Raptors’ heroics produce win over Bloomington Extreme

StoryImage( ‘/Images/Story//Auto-img-11515232986509.jpg’, ‘Photo by Chris Anderson’, ‘Rock River’s Jeremiah Thompson pulls in a 38-yard pass from Ryan Aulenbacher to give the Raptors the lead early in the game. The Raptors went on to win, 37-33, over Bloomington at the MetroCentre June 24.’);

For the second straight week, the Rock River Raptors got some last second heroics and came away with a win.

Against Bloomington, the Extreme took a 33-30 lead over Rock River with 12 seconds left to go in the game, thanks to a 43-yard field goal by kicker Peter Christofilakos.

On the ensuing kick-off, the Raptors’ Billy Cook took the ball at his own 7-yard line and went right at the Extreme defense and then cut to the right and 43 yards later, was in the end-zone for a touchdown. Dillion Pieffer added the extra point for a 37-33 Rock River win on Free Hot Dog Night at the “Rock Pile.”

The win makes the Raptors 9-4 on the season while Bloomington falls to 5-9.

The Raptors return to action July 1 when they play their final road game of the regular season when they travel to Carver Arena in Peoria to take on the winless Rough Riders. Kick-off is set for 7 p.m.

Last week, it was Pieffer who was the hero as he kicked a 38-yard field goal as time expired to give the Raptors a 29-27 win over Fort Wayne.

Like Fort Wayne did a week ago, Bloomington made the Raptors earn the win.

In fact, the Extreme jumped out to a 3-0 first quarter lead on a Christofilakos’ 23-yard field goal.

Bloomington held the Raptors scoreless until the 13:27 mark of the second quarter, when quarterback Ryan Aulenbacher connected with Jeremiah Thompson for a 38-yard scoring strike to give the Raptors a 6-3 lead after the extra point failed.

Bloomington took the lead right back on an 18-yard Burk scoring pass to Reggie Gray.

The two teams then traded touchdowns with Terrell Goldsmith scampering five yards for a score and Burk hitting Gray with another touchdown pass, this one from 13 yards out for a 16-12 Extreme lead.

Pieffer made it 16-15 as he connected at the 0:46 second mark of the second quarter from 38 yards out.

The Raptors would come out on fire in the second half and score the next 15 points to take a 30-16 lead.

Nose tackle Anthony Harris led the Raptors’ defense on a stop of Extreme running back James Fuller in the end zone for a safety to give the Raptors a 17-16 lead.

Rock River would later get another defensive score as Brandon Johnson intercepted a Burk pass and returned it 25 yards for a touchdown.

Goldsmith also added a 1-yard touchdown run for his second of the night to give the Raptors that 30-16 lead.

Just as Rock River was able to stretch the lead to 14 points, Bloomington was able to rally right back.

Fuller would start the rally with a 24-yard touchdown run to cut the Raptors’ lead to 30-23.

On the next series, Bloomington would get the ball back on the third interception of the night by former University of Illinois defensive back James Cooper.

Burk would make the Raptors pay for the turnover as he connected for the third time with Gray from 25 yards to tie the game at 30-30.

Aulenbacher ended the night completing 15 of 30 passes for 160 yards and one touchdown pass and three interceptions.

In the receiving department, Ade Adeyemo caught five passes for 37 yards. Thompson caught four passes for 63 yards, and Tyrece Butler added four catches for 41 yards. Goldsmith ended the night carrying the ball 12 times for 43 yards.

On defense, Brian Cesear paced the Raptors with 8.5 tackles, and Kareem Timbers added eight tackles.

The Raptors sacked Burk five times with Cesear and Fernandez Shaw getting 2.5 sacks apiece. Shaw also added 4.5 tackles for loss.

Johnson added two more interceptions including the one that he returned for a touchdown to end the night with three.

Raptor notes

Fans can listen to Saturday’s Raptors-Rough Riders game from Peoria on the Rock River Raptors Radio Network. Coverage begins with Andy Gannon’s pre-game at 6:40 p.m. on ESPN 1380-The Jock and on 93.7 FM the “Big Easy.” The game is also available on the Internet. Log on to www.espn1380.com, www.wekz.com and .

The Raptors wrap up the regular season on July 8 with a date against the Ohio Valley Greyhounds. That game will feature Youth Hat Night, where the first 1,500 youths ages 17 and younger will receive a free Raptors hat courtesy of Pepsi and Fox 39 TV.

Half-time of the last home game will feature an exhibition game from the Rockford NFL Flag Football program.

Individual tickets are on sale now by calling the MetroCentre box office at 968-5222 or by logging on to www.centreevents.com. Group tickets are also on sale by contacting Director of Ticket Sales Laura Houston in the Raptors office at 965-7000.

Raptor fans planning to attend the concert in Davis Park Saturday night are urged to come early to the Raptors game at the MetroCentre and show their ticket to the concert and receive a $12 ticket for $9.

From the June 28-July 4, 2006, issue

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