Raiders 64. Then Panther kicker Ryan Gates (Gardner-Webb) put one through the uprights on the ensuing kickoff to make it 66-64, a double-wammy for the Raiders because it forced them to start on their own five yard line with only a minute left on the clock.
But the Raiders apparently had no intention of letting up. They drove down field as the seconds ticked off. It all came down to a 27-yard field goal attempt with four seconds remaining.
Richmond kicker T. C. Stevens (Hampden-Sydney) nailed it. Final score: 67 to 66, and the partisan crowd went wild.
Richmond quarterback Antwon Young (Villanova) completed 19 passes of 36 attempts for 246 yards and four touchdowns. He also ran eight times for 83 yards, scoring three more TDs on the ground in the process. Richmond wide receiver Jason Lovett (UVA Wise) also had a big night on offense with nine catches for 122 yards and three touchdowns. Albany quarterback Darnell Kennedy (Alabama State) was the offensive standout for the Panthers, completing 15 of 22 passing attempts for 257 yards––seven of those completions for touchdowns.
Coming up next, top seed Albany will play home state rival Columbus in the semi-finals of the Professional Indoor Football League playoffs. Second seed Richmond will host the Louisiana Swashbucklers in a semi-final PIFL game at the Richmond Coliseum on Monday, June 25. Kickoff will be at 7 p.m.