After weeks of uncertainty at the quarterback position, the River City Raiders might have found their permanent solution.
Paced by a near-perfect performance by gunslinger Mike Tindall, the St. Charles County-based squad trounced the Savannah Coastal Outlaws 67-18 at Family Arena Saturday and improved to 2-2 in Arena Pro Football (APF).
Tindall, the Raiders’ rookie, was 11-12 in passing for 220 yards and six touchdowns on the night. Shiver me timbers! Not too shabby for a debut in the role that was occupied by three other players earlier this season and with the Southeast Missouri alumnus’ output, there now seems to be the likelihood of some stability in the slot.
Running back Keenan Miller had three end zone romps and receivers Johnnie King III and Chris Headd each had a pair of six-point snares in the 49-point rout.
The most interesting offensive statistic read that out of the 18 Raiders’ plays from scrimmage, nine of them resulted in touchdowns and five were solo-play scoring drives.
River City scored a trio of touchdowns in the first quarter beginning with a four-play, 27-yard drive that was finished by Miller’s three yard plunge at the 12:40 mark. Kicker James Neal booted the extra point and the hosts quickly led 7-0.
The Raiders defense, paced by lineman Bernard Quinn’s quarterback sack on Savannah’s opening drive, forced a change of possession on downs. Two plays later, Tindall’s 26-yard touchdown strike to Headd with 6:20 left in the quarter resulted in the quarterback’s first-ever APF touchdown pass and the score was pushed to 14-0 following Neal’s converted kick.
River City’s defense shut down an Outlaw drive and with defensive back Theo Alexander’s pick with 4:30 left in the quarter, the Raiders started with possession at their own 20-yard line. One snap later, King corralled a 30-yard scoring pass from Tindall, resulting the locals’ 21-0 lead with 4:20 left following Neal’s successful kick.
Defensive lineman Keenan Mace pounced on a Savannah fumble with 1:05 left in the frame and a five-play, 45-yard drive was constructed by River City as the second quarter’s opening minutes ticked. Miller scored his second touchdown run, a two-yarder at the 12:35 mark, that pushed the score to 27-0. Neal then converted the PAT and later hit the uprights on the ensuing kickoff, resulting back-to-back solo-point strikes that widened the differential to 29 points.
The Outlaws’ offense continued to sputter midway through the quarter and the Raiders forced a turnover on downs with 7:05 left in the half. Headd’s second six-point catch, a 32-yarder from Tindall, resulted in River City’ 36-0 lead with 6:30 following Neal’s sixth PAT of the half.
Another Raiders’ d-stop – propelled by Mace, Quinn, Darrivs Ford, Rodarius Whittier, Bryan Lowery, Deon Morris and others, handed prime positioning back to the offense deep in the half and a with 1:35 left, Tindall connected with Gary Johnson from 14 yards out. River City stretched the score to 43-0 following another Neal PAT.
The Outlaws broke the shutout on the final play of the half as quarterback Jahad Taylor’s seven-yard pass to Dave Pool resulted in the Raiders’ scoreboard LED ribbon reading 43-6 at intermission.
Pool snared his second end zone catch, a one-harder from Taylor, with 8:45 left of the third quarter as Savannah narrowed River City’s lead to 43-12.
Miller got the Raiders ‘second-half scoring machine rolling and rushed for his third touchdown, a 10-yarder with 5:45 left in the frame that pushed the locals’ ledger past the half-century mark and with lineman Quinn’s PAT run (!) that followed, the hosts’ score blossomed to 52-12.
A pair of River City fourth quarter touchdowns, a pair of Tindall 20-plus-yard spirals to King III early and DeJuan Bolden late, resulted in the team’s 15-6 edge in the final frame and ensuing 67-18 victory.
Offensively, Miller paced the ground game with five carries for 43 yards and three touchdowns while King’s three catches resulted in 66 yards and a pair of scores.
River City returns to APF play at Family Arena Saturday, May 13 against the Myrtle Beach Sharks.
For more info, go to the team’s official website.
PASSING: Tindall: 11-12, 220 YDS, 6 TDs
RECEIVING: King: 3-66, 2 TDs. Headd: 2-58, 2 TDs. Bolden: 2-48, TD. Johnson: 2-36, TD. Jackson: 2-24, TD.
RUSHING: Miller: 5-43, 3 TDS.
KICKING: Neal: 7-7 XPATs, 1-PT Kickoff, 8 PTS.