Transcona turnovers turned into Teal and Black touchdowns on an unseasonably warm September Saturday at AD Penner.
The Raiders would start the ball rolling on a string of fumbles in their opening drive. The ball began to bounce Eastmans way after Tyler Neufeld took a handoff up the middle for the opening touchdown. Lucky Thiessen would scoop up a Nationals fumble and set up a 22 yard touchdown toss to TJ Sawatzky with 2:54 left in first quarter. On the ensuing kick off, Transcona would take the return into the endzone. With the Raiders deep in their own end, an interception with 7 minutes left in the half would allow Transcona to tie the game at 14-14.
The Nationals next drive began after a Raiders fumble, the seventh of the game between the two teams. The Raiders defence were able to hold on third down giving their offence a chance to get back on the field. Eastman’s offence sputtered but Patrick Maendal would keep the drive alive with a fake punt and run for 30 yards. Tyler Neufeld would finish off the scoring in the first half with a 15 yard touchdown run with 18 seconds remaining.
The Nationals would open the second half with a touchdown which was immediately answered by the Raiders as Patrick Maendel took the kickoff back 84 yards for the score. TJ Will, who moved from offence in the first half to defence in the second, would return a Nationals punt out of the endzone to save the rouge, stepping out of bounds at the Raiders 15. The decision to move Will to the other side of the ball seemed to be the right one as he picked off the Transcona quarterback with 11 minutes left in the game.
Patrick Maendal would push the ball into the endzone, taking it up the middle from the two yard line. The Raiders were able to recover the kick off and the momentum clearly shifted to the Eastman side. The Raiders would have a field goal attempt blocked but then forced another fumble to take over on the Nationals 30 yard line. Maendal would take the ball 20 yards to put the Raiders up 43-22.
The game would end on a controversial play call with just seconds left and the Raiders again in the Nationals redzone, instead of kneeling in victory formation, Eastman would take a direct snap in field goal formation and add to their score with no time left on the clock. With a play to the final whistle attitude, the Raiders now prepare for the first round of playoffs