Raptors improve 8-4 record with win over Fort Wayne Freedom

StoryImage( ‘/Images/Story//Auto-img-11509169273740.jpg’, ‘Photo by Chris Anderson’, ‘Rock River's Tyrece Butler pulls in a pass from Ben Sankey for the Raptors' first score of the game. The Raptors came from behind to beat the Fort Wayne Freedom, 29-27, on a last-second field goal by Dillon Pieffer.’);
StoryImage( ‘/Images/Story//Auto-img-115091702529483.jpg’, ‘Photo by Chris Anderson’, ‘Rock River's Brian Ceaser bears down on the Fort Wayne quarterback during the Raptors' 29-27 win over the Freedom June 17. Rock River's Dillon Pieffer kicked a last second field goal to secure the come-from-behind victory.’);

A 38-yard field goal by Dillion Pieffer as time expired gave the Rock River Raptors a 29-27 win over the Fort Wayne Freedom at the Rock Pile Saturday night, June 17.

The win improves the Raptors record to 8-4 on the season while the Freedom fall to 3-9.

Fort Wayne had taken a 27-26 lead at the :33-second mark when Doug Daniel made a 24-yard field goal.

After a 7-yard kick return by Randy Bell, the Raptors’ offense went to work. Quarterback Ben Sankey hit Tyrece Butler with a 9-yard pass to the Rock River 21-yard line. Sankey completed another pass to Jeremiah Thompson for 6 yards to the Fort Wayne 23-yard line.

After an incomplete pass, the Raptors called time out with four seconds left to go in the game.

That’s when Pieffer came out and hit his dramatic field goal to give the Raptors the win on Trading Card Night.

The Raptors return home June 24 against the Bloomington Extreme. Kick-off is set for 7:35 p.m. It will be “Free Hot Dog Night” with the Raptors giving away 10,000 free hot dogs. The promotion is sponsored by Insight.

Rock River struck pay dirt on their first series of the game when Sankey found Butler on a 31-yard scoring strike and, after a Pieffer extra point kick, the Raptors led 7-0.

Fort Wayne came right back with a nine play, 30-yard drive that ended with a Daniel 20-yard field goal to make the score 7-3.

The Freedom made it 10-7 when they converted a Sankey fumble into a touchdown pass from running back Rocky Harvey to Adrian Reese from 30 yards out.

Things didn’t get any better for the Raptors in the second quarter as Fort Wayne blocked a Pieffer field goal attempt and turned it into a 17-7 lead after Randy Hutchison completed a 5-yard scoring pass to Keith Recker.

Rock River came right back and cut the Freedom lead to 17-14 after an eight-play, 30-yard drive that culminated in a Sankey touchdown pass to Willie Tolan from 7 yards out.

The Freedom lead held up as the two teams headed to the half-time locker-room.

Rock River took the lead back on their first series of the second half. A 26-yard touchdown pass from Sankey to Butler gave the Raptors a 21-17 lead.

Fort Wayne would get the momentum and the lead back on the next series as Hutchison found Dan Musielewicz on a 21-yard scoring strike and a 24-21 lead.

Rock River tied the game at 24-all when Pieffer made good from 20 yards out with 12:46 left in the game.

The Raptors would get two more points when they were awarded a safety when the Freedom were called for a holding penalty in the end-zone. That made the score 26-24 in favor of the Raptors.

Sankey ended the night completing 18 of 30 passes for 155 yards. Tolan ended the night with five catches for 30 yards and one touchdown reception. Butler caught four passes for 73 yards and two touchdown passes.

On the defensive side of the ball for the Raptors, Linebacker Greg Cole turned in another 8.5-tackle game. Ty Myers had an interception, and Fernandez Shaw added a sack.

Reese had a big night for the Freedom as he caught nine passes for 89 yards.

Raptor notes

Fans can listen to Saturday’s Extreme-Raptors game on the Rock River Raptors Radio Network. Coverage begins with Andy Gannon’s pre-game at 7:05 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 on www.raptorsuif.com.

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

Half-time of all three games will feature exhibition games 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.

From the June 21-27, 2006, issue

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