Thursday, September 8, 2011

New Site Location

I am please to announce a new location for all Richmond Raider Blog info. My new page is

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Richmond Raiders Getting Closer to League Announcement

My source has reiterated that the Richmond Raiders will join the new Texas based indoor football league currently being organized by Chad Dittman.  He believes the official league announcement will be made 09/15/11.  This annoucement will include releasing the teams in each conference as well as 2012 schedule.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Maurice Thorne: the Local Guy

If you were to come across Maurice (Rece) Thorne as you walked the streets of Richmond, you would have no idea he was a professional athlete.  He comes off as just another local guy who works, enjoys his family and loves football.  But once you get to know him, you realize just how passionate he is about playing for his hometown team, the Richmond Raiders.

Raised in Hopewell, VA, Rece began playing football at the age of seven in a local junior league where he started at HB and won a title under Coach Peanut.  As he continued through his adolescence, Rece played at several positions, but found his true calling at DB.  The highlight of his high school career came in December of 2003 when Hopewell High School beat Massaponax in the state championship. The roster was loaded with football talent, including Jerrett Brown (Richmond Raiders), PJ Berry (New Orleans VooDoo), and DeShaun Parker.  The victory was even more meaningful that year as it was Rece's final year at Hopewell and they had beaten local rival Meadowbrook to make it to the the championship game. 

After high school graduation, Rece attended North Carolina Wesleyan.  While the main focus was academics, he did join the football team, where he went on to play in five games.  Rece decided to leave North Carolina after his freshman year and moved back to the Richmond area to pursue a career in finance.  Even though he had put football behind him, it called him back in the form of local semi-pro teams.

Rece joined the RAFL VA Cowboys ( and the VA Hornets ( and continued to grow as a defensive player.  It was at one of these team functions that he first heard about the Richmond Raiders in the fall of 2009.  Immediately Rece knew it was time to go pro.

He attended the open try-outs and made the 2010 roster for the Richmond Raiders, playing along side Jerome Mann and Deleon Raynor in the backfield, and Jerrett Brown at LB.  The Raiders would end up with a 6-8 record in the AIFA East and missed the playoffs.  After the 2010 season, the Raider roster faced massive turn over as the core of the 2010 Richmond Revolution came aboard and a majority of the first year Raider players signed with Fayetteville.  Rece stayed put.

The 2011 Raider team was stacked with talent but was plagued with injuries.  Rece didn't see much playing time during the first half of the season, but when Stephen Cason and JR Rosegreen went out, he came in and became a play maker.  He would finish the 2011 season leading the Raider defense in total interceptions.  The Raiders finished the 2011 season with a record of 6-6.

When asked what it meant to him to be a part of the Richmond Raiders, Rece responded "I'm the under the radar guy.  I'm the local guy.  When you go to Kroger you might see me there.  I'm not going anywhere unless I get called up.  I will never forget where I came from."

If Rece can come back in 2012 and repeat his 2011 performance, there is no question that the he will leave the under the radar title far behind.

Follow me on twitter @rubenfoster

Thursday, August 25, 2011

The End of the Richmond Revolution?

Just released today. Details the financial problems plaguing Steve Burton and SportsQuest.  The Richmond Revolution are no more.  Article claims they will only be out one year, but the team will probably never return.  I wouldn't trust Steve Burton as far as I could throw him.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Breaking News

***None of the following has been confirmed by Raider management***
An anonymous source outside of Richmond has confirmed the Raiders will indeed leave the SIFL and move to a new league for the 2012 season.  This league will not be the UIFL or the IFL as I had previously stated, but a new league made up of some old SIFL teams.  If his information is correct the league would look like this:

Southeastern Conference:

1. Alabama
2. Albany
3. Columbus
4. Knoxville
5. Louisiana
6. Richmond

The Western Conference would be comprised of six teams all in Texas and would be known as the "Lone Star" conference. 
What this means:

In 2011 the Raiders lost twice to Albany and once to Columbus.  Alabama was terrible and was an easy home win.  Louisiana (formerly owned by Thom Hager) represented the Eastern conference in the SIFL championship game, and are strong competitors each year.
This would put Richmond into a very tough conference, but would be financially less costly than the IFL or UIFL.  The Raiders have played two seasons in two leagues, and at the end of each season each league failed.  The failure was not caused by the Fraizer family, but by cheap league owners that favored their own personal needs over the league (John Morris, Thom Hager).  This third league will give Elizabeth and Mike Fraizer some league control.  I expect an official announcement by August 28th.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Rumor Mill

The rumor mill is picking up as we get further away from the end of the regular season for the Richmond Raiders.

Based on my information, a ton of Raider news will be breaking in the next four weeks.  To date, the only returning coach is James Fuller.  The position coaches have not been offered contracts yet.  Whether they return in 2012 remains to be seen, but right now the only coach on staff is returning head coach James Fuller.  2011 defensive coach Brian Edmonds did confirm he has not been offered a contract for the 2012 season yet.  October tryouts for next season should also be announced very soon as well.

Of course the news everyone is waiting for will be the league affiliation.   It seems the SIFL is falling apart quickly as the Alabama Hammers and Richmond Raiders have both removed all SIFL links, logos and mentions from their official websites.  This is likely a way for the teams to move away from league president Thom Hager and start fresh somewhere else.  Possible leagues are the IFL, UIFL or a newly created league.  John Morris's new AIFA seems like a bad idea for the franchise.  Expect an official league announcement sometime shortly after Labor Day.

The Richmond Revolution seem to be falling apart.  Two weeks ago the Revolution began releasing essential team employees from it's payroll (this has been confirmed).   It also appears that the URL for the Richmond Revolution has expired
When asked if there would be a 2012 season, a member of the Revolution staff responded 'As far as we know' via the official Facebook page. 

Friday, August 12, 2011

First Meeting of the Unofficial Richmond Raider Fan Club

Tonight the Unofficial Richmond Raider Fan Club (URRFC) gathered for its inaugural meeting at Big Al's Sports Bar & Grill for food, drinks and Redskins football.  Everyone had a great time. Thank you to all that attended including, my beautiful wife Catie Foster, Law Lewis, Robbie Clark, Jackson Clark, Lady Raider Kelly, Big Al, Gary Criswell, Spencer Sturgeon, Joanne Sturgeon and Michelle Sturgeon.

Richmond Raider Social at Big Al's Sports Bar & Grill

This evening Big Al's Sports Bar & Grill will be hosting a social for Raider fans, players and staff beginning at 6:30pm.  C Derek Stout and newly retired DL Law Lewis have both confirmed attendance.  Gary Criswell (manger of the restaurant) will have the AFL championship game on a couple of screens along with the Redskins vs Steelers preseason game.  Big Al's is located at

3641 Cox Rd #F
Richmond, VA 23233

Pictures will follow.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Wes McElroy Agrees to Attend a Richmond Raider Game

Tonight was 'Football Frenzy' night at the Flying Squirrels game at the Diamond. As guest fan judge for the Lady Raider auditions I was able to attend for free and judge a short dance routine prior to the National Anthem.

Luckily for me just before entering the stadium to take my seat as guest judge, who should arrive but one Wes McElroy. Immediately I darted over to the Sports AM 910 tent and cornered him. After waiting a few minutes for Wes to end his conversation with Gary Criswell, I introduced myself. He was very friendly and I did apologize to him for being a jerk on this blog. He understood and said it was part of his job (also something was said about the 1st amendment). After the small talk subsided I got straight to the point. I flat out asked Wes if he had ever attended a Raider game. Surprisingly he never has. That is when I made Wes an offer he could not refuse. He would attend the Raider home opener in March of 2012 at no cost to him and as my guest. He accepted.

In March of 2012 one Wesley Adam McElroy will discover how incredible sitting on the dasher wall at a Raider game really is.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Wes McElroy Update and Lady Raider Auditions

As you can see from my previous blog post, I shared my opinions on WRNL's afternoon host Wes McElroy a couple of weeks back.  It was a blog I had considered posting for some time but was hesitant due to its negative tone.  After much deliberation I went ahead published it, and once it was posted it was washed from my mind.

Anyhow, yesterday afternoon out of nowhere I received the following tweet:

@rubenfoster dude I just saw your blog and Top 10 [6] ...that is awesome!!!!

Two things came to mind upon reading his tweet to me:
1. Its good to see Wes has a sense of humor and didn't lash out at me in anger.
2. I can now remove #5 since he tweeted at me.

Thank you for getting back to me Wes.

The Lady Raiders Dance Team is holding auditions for the 2011-2012 squad. Final auditions and judging will take place at the 2011 Carytown Watermelon Festival Sunday afternoon beginning at 12:30pm. I was forunate enough to be selected to judge the auditions as the 'Fan Judge'. Very soon the 24 newest memebers of the Lady Raiders will be selected. Good luck to all of the participants.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Top 6 Reasons How and Why Wes McElroy Annoys Me

Wes McElroy is a sports talk radio host on WRNL in Richmond, VA.  He can be heard on AM 910 Monday through Friday from 3pm - 6pm.  He annoys me for many reason and it's too bad he owns the best time slot for sports radio.  So, with that, I give you Ruben's "Top 6 Reasons How and Why Wes McElroy Annoys Me."

6. His outro music at the end of his show is completely aggravating, old and tired.  It is played just prior to 6pm and ends every show.

5.  I have 'tweeted' at Wes several time. He has never responded to any of them.

4. I have emailed Wes twice. One time he responded after 10 days, the other time not at all.

3. Wes loves baseball, it's his favorite sport, which in itself does not bother me. What does bother me is his incessent coverage the sport.  Baseball is boring and many sports fans just don't care about it any more.  We get plenty of Flying Squirrels coverage from Wes because of this.

2. Wes is from Philadelphia, PA and relocated here to take his current job.  Because he grew up in Philadelphia he talks about the Phillies constantly.  This is Richmond and most sports fans don't care about a team that plays 250 miles up 95N.  Richmonders identify with Richmond teams and Washington DC teams, not Philadelphia teams (Eagles DUH).

And the number 1 reason how and why Wes McElroy annoys me:

In the lone email he replied to "My listeners don't care about minor league football. Only the NFL and college football."

You are wrong Wes McElroy.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Would You Pay $17 to Eat a Sandwich From Panera?

A week ago my family and I wandered into the Panera Bread in Chester, VA at the corner of Jeff Davis and Route 10.  Upon entering the store, an enormous sign advertising a brand new lobster sandwich jumped out at me. I am a life long lover of anything lobster, but my wife was picking up the tab and I didn't want her to pay the $16.99 asking price to feed my inner lobster demons. 

All week I thought about that lobster sandwich.  I didn't matter if I was at home watching TV or answering emails at work.  It takes a lot of balls to list a $17 sandwich on your menu.  I had to try it.

A few months back the local Quiznos started selling an $8 lobster sub at select locations.  This also interested me, and after driving to three different locations I finally found a Quiznos that was not sold out of the lobster sandwich (VCU bookstore on Broad st).  I learned a very important lesson that day at VCU, you get what you pay for.  The lobster sub was horrible.  It was a massive glob of mayonaise with tiny particles of lobster meat mixed in.

So today I went back to the very same Panera I visited last week and placed my order.  What I was served was pleasantly surprising.  The sandwich consisted of 16 ounces of large chunk lobster meat served on a bed of lettuce, a light mayonaise sauce on a 'freshly baked' ciabatta bread roll.  When you look at the sandwich the very first thing you notice is the sheer size of the lobster chunks, they were massive.  In addition to the large chunks of lobster, what sets this sandwich apart from the Quiznos failed sandwich attempt was the mayo.  The Quiznos sandwich used mayo as its base, while Panera used lobster as its base.  Panera used a watery mayo, but it was applied very sparingly. In fact, the mayo seemed to be more of a sauce than a binder.  This made the lobster the main attraction instead of the cheap mayo.  As I picked at the sandwich I noticed an entire piece of lobster claw on my bread.  If I could have changed anything it would have been the bread.  I am not a big ciabatta fan but went with it since it was standard on the sandwich.  French or regular Italian would have tasted better in my opinion.  Also there wasn't much seasoning on the meat, so I sprinkled on some salt.

After I finished the sandwich I approached the manager and inquired about how the lobster sandwich is cooked and assembled.  The manager was a friendly guy and was completely honest about the meal.  He stated the meat is comprised completely of lobsters caught off the coast of Nova Scotia, and in fact the lobster was not cooked at the individual Panera location.  The meat is delivered to the store precooked and chopped in giant bags, then once an order is placed an employee assembles the sandwich.

So, would you pay $17 for a sandwich from Panera? I did and it was pretty good. 

The new Panera lobster sandwich gets a 4 out of 5.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Former Raiders Still Playing and Miss United States

This week has been a busy one for the staff and players of the 2011 Richmond Raiders.

Raider Louis Corum is slated to play at LB for the Virginia Destroyers as they begin their inauguaral season next month in Virginia Beach.  It appears that Corum will have a shot at making the final roster.

Raider Tunde Ogun unfortunately did not make the roster for the Destroyers due to significant competition at the HB position.  However, Tunde is playing for the Richmond based semi-pro team, the Virginia Hornets.  The Hornets played their season opener tonight in NC and pulled out a 47-0 win.  Tunde had six carries for 108 yards and one touchdown.

Raider Joshua Smith attended try outs this week in Tampa, FL for the AFL Tampa Bay Storm.  While the AFL season is drawing to a close, Kicker Greg Gunderson has struggled all season and the team is looking to replace him.  Josh was one of three kickers that were brought in to try out, with SIFL Special Teams MVP and former Trenton Steel kicker, Craig Camay making the trip to Tampa as well.  We wish Josh all the luck in the world in making this AFL dreams become reality.

Lady Raider Dance Team Coordinator, Laura Eilers was chosen to represent Virginia in the Ms. United States Pageant earlier this year.  On Thursday July 14th Laura was crowned 2011 Ms. United States in Las Vegas.  Laura will spend the next 12 months representing the Richmond Raiders and Virginia across the country and promoting her platform of cell phone free driving.

Lastly on July 9th, as part of WRNL's 2011 Walk on Week, myself, Gary Criswell and Law Lewis shared an hour of live radio discussing the current state of indoor football in Richmond.  Guests included Joshua Smith, Dan Ryan and Tommy Benizio.  The podcast is now available online at the below link.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Michael Woodhouse Takes Home Top DL Honor

Today the SIFL announced the All-League Team for 2011 and two members of the Richmond Raiders were awarded positions.  DL Michael Woodhouse, who led the entire league in sacks, was the top DL player named.  Additionally, FB Brandon Isaiah was named to the second team.  While no actuall All-Pro game will be played (which is common for minor leauge sports) the mere fact of being named to the team in itself is an honor.  Congratulations to both Michael and Brandon.

Entire List

QB – Adam DiMichele, Erie
RB – Carlos Alsup, Houston
OL – DeMarqus Daughtry, Houston
OL – Dion Small, Columbus
OL – Raymond James, Rio Grande Valley
WR – Kevin Concepcion, Erie
WR – Dan Huff, Trenton
WR – Timone Marshall, Houston
K – Craig Camay, Trenton
K -  Trey Crum, Columbus (tie)

DL – Michael Woodhouse, Richmond
DL – John Paul Jones, Louisiana
DL – Brian Ellis, Rio Grande Valley
LB – DeAndrea Fillmore, Corpus Christi
LB – Justin Rivers, Columbus
DB – Lavance Richmond, Albany
DB – Damian Daniels, Columbus
DB – Damien Huren, Louisiana
KR – Anthony Merritt, Columbus

QB – E.J Nemeth, Trenton
QB -- Robert Kent, Houston (tie)
RB – Brandon Isaiah, Richmond
WR – Antwone Savage, Albany
WR – Oderick Turner, Trenton
WR – Marcus Wilridge, Louisiana
WR – Gerald Gales, Columbus (tie)
OL – Marco McGee, Rio Grande Valley
OL-  Aaron Wheeler, Albany
OL-   Jeff Ridgle, Louisiana
K-  Blake Bercegay, Louisiana

DL – Larry Brown, Houston
DL – Tito Hannah, Albany
DL – Chris Bradwell, Columbus
LB – KaMichael Hall, Houston
LB --  Darian Payne, Alabama
DB— Demetrie McCray, Albany
DB—Eric Wicks, Erie
DB—Darvin Peterson, Houston
KR – Ramonce Taylor, Rio Grande Valley

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Albany Panters Take Home the SIFL Title

Congratulations to the Albany Panthers for winning the first championship title in team history.  The Panthers beat the Louisiana Swashbucklers last night at home, in a game that also broke team attendance records.  The below article details the game and the controversial officiating.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

"Kicking the Uno" to air live on Sports Radio 910 July 9th

As part of "Walk on Week 2011" on Richmond Sports Radio 910, a 60 minute show dedicated to professional indoor football will air at 12:01pm on July 9th. 

"Kicking the Uno" will be hosted by myself, Ruben Foster, and will include in studio guests Richmond Raider Business Operations Manager Gary Criswell and former Richmond Raider Lawrence "The Law" Lewis.  SIFL PR guru Dan Ryan, IFL commish Tommy Benizio and Richmond Raider kicker Joshua Smith round off the guest list.  Listeners are encouraged to call in to the show by dialing 804-345-0910.

Topics will include the current state of indoor football, long terms plans for local teams and player backgrounds.

For more information on "Walk on Week 2011".

To stream live on July 9th outside of the Richmond, VA area.

Follow me on twitter @rubenfoster or email comments to

Richmond Revolution Returning in 2012

For months now the indoor football community has speculated that the Richmond Revolution would fold sometime between now and next Spring.  Apparently the Revolution are planning to move forward and field a team in 2012 proving us all wrong.

The team has posted rates for 2012 season tickets on their official website, a clear sign that Steve Burton has no intention of calling it quits even after finishing the season 3-11 and playing many a rainy outdoor football game.  It remains to be seen if the Revolution will play indoors next year given the lack of facilities at the SportsQuest campus.  Eventually they will have to play indoors since it is the Indoor Football League.

Also, please forgive me Revolution fans reading this, but it is time to stop clinging to "2010 Franchise of the Year". The Revolution and the Raiders have both won an equal amount of playoff games: 0.  Its time to move on already.

My apologizes to Robbie and Shawn.

Follw me on twitter @rubenfoster or email comments to

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

SIFL Playoffs

The end of the SIFL playoffs are in sight and here is where the league stands.

In the Eastern Conference semi-finals the Columbus Lions beat out the upstart Trenton Steel 62-60 and the Albany Panther crushed the high power offense of the Erie Explosion 68-43.

In the Western Conference semi-finals the undefeated Houston Stallions defeated the Rio Grande Valley Magic 65-62 while the Louisiana Swashbucklers silenced the Corpus Christi Hammerheads 59-20.

The Eastern Conference title game pitted the Albany Panthers against the defending SIFL champion Lions in a heated rematch of the bitter rival teams. Albany was able to pull off the win 75 - 61.

The Western Conference title game had the undefeated Houston Stallions against the Louisiana Swashbucklers.  The Swashbucklers were able to pull off the upset and defeated the Stallions 56 - 41.

Just this afternoon the League announced the SIFL Championship game will take place this Saturday 7/02/11 in the James H Gray Civic Center in Albany, GA.  Pre-game festivities begin at 7pm and kick off at 7:30pm.

Good luck to both teams.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

The Current State of the Richmond Raiders

It is officially the offseason for the Richmond Raiders, and while the team missed the playoffs again, the Raiders did finish first in their division and were .500 on the season.  While matching their win total from the 2010 season in 2011, they played two fewer games when compared to the inaugural season which does show some improvement.

New front office staff Steve and Gary Criswell and new head coach James Fuller worked diligently to bring a great product to the Coliseum and overall better football was played.  The glaring problem this season was five different starting quarterbacks.  Officially the team stated changes at quarterback were injury related, but to the fans it appeared that Mike Potts and Aaron Alexander struggled when the pressure was on.  Both Potts and Alexander had difficulties with interceptions, with all Raider quarterbacks throwing 23 total INTs on the season.  Only the Fayetteville Force and Harrisburg Stampede had more INTs.  Antwon Young ended the season at quarterback after being released from the IFL Tri-City Fever, and showed he may have a future in Richmond.  New kicker Joshua Smith brought stability to special teams and the combination of Noland Burchette, Law Lewis, and Michael Woodhouse made for one of the top d-lines in the entire SIFL, with Woodhouse being number one leauge wide in total sacks. Lastly, DB Rece Thorne, who played minimally in the first half of the season, played well for the Raiders late replacing injured DB Stephen Cason and DB JR Rosegreen.

The SIFL itself is a complete train wreck.  League President Thom Hager sold off his stake in the Louisiana Swashbucklers last month and it appears the league will be toast as soon as championship game is over.  John Morris has made a commitment to the city of Baltimore to bring back a team to the Charm City under the AIFA, of which Morris will serve as its commish.  Current Texas based team owner Chad Dittman has openly expressed disgust with Hager and is rumored to be starting a new Texas only league. This all bodes poorly for the survival of the SIFL.

So where does that leave our Richmond Raiders? My money is on the IFL.  Team ownership is very familiar with John Morris and I think it's very unlikely they would be chomping at the bit to get back in business with the man.  But the IFL already has a team in the area, the 3-11 Richmond Revolution.  Whether the IFL would field two teams in the same city remains to be seen, but there have been rumors that the outdoor Revolution will fold before the year is over.  While this can not be confirmed, two things can be confirmed. There is no actual indoor football arena construction going on at the SportsQuest campus and there are no links for 2012 season tickets sales on the Revolution website.  This is either a sign of the teams inevitable failure or just laziness on the part of ownership. (The Revolution received special permission from the IFL commish to play outdoors in 2011.)  Lastly, I believe the IFL will be the home of the Raiders in 2011 because I spoke directly with IFL commish Tommy Benizio last month.  While it was a short conversation, he demonstrated an enormous interest in the Richmond Raiders and their ownership.  Benizio would love to have stable team in his home town.

Personally, I would love to see the Revolution and Raiders play each other 2012 as part of the IFL. Having a 'Richmond Bowl' would garner a ton of media coverage and could be a great thing for the sport.  Plus the bragging rights would be epic and travel costs minimal.

Follow Ruben Foster on twitter @rubenfoster or email comments to

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The Many Problems of the SIFL

Modern professional indoor football has been around since the early 1980’s, after its inventor Jim Foster devised the sport on the back of a manila envelope while watching indoor soccer.  His vision utilized a 50 yard field and eight players on defense on offense instead of the traditional eleven.  Leagues began sprouting up around the country as a way to bring professional football to markets without NFL teams, and to provide Spring-time sports for markets with existing NFL teams.  These leagues sell season tickets every year to thousands of fans around the country with the promise of wholesome family fun at affordable prices.  Often times the leagues that control the teams don’t deliver completely, and sometimes they don’t deliver at all.

The Southern Indoor Football League (SIFL) was founded in Louisiana in 2008, and five teams located in Louisiana and Texas took the field the inaugural season.  The business model behind the creation of the SIFL was actually genius.  The SIFL model included low franchise fees for owners (compared to the AFL and IFL) and for regions to feel local, creating strong team rivalries for fans. Additionally, the league was hoping the short distance between teams would invite fans to travel to see their favorite franchise play the away games (boosting ticket sales) and reducing overall travel expense for owners.  However, after the league’s second season, the SIFL purchased the AIFA East and its footprint stretched from Texas and Louisiana, all the way through North Carolina, Virginia, Pennsylvania and New Jersey and now included 16 teams.  This transaction moved the Richmond Raiders from the AIFA to the SIFL.

When the third season of the SIFL began this year, it was not without its’ challenges.  Weeks before the season was to begin, the Lafayette Wildcatters (LA) were forced to cancel the entire 2011 season after being unable to secure sufficient Workers Compensation insurance for team employees.  Teams in the Western Conference that had Lafayette on their schedule were awarded wins by default or faced a semi pro team in their place for an easy win.  Mean while, the Houston Stallions (TX) were unable to secure a home venue and would end up playing road games the entire season.  This was just the beginning of the problems.

In Mobile, Alabama a man named Ray Ward came to town promising years of successful indoor football, and purchased the Mobile Bay Tarpons.  Ward was able to field a team, secure equipment, a venue and even sponsorships from local businesses.  Unfortunately, after two home games and loads of unpaid bills, Ward skipped town.  Players went un-paid; commitments that sponsors purchased went unfulfilled and worst of all, fans that purchased season tickets were out almost an entire season.  With no owner to fund the team, the Tarpons ceased operations completely.  Additionally, it was reported that the SIFL changed losses to wins for the teams that were defeated by Mobile Bay after the team folded.
Andrew Bondarowicz, a prominent New Jersey Sports Attorney, is co-owner of the SIFL. He is also the owner of two teams in the Eastern Conference, the Trenton Steel and the Fayetteville Force.  Half way through the 2011 season, Trenton (5-4) was battling Richmond (4-4) for a playoff slot, and Fayetteville’s (3-5) hope of playoff contention was gone.  Bondarowicz stopped paying his Force players and searched out locals in Fayetteville for potential investors to buy him out.  During this time he continued to pay the Steel players, but went almost an entire month without giving out a single game check to the Force staff.  When no investors could be found to take Fayetteville off his hands, he released the players from the roster essentially killing the team.  In order to fulfill schedule obligations, Bondarowicz is putting together a ‘team’ of unknowns to play as the Fayetteville Force for its’ remaining four games, including versus the Richmond Raiders on June 11th.

The Trenton Steel lost their first game of the regular season to the Richmond Raiders.  This gives the Raiders the tie breaker should the Steel and Raiders finish the season with identical records, and only one of the two teams will take the fourth seed to represent the Western Conference in the SIFL playoffs.  One team out, one team in, and Andrew Bonarowics knows this.  This week the entire Fayetteville Force roster was released, many of which signed with the dismal Carolina Speed (1-8), including WR Chris Schubert and QB Lamar Little.  The Carolina Speed still have the Richmond Raiders on the schedule twice, Friday May 20th in Charlotte and in Richmond on June 4th.  League officials are pulling the strings to ensure Trenton makes the playoffs and Richmond does not.

Why does this all matter?  Why should the public care about a small time indoor football league and the corruption that is being allowed?  Because times are tough, and the SIFL is taking our hard earned dollars and promising something they are not giving, and laughing all the way to the bank.  The fans deserve professional football in underserved markets.  The season ticket holders deserve to be reimbursed for home games not played due to a con artist owner.  A sports team must provide a product that is played fairly and actually benefits the community instead of taking advantage of it.  It’s not right for a league owner to own a team in the league he controls, let alone two or three teams in the same conference. This is an invitation to breed corruption and rule bending.  In the end the fans and the players lose and that’s not right.

Ruben Foster can be reached and invites all commentary

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Injuries and Roster Move

Per Raider official website, QB Bryan Randall out for the year (ACL), K/WR Chris Segaar out for 6 weeks (groin), and hot off, Scorpio Brown just tweeted that he is no longer a Raider. He has not made public his new team, but its not the Richmond Raiders.

Attending the Trenton Steel home opener

This Saturday, March 26th 2011, my son Andrew and I will be attending the Trenton Steel home opener in Trenton, NJ.  Through a series of strange events, my family has won four free tickets in the 'gold section' of the stadium and the right for my three year old son Andrew to present the official coin toss coin to Mercer County Executive Brian Hughes.  They will also announce his name over the PA as the Steel's '1,000th Facebook follower.' Being a three year old boy, following directions is not one of his strengths, so it should be interesting.  And for the record, Andrew DOES NOT have his own Facebook account, it was his mother's.  I guess it would be a bad night to wear my Raider t-shirt. 

Richmond Raiders Win in Painful Fashion 59-56

The Richmond Raiders edged out the Trenton Steel 59-56 in a costly win this evening at the Richmond Colesium.

The opening kickoff had the Raiders receive, and DB Larry Williams took the first play of the season all the way to the endzone bringing the Raiders up 7 - 0.  Steel QB EJ Nemeth answered with a 45 yard touchdown pass on the ensuing posession and tied up the game.  QB Bryan Randall would spend rest of the half targeting WR Redd Thomspon repeatedly, including three touchdowns passes. At half time the Raiders trailed 27-28.

During the third quarter, the dislike the two teams had for each other became apparent.  On every special teams play Raider DB Stephen Cason and Steel RB Keon Lattimore would trade blows, drawing several unsportsmanlike penalties for the home team.  in the third quarter K/WR Chris Segaar was injured, and the Raiders were forced to try for two points on every score.  This proved to be a major problem, as they were only able to convert once on three attempts..  During the third and fourth quarter, the two teams traded touchdowns back and forth, bringing the score to a Raider lead of 53-48 with five minutes remaining in the game.

At just under three minutes remaining, the Steel were on the 10 yard line looking at 4th and 6.  As QB EJ Nemeth passed the ball, it was tipped by the Raider defense and intercepted by DL Noland Burchette.  It was the defensive stop the Raiders were looking for all game.

On the next play, with 2:26 remaining, QB Bryan Randall was sacked by the Steel defense awkwardly and didn't get up.  Randall laid on the turf for several minutes, before being helped off the field by medical staff.  The stadium went silent.  Back up QB Aaron Alexander immediately came in, and on the next play threw a touchdown pass to WR Antwun Williams bringing the score to 59-48.  The Steel would score another touchdown, but after a failed onside kick attempt would fall to a final score of 59-56.

After the game, rumors immediately spread that Bryan Randall had torn his ACL and would be out for the rest of the season. Truly difficult to hear as a Raider fan.  Get well soon Bryan Randall.  Aaron Alexander's time to shine in the Capitol City has come.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Can Richmond support two professional indoor football teams? part II

Having shared my thoughts on the financial future of the Richmond Revolution, now we will look at the Richmond Raiders.

Clearly, the Richmond Raiders have a better shot at long term survial than the Richmond Revolution.  To begin with, there are two owners of the Raidres one paper, Genworth CEO Mike Fraizer and his wife Elizabeth Fraizer.  Mike being the head of a fortune 500 company means in order for the Fraizer family to pay their own bills and stay comfortable financially, he doesn't have to rely on profits from the Richmond Raiders.  His primary income is non sports related, this is a huge benefit for fans.  Elizabeth handles the day to day operations of the team and the majority of the business decisions (this is my guess and has not been confirmed).  The Richmond Raiders are a privately held company, which means as an organization they are under no legal requirement to disclose publically their financial health, like any company listed on the NYSE would have too.  So we don't really know if the Raiders turned a profit last year and chances are we will never know.  Having said that, Elizabeth Fraizer has told me personally, "Our only goal is to break even," and I believe her.  The Fraizer's motivation to own a professional sports team is not at for financial gain.  The Fraizers actually own the team for two reasons, to provide something to Richmond we didn't have before and to improve Mike's reputation and presence downtown.  I can live with those reasons.

On a non related note, I have a great deal of respect for both Mike and Elizabeth.  My personal interactions with both of them have been wonderful.  Last summer, my wife Catie and I drove to a Lady Raider car wash (fund raiser) on Broad St.  When we arrived, Mike was wearing a jogging suit and washing cars by hand with a wet towel.  That spoke volumes to me. Here is a CEO of a large corporation and owner of a football team doing the dirty work, when he could have easily passed it onto someone else. 

The Richmond Colesium is the home of the Raiders, and while it is old, the bathrooms stink and is visually unappealing on the outside, it is not a bad place for professional indoor football.  Unlike the Revolution, the Raiders are not concerned with buildling an entirely new facility which costs millions of dollars, they just lease the Colesium when they need it.  While the Colesium is far from perfect, it is a suitable venue for sports and realistically could work for another 10 years with maintenance. This is also good news for Raider fans.

However, there is one thing that could jeopardize the longevity of the Richmond Raiders:  the break even point.  As Elizabeth told me, the Fraizers goal is to break even. But what if they didn't and what if they don't?  After how many years of not breaking even or turning a small profit will the Fraizers throw in the towel? I can't answer that question as important as it is. 

My final verdict: Based on attendance at the Raider preseason game and the Revolution home opener, it is unlikely Richmond will financially support two professional indoor football teams for the long term. Of the two teams, it is my opinion the Revolution will fold. The Raiders also could fold unless more paying customers fill the seats at the Colesium.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Can Richmond support two professional indoor football teams?

Richmond, Virginia has been great to me over the last 12 years. I love this city and there is no where else I would rather live. Richmond is where I met my wife, my son was born, I received my entire post high school education and I finished my first marathon. Living here allows you the chance to see a symphony concert one night, and attend a NASCAR race the next.  But Richmond has a checkered history with professional sports and that worries me.  This wonderful town has ran off so many professional teams; the Braves, the Renegades, the Speed and the Bandits.  Money of course being the main issue.

That brings us to now, 2011, and we have two professional indoor football teams both entering their sophomore seasons.  Both teams struggling to fill the stands with the same fans.  And just in case you weren't aware, no other city in the entire country has two professional indoor football teams.  There is a reason for that.  Significant capital is required to operate an indoor football team, but they don't generate a lot of revenue.  So why on Earth would two separate groups of business savvy entrepreneurs take a leap of faith into a business that has so much risk?  Let's talk about that.

The Richmond Revolution is the brain child of Steve Burton, who is currently the CEO of SportsQuest in Midlothian, VA.  Steve has a clear vision of creating a sports haven south of Richmond, which he has done by investing large sums of public and private funds to build facilities for all sports.  His vision includes an Olympic caliber swim program, a local gym, a high school for sport centered teenagers and even an NBA team.  While some of these ideas seem far off into the future, Steve is currently providing sports entertainment with 19 high tech turf fields.  Field 9 happens to the be home of the Richmond Revolution, the 2010 IFL franchise of the year.  But the franchise may be in big trouble without a large investment of capital very soon.  The IFL has granted the Revolution special permission to play outdoors this year after having some complications with the Arthur Ashe center in 2010.  So we have an indoor football team playing outdoors. Rain on game day does not worry me, it does however send off red flags that money is a serious problem.  The plan back in 2009 was for the Revolution to be playing in their new indoor facility at SportsQuest this season, and that facility would have cost $20 - $30 million dollars to build.  Well, ground hasn't even broken yet on construction.  That tells me one of two things. Burton either is broke, or he is afraid to spend the money because he doesn't care about the team or even see it lasting long term.  A reliable source close to SportsQuest once told me that the Revolution's sole purpose was to bring more locals to commit to paying $70 per month to use the gym. I don't think the Revolution fits in Burton's long term plan for SportsQuest and eventually he will see that the 2,000 fans a week won't prop it up financially.  SportsQuest is too much too fast, with no real focus which will end up killing the Revolution.

As for the future of an indoor football stadium in Midlothian think about this, NFL teams have to tap into county and city funds to build stadiums, so how can Burton build one without significant help from Chesterfield County?  Chesterfield County has already given $3.4 million dollars to Burton hoping to speed up the development of SportsQuest, but still we have not broken ground on a facility.  And if I was a entrepeneur looking for a business partner, Chesterfield County is the last place I would look.  The County is constantly cutting its budget, laying off employees and has not given its teachers a raise since 2008.

In my opinion, the Revolution will fold in the next two years.

to be continued............

Friday, March 11, 2011

Raiders dominate the Stampede

In the most lopsided victory in team history, the Richmond Raiders stomped the Harrisburg Stampede 52 - 7 this evening in Richmond's pre-season home opener in the Richmond Colesium.  Coming into the match the Raiders were 0 - 2 vs the Stampede all time, and they were ready to pay Harrisburg back for the triple overtime loss last season.  The first series would set the tone for the entire game as QB Bryan Randall threw a touchdown pass to WR Damon Thompson on the second play of the game, only a minute into the first quarter.  From there it only got worse for Harrisburg.  Richmond's defense completely shut down the Stampede offense, allowing only a short yardage touchdown run by Andre Coles for the entirety of the game.  Randall was in at Quarterback for the Raiders in the first half and was absolutely unstoppable, throwing multiple touchdown passes to WR Damon Thompson and FB Brandon Isaiah.  During the fourth quarter back up Raider QB Aaron Alexander came in, but proved to be uncapable of making anything happen with the offense, but by that time Richmond was so far ahead it didn't matter.  The most exciting point in the game came as time expired at the end of the third quarter when DL Law Lewis forced a fumble on a sack just short of the Raider endzone which was recovered for a touchdown. The Colesium rocked for sure on that play.  FB Tunde Ogun and FB Brandon Isaiah took turns running the ball, but as is the case with most indoor football teams not a lot was done on the ground.  Tunde did break for about 20 years near the end of the fourth quarter but it was called back on a penalty.

My final verdict: This is NOT the same Richmond Raider team as last year.  The Fraizers and Criswells have put together a stellar roster, and the Raiders will be a menace to any SIFL team they face in 2011. 

The Richmond Revolution are off this weekend, and will next face the Lehigh Valley Steelhawks at Lehigh Valley on 3/19/11.

The Richmond Raiders next face start up team the Trenton Steel at the Colesium on 3/19/11.

Monday, March 7, 2011

John Morris returns to Richmond and the Revolution play at home

The name John Morris is not known by the average Richmond Raider fan, but it should be.  I have never met John Morris or even seen his picture.  If I passed him on the street I would not know him from any other man.  But his return to the Richmond Colesium on Friday 3/11 is significant for a couple of reasons.  For the uninitiated John Morris was a league guy with the AIFA which had an unusual business model. In the old AIFA league ownership would provide capital to assist in getting a new team in a new city. It helped the league by providing more competition for the league while helping local ownership by lessesing the need for initial capital.  It would be the same if Roger Goodell had a financial stake in the Washington Redskins and the Dallas Cowboys at the same time, sounds like a conflict of interest right?  As far as I know, John Morris was a co-owner for the entire 2010 season. 

Luckily for Raider fans, the Fraizer family had the capital and common sense to buy John out last summer when the season ended. Today, the sole owners of the Richmond Raiders are Mike and Elizabeth Fraizer.  This allows the Fraizer family to make business decisions without the input of other minority allows them freedom and that is a good thing.

So why is John Morris returning to the Richmond Colesium this week? Well, because John Morris is a co-owner of the Harrisburg Stampede, who the Raiders will face in the preseason home opener.  This is the very same Harrisburg Stampede that beat the Raiders twice last season, including a triple overtime game in Harrisburg, PA.  The only triple overtime game in the history of the AIFA.

My final verdict on the preseason opener: a former owner and a team the Raiders have never beat are coming to town. The Raiders need to win this game bad.

The Richmond Revolution played their home opener this past Saturday against the Lehigh Valley Steelhawks.  While I was unable to attend due to family obligations, a friend went and he had a really good time with his family.  The weather held up and attendance was estimated at around 1,800, which is better than I had projected for their first outdoor game of the season. 

However not much else when well for the Revolution.  They fell to the Steelhawks 41-38 on a 17 yard touchdown pass from AJ Roque to Irani DeAraugo with 1.2 seconds left to go in the fourth quarter.  The problems for the Revolution seems to really rest on the offense in these first two games and Coach Tony Hawkins knows it.  Tony stopped short of using the word 'bad' to describe the week one offense on an AM 910 radio interview Saturday morning.  If the offense doesn't do something different and soon, the Revolution will be in hole too deep to dig out of and will miss the playoffs.

Friday, March 4, 2011

First Revolution home game of the 2011 season is tomorrow

The date 3/05/11 will go down in history as the first time a professional sports team has played in Chesterfield County, VA.  This historic event will take place when the Richmond Revolution host the Lehigh Valley Steelhawks at 5:05pm.  Both the Steelhawks and the Revolution are coming off of losing games last weekend, the only difference being the Steelhawks being an expansion team, have only played one game in team history (loss), so a win for either team would be a morale booster.  The Revolution could certainly use a win after the 44-6 trouncing in Bloomington, IL last Saturday.

The game will be played at the new SportsQuest campus located off Genito Road at 76 & 288. Yes that is the actual address posted on

Even more epic (insert another word if you like) is the fact that the IFL is an indoor football league and the SportsQuest facility is outdoors.  The IFL has granted the Revolution special permission to play outdoors since ground has not broken on what is supposed to be the Revolution home field.  Revolution staff have stated the game will be played rain or shine.  According to the weather forecast for Midlothian, VA is high of 56 and sunny, so it might not be so bad.

My final verdict: a winless team in the IFL tomorrow will go home with a .500 record. Yes very insightful, I know.

And lastly, I have it on good source that the Revolution did $7,000 worth of damage to the floor at the Arthur Ashe center last season and did not pony up any money to repair it. Sounds like a burnt bridge to me.

In Richmond Raider news, Raider training camp kicks off tomorrow as the team prepares to face the Harrisburg Stampede on 3/11/11 in it's presason opener.  During the 2010 season the Raiders practiced at the Soccer Center of Richmond (SCOR) and faced many scheduling conflicts with the other tenants. This year should be better as Mayor Jones has approved the Richmond Raiders to lease the previously vacant Dove Street Armory in North Richmond.  In addition, the Raiders are transitioning away from last years mascot Risky the Raider to a newer, more animated mascot 'Horsey'.  I will be playing the roll of Risky and Horsey tomorrow at the Dove St Armory as my friend Jack takes some photos to promote the new mascot.  GO RAIDERS!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Met Bryan Randall, Scorpio Brown and Vince Hall

Had a chance to sit down with four members of the Richmond Raiders roster and shoot the bull. A good time was had. Scorpio showed me his championship ring from the Baltimore Mariner season last year.  It was amazingly huge and gaudy, but very cool.

I am not the only one that sees the holes in SportsQuest's business model

Style Weekly has published a lengthy article regarding Steve Burton and his quest to make Chesterfield a sports hotbed.  I am not the only one that sees holes in the finances.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The current state of things part II

Like the Revolution, the Richmond Raiders had an extremely busy offseason, and while things were pretty good, they were not perfect.  Once the season ended in 2010, Head Coach Charles Gunning was relieved of his duties and moved back to Fayetteville, NC.  In his place the Fraizer's hired Coach Chris Simpson.  Coach Simpson is most recently known for his perfect season in Baltimore with the Mariners in 2010, of the now defunct AIFA.  Having spoken to Simpson, I was honestly excited to see what he could do for this franchise, after all, he IS a proven winner.  Unfortunately Simpson won't be on the sidelines on 3/11/11 at the preseason home opener, as he moved to TX with his wife so she could take a better job.  Now, I understand in tough economic times people do things that make the most sense for their own family, but I was disappointed to hear he moved on.  Simpson was a guy that would have done great things for this franchise.  The following day the Raiders announced the signing of former Philadelphia Eagle, James Fuller as head coach of the Raiders.  Honestly I do not know enough about him to give a prediction (other than his resume posted on the Raiders website), but the Criswells are still on staff and they will work to win this season.

My biggest gripe about the Raiders is double edged actually.  Of the members of the team from 2010 there are only two returners to the 2011 roster, HB/FB Craig Mangrum and DB Rece Thorne.  I would have loved to have seen a larger percentage of returners just for continuity sake and fan morale, but then I remind myself that with last year's roster the team went 6 - 8.  And of those six wins, four were against the now defunct NJ Revolution and the Fayetteville Guard.  When the team played quality opponents they got beat. They could not finish out a game.  So while I will miss Schubert, Little, Brown and Jackson, we only beat bad teams with them on the roster. 

And for the record, Schubert was my hands down favorite player on the roster last year.  He worked his ass off. I am convinced if he was 6 inches taller, he would be in the NFL.

My final verdict: The Raiders made some huge steps in the right direction this offseason, but I'm not sold on them being a championship caliber team in the SIFL.

The current state of things

What an off season it has been in Richmond, VA.  While both teams have the same owners and team names, just about everything else has changed. 

Starting with the Revolution: The Richmond Revolution had an outstanding season last year even while playing in the dirty Ashe center.  The team lost only one game in the regular season and were named IFL franchise of the year.  In addition, both Coach Steve Criswell and QB Bryan Randall won honors for their hard work.  Then the off season came and in the words of Lebron James, Coach Criswell decided to take his talents elsewhere.  Namely across town to the Richmond Raiders.  Along with Criswell came Randall, many Revolution players and his brother Gary who is currently the business operations manager for the Raiders.  After months of being without a skipper the Revolution nameTony Hawkins head coach. Where did Tony work? He was the QB coach for Benedictine HS.  Yes really.  Then after many more months of dodging questions the Revolution announced where they would play home games in the 2011 season. The outdoor facility at Sportsquest in Midlothian. Yes really. Indoor football, outside. With the season opener in Bloomington, IL the Revolution traveled to the Xtreme and were handed an ass kicking. Final score 44-6.

Its going to be a long year for the Revolution.

My final verdict: There is a reason ground hasn't broken yet in Midlothian on an indoor facility. That reason is capital.  There is no way the Revolution play indoors in 2012 unless they head back to the Ashe Center.

What is this?

You may be asking yourself WTF have I stumbled on? Let me tell you. Welcome to 'The Richmond Indoor Football Blog.'  The only place online to share opinions and strories on the professioal indoor football scene in Richmond without fear of the all mighty ban hammer.  This will be an uncensored public domain to share the honest opinions of fans of our two professional indoor football teams.  If you don't like it, click the small black 'x' in the top right corner now. Feel free to email me at or leave a comment below any of the posts.