By Dwaine Radden Jr. University of New Mexico Sports Blog
The season finale for the Semi-pro California Raiders (9-0) ended with a close battle Saturday night. The Raiders came off a two week break which included a forfeit by the So Cal Gladiators and a much needed bye week following that. They wrapped their perfect season up with a 27-20 victory over the Las Vegas Trojans who were also undefeated coming into Saturday’s big game. The Raider defense had another stout performance, while being led by veteran player Donte “Pacman” Turner’s three interceptions, one of which was returned for a touchdown. One of Turner’s interceptions was returned to the 20 yard line, which set up a California Raider touchdown and helped change the momentum of the game which was hard fought by the Vegas Trojans. The Raider’s Head Coach Antonio Marshall said, “We didn’t perform well offensively, but the defense play well tonight.”
Offensively the Raiders were sparked by veteran quarterback Robert Fuller, who tossed two touchdown passes to veteran receiver Mikael “Melo” Bowden. Fuller finished with 150 yards passing and ran for a 15 yard touchdown, but it wasn’t only the veterans who made an impact. Newcomer Eric Marshall also had a great night rushing behind veteran lineman Kirk Fields, DeBron Jordan, Andrew Repena, and James Sears, who continued to dominate throughout the game.
Marshall had a 45 yard run which set up the go ahead touchdown for the Raiders. Owner Dwaine Radden was impressed by their effort stating, “These guys are the biggest and best offensive line in the history of the Franchise.”
Although the offense put up some points they had some costly turnovers that kept the Trojans in the game until the very end. The defense stepped up to save the day by keeping the Trojans from scoring offensively. Lamar Jones had an interception in the first quarter along with hard hitting from the Raider defense that held the Vegas Trojans to a goal line stand twice. Coach Marshall had high praise for the visiting team stating, “They’re a great organization who came to play and played a real good solid game.” The California Raiders will have time to rest before they prepare for the playoffs. The Raiders are no strangers to this type of success having won multiple championships with playoff appearances for the last seven years.