June 6, 2006 - Rockford, IL -The Rock River Raptors shoot for their fifth straight win when they hop back on the bus and head west to Nebraska and a Saturday night date with Omaha. Kick-off is set for 7:30 p.m. Rock River will have revenge on their minds as the Beef were the last team to hand the Raptors their last loss, a 41-30 decision at the “Rock Pile” on April 29th.
Since that last loss to the Beef, Rock River has rattled off four straight wins, including two over previously un-beaten Lexington and are now 7-3 on the season and lead the Bloomington Extreme by two games in the race for the UIF’s Central Division title.
The first win by the Raptors over the Horsemen came on May 20th at the “Rock Pile” it a 62-43 decision.
In their last game, Rock River defeated Lexington 55-46 at Rupp Arena in Kentucky.
On this current winning streak, Rock River also defeated Fort Wayne 49-36 and grabbed a home win over Bloomington 53-45.
The Raptors offense has been led by quarterback Ben Sankey, who leads all UIF quarterbacks in passing effincey with a 117.4 passer rating. Sankey is also third in the league in both total offense and passing average per game. It should also be noted that Sankey has thrown just two interceptions out of 262 pass attempts. His 33 touchdown passes ranks him third in the league.
Reigning UIF Rookie of the Year Luke McArdle currently leads all receivers in receptions per game. Another one of Sankey’s strengths this season has been the ability to spread to ball out to different receivers. McArdle leads the team with 47 catches for 530 yards. Former University of Illinois wide receiver Ade Adeyemo has 40 catches for 401 yards. Jeremiah Thompson has 30 catches for 255 yards while former University of Michigan standout has caught 26 passes for 298 yards.
Running back Randy Bell has caught 24 passes for 146 yards to go along with 393 yards rushing on 122 carries. Bell trails Omaha’s R.J. Rollins and Sioux Falls’ Marques Smith in the rushing category. The Raptors have also got stellar play from their defense this season as defensive end Fernandez Shaw tops the UIF with eight sacks. Former Virginia Tech standout Mike Davis leads the team in tackles with 43.5 and Billy Cook paces the team in interceptions with five.
The UIF has also taken notice of the play of the Raptors this season with Sankey, Shaw and back-up quarterback Ryan Aulenbacher receiving Player of the Week awards.
Rock River kicker Dillon Pieffer has won the league’s Special Teams Player of the Week award twice.
- Fans can listen to Saturday’s Raptors-Beef 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 return home to the “Rock Pile on June 17th, when the Raptors host the Fort Wayne Freedom, it will be “Raptors Trading Card Night”. The first 1,500 fans ages 14 and under will receive a free set of Raptor Trading Cards. The event is sponsored by WTVO Channel 17 and by Ink Enterprises.
- When the Bloomington Extreme come to the “Rock Pile” on June 24th for there third meeting with the Raptors, it will be “Free Hot Dog Night” as the Raptors will be giving away 10,000 free hot dogs while they last.
- The Raptors wrap up the regular season on July 8th with a date against the Ohio Valley Greyhounds. That game will feature Youth Hat Night where the first 1,500 youths ages 17 and under with 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 (815)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 (815)965-7000.
UNITED INDOOR FOOTBALL PO Box 3744 Omaha, NE 68103-0744 Phone: 888-433-4UIF; Fax: 888-433-4842