Joel Dapra had a career night for the Racine Raiders Saturday night at Hammes Field in a Mid-States Football League (MSFL) Northwest Division game against the Racine Threat. The Raiders beat the Threat, 26-14, featuring four field goals by Dapra.
In addition to his four field goals (30, 35, 29 and 35 yards), Dapra had three punts that averaged over 40 yards, including two that were downed inside the 20-yard line. Dapra came into the game averaging about 33 yards per punt.
The Threat defense did a tremendous job holding the high-powered Raiders offense to just 26 points as the Raiders ran 45 of their 53 offensive plays in Threat territory.
After a scoreless first quarter, the Raiders would get on the scoreboard first courtesy of a Dapra 30-yard field goal. The Raiders were fortunate to get to attempt the field goal as Traves Worthington mishandled the handoff on the end around play but the ball bounced right back to him. The Raiders led 3-0 with 10:43 to play in the first half.
The Threat took the lead with 3:29 to play in the first half on a 57-yard end around by Troy Collier. The play capped a six play, 92-yard drive and gave the Threat a 7-3 lead.
The Raiders would strike back on the next drive. The Raiders started at their own 35-yard line after T.J. Hearn kicked the ball out of bounds. The Raiders mixed several short passes with runs of 12, 14 and 10 yards by Demetrius Thompson, J.R. Taylor and Craig McClelland. McClelland ran a bootleg to the left side of the field and found a lane to the end zone on his ten-yard touchdown run to give the Raiders a 10-7 lead at halftime.
The only scoring in the third quarter came on a 35-yard field goal by Dapra, giving the Raiders a 13-7 lead with 4:16 to play in the quarter.
Dapra pooched a kick towards the Raiders sideline on the ensuing kickoff. It hit off of a Threat defender and was recovered by the Raiders at the Threat 30-yard line. Torris Childs, making his 2012 Raiders debut, carried the ball seven times for 20 yards. The Raiders were also assisted by an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty against the Threat that put them at the Threat five-yard line. McClelland was sacked for a loss of seven yards on the next play and the Raiders drive stalled. Dapra botted his third field goal of the game, this one from 29 yards out, to give the Raiders a 16-7 lead.
Dapra kicked his fourth field goal with 7:21 to play in the game, this time from 35 yards, to give the Raiders a 19-7 lead.
The Raiders would seal the game with 5:16 to play when Craig McClelland hit a wide open Terrence Fitch on a 34-yard strike that gave the Raiders a 26-7 lead.
The Threat took advantage of a Ryan Layman punt return that gave them the ball at the Raiders 21-yard line. On 3rd-and-16, Gordy Bittner, Jr., found Collier at the five-yard line. Collier made a great adjustment to the ball and fought off Laverl Johnson to get into the end zone. The Hearn extra point attempt was good, providing the final score of 26-14.
The Raiders clinched the MSFL Northwest Division with the win, finishing 3-0. The Raiders improve to 5-0 in the MSFL. The Threat fall to 1-1 in the Northwest Division and 1-3 in the MSFL.
The Raiders host the Roscoe Rush, who are the back-to-back champions of the MSFL, this Saturday at 7 p.m. at Historic Horlick Athletic Field. It's Alumni Night featuring players, coaches and staff from the 60-year history of the team.