If one asks River City Raiders Head Coach Greg Moore what the mission is this season as his team launches their indoor football season opener this weekend, his response is straightforward. “This year’s expectations are to win,” he bluntly said.
The Raiders, members of the newly-minted Arena Pro Football (APF) league, kick off their 2017 season Saturday night against the Alabama Outlawz at Family Arena in St. Charles at 7 p.m.
The St. Charles County-based indoor football faction finished last season 7-2 in now-folded American Indoor Football (AIF).
With new affiliation comes great opportunity. As the lone Midwestern representative of the APF, the Raiders have a chance to make an initial splash in the eight-team league. According to Moore, the squad plans to infuse plenty of local flavor en route to tasting gridiron victory.
“The St. Louis region has enough football talent to win a championship,” he said. “A few years ago, (the Raiders) went 8-0 and only had two out of town players.”
River City’s recently-revealed 30-player roster contains a mix of familiar faces and eager indoor newcomers with football experience that look to impress at a higher level.
A quartet of Raider receiving specialists return for another campaign:
Chris Headd, DeJuan Bolden, DeAndre Jackson and Johnnie King. In the high-scoring game of indoor football, anticipate these players to snag plenty of six-point passes.
Also returning this year is a plethora of veterans on the defensive end, including 2016 starters Tim Hamm-Bey, Bernard Quinn, Theo Alexander and Keenan Mace.
The Raiders contain a quartet of rushers charted on the opening roster. Both Dominic Cozart and Darrion Rice have reps with the St.
Louis Bulldogs semi-pro football team while Mike Clark handled carries for the Midwest Chargers within the Midwest Football Alliance (MFA) and Keenan Miller gained yardage for the Chicago Blitz last season in the AIF.
Projected in the quarterback slot is Kevis Hamilton, a Beaumont High School standout that helmed the offense for the Midwest Chargers last season.
Starting kicker Corey Adamson returns for the Raiders while James Neal, who started for Lindenwood University during his collegiate tenure, compliments.
Saturday’s opponent, the Alabama Outlawz, returned to competitive play as a franchise earlier this month after a one year absence. As former members of the now-defunct X-League Indoor Football (XLIF), the Outlawz are now full-fledged competitors within the APF’s 2017 season.
In their March 10 season opener, the Outlawz suffered a 42-18 road loss against the APF league opponent Florida Tarpons.
Alabama is propelled by quarterback Anthony Speight, a 6-3 gunslinger from Alabama State University. His intended target is expected to be longtime Outlawz leader Taurean Rhetta, who had NFL stints with the Kansas City Chiefs and the New York Giants.
Defensive back Vincent Hill, who has seven years of arena football in the ledger, leads the defense alongside position-mate Randall Burden, a four-season veteran.
In the end, the Raiders’ plan is to strike early and often and inevitably guide a victorious ship.
Saturday’s home opener is the first of five Saturday home games held at Family Arena this season. For more information on the Raiders, go to www.indoorraiders.com