August 24, 2013
PDT Sports Writer
Familiarity has bred contempt between the River City Raiders and the Kentucky Warriors in recent years.
But just like it has been in the past, the Warriors have an upper hand in the rivalry with two wins this season. Saturday night Kentucky looks for the three-game season series sweep as the No. 3 Warriors host the No. 7 Raiders Saturday night at Spartan Stadium in a Northern Frontier Football League Conference Championship.
“Every single time we play, you never know what’s going to happen,” Kentucky owner Ricky Witt said. “You never know who’s going to win…It’s usually the last two minutes that are really interesting.”
The Warriors are coming off a 38-0 win over the No. 6 Dayton Diesels one week ago. Although the score would indicate a lopsided offensive explosion, Witt felt his club’s defense really made a name for itself by holding the Diesels to 35 rushing yards on 27 carries and came away with four interceptions, two of them run back for touchdowns by Nate Fannin.
According to Witt, the Kentucky defense will need to step up again against an offense that is led by C.J. Tally at quarterback and Jimmy Conners at running back. River City advanced this far with a 34-30 upset over the No. 2 Lancaster Sabers.
“They’re a solid team, their offensive line is really good,” Witt said. “They run the ball with (Conners)…Real talented.”
The River City Division Player of the Year and Wheelersburg product Jordan Schankweiler will be a key on the run game for the Warriors. Last week he was held to 37 yards on 10 touches but scored the second touchdown in last Saturday’s win.
To make up for the low numbers on the ground game, Justin Lunsford threw for 150 yards on an 8-for-20 night that included an 81-yard strike to Jermaine Payton and an interception.
Another note that sticks in Witt’s mind is the last time his team lost to the Raiders two years ago in the postseason. One thing’s for certain, he does not want history to repeat itself.
Kickoff from Spartan Stadium is slated for 7:30 p.m. The winner will play for the NFFL title next week against the top-seeded Southern Ohio Buckeyes or the fourth-seeded Cincinnati Hawks.
Cody Leist can be reached at 353-3101, ext. 294, or firstname.lastname@example.org. For breaking sports news, follow Cody on Twitter @CodyLeist.