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Playoff hunt continues for Richmond Raiders

RichmondRaidersThe Richmond Raiders will close out the home portion of the 2014 regular season against the Nashville Venom Saturday night in the teams’ first and only meeting of the year. The Raiders are still in playoff contention with two games remaining, while the Venom have clinched first place in the American Conference.

The game will be on Show Your Smile Night sponsored by Horsey Orthodontics. Ticket specials including discounted lower level seats are available.

Kickoff is at 7:00 pm at the Richmond Coliseum.

The Raiders are on a four game winning streak and are tied for second place in the National Conference. They defeated conference foe Harrisburg last week, 46-29, to win the season series with the Stampede two games to one. For the first time this year, the Raiders never trailed in the game. They picked off five Stampede passes and registered five sacks in allowing a season low point total. Kevin Allen returned an interception for a touchdown, and Torez Jones and Malik Cromartie had two picks each.

T.C. Stevens set two league records with five field goals and 22 total points kicking. He made all four of his extra points, had three unos for the third straight game, and earned PIFL Special Teams Player of the Week honors for the second time this year.

The Venom clinched first place in the American Conference last week with a thrilling 60-56 win over the Columbus Lions. The fourth quarter alone featured six lead changes, with the final one coming on Charles McCullum’s touchdown pass to Phillip Barnett with five seconds left. After Nashville held the lead for almost the entire first half, Columbus got a spark from Leroy Vann, who returned a kickoff the length of the field to put the Lions ahead in the third quarter. The Lions were poised to extend their lead after the Venom missed a field goal, but Luke Halpin fumbled and Walter Thomas returned it for a touchdown, marking the Venom’s second defensive score of the game. The teams traded touchdowns throughout the fourth quarter, with Columbus scoring with 55 seconds left setting up Nashville’s game winning drive. The Lions had one last chance to win, but Luke Halpin’s pass into the end zone was incomplete.

McCullum finished with 361 yards and five touchdowns. Jordan Jolly had 15 catches for a PIFL season high 226 yards and was named the league’s Offensive Player of the Week. Kenny Veal was named Defensive Player of the Week on the strength of an interception and a fumble return for a touchdown.

McCullum is the Venom’s third starting quarterback of the season, and has picked up where the previous two left off before ascending to the Arena Football League. His passer rating of 108.99 would rank second in the league if he had enough games played to qualify. His favorite targets are Jordan Jolly and Phillip Barnett, who are each in the league’s top five in receptions, yards, and touchdowns. Nashville’s offense leads the league in total yardage and in points, but the Raiders’ defense is tops in yards and points allowed. The Raiders also lead the league in sacks and tackles for loss, but the Venom’s offensive line has been stingiest in giving up sacks, so the efficiency of both units when the Venom have the ball will be quite important.

Saturday’s matchup will be Show Your Smile Night, sponsored by Horsey Orthodontics. Former Washington Redskin and Richmond native Shawn Barber will be on hand for a meet and greet session with autographs and pictures. Everyone in attendance can enter the luxury car contest, and one lucky fan will win their choice of a BMW, Mercedes, or Jaguar for a weekend.

Tickets are available in a buy 3, get 1 free package, as well as a family 4-pack which includes tickets, hot dogs, popcorn, and soft drinks all for one low price. Doors open at 5:30, so get to the Coliseum early for all the fun! Tickets start as low as $7, and are available on the Raiders’ website, RichmondRaidersProFootball.com, or by calling 1-855-GO-RAIDERS or 804-780-0430. Additionally, fans can contact the Richmond Coliseum box office or visit ticketmaster.com.