"The Richmond Roughriders continued their run of dominating performances in their inaugural season in the Arena Pro Football League with a 55-34 win over the Florida Tarpons on Saturday at the Richmond Coliseum.
Richmond’s victory over the only other undefeated team in the league entering Saturday gives the Roughriders sole possession of first place and home-field advantage if the teams meet again, as anticipated, in the APF title game.
Richmond scored on every possession for the first three quarters, shutout the Tarpons in the second quarter to take a commanding lead, and then cruised to its fifth win in as many games.
“This is a very big win. We’ll celebrate this, but we still have a lot of work to do,” Richmond coach Mook Zimmerman said. “We’ve still got two remaining games, so we’re going to celebrate this one, but we’re going to continue to prepare for the next two teams.”
Richmond has a bye week before facing the River City Raiders and the Triangle Torch at the Coliseum on May 20 and May 27 to close out the regular season. The APFL championship is June 10.
Florida received the opening kick and eventually scored for a 7-0 lead in the first quarter. Richmond quarterback Jimmy Laughrea tied the game with a long scramble on the Roughriders’ second play.
The Tarpons regained the lead on their next possession, making it 14-7, but the Roughriders answered, tying it when Laughrea found Daniel Lee for a touchdown.
Richmond kicker Ricky Segers gave the hosts a 1-point lead when his kickoff went through the uprights, and the Roughriders held a 15-14 lead after the first quarter.
Richmond forced a turnover on downs and rushed in a score for a 21-14 lead early in the second. It scored twice more and got 2 more points from Segers on kickoffs in the quarter and held a 37-14 lead at halftime.
The scoreless Florida quarter was the result of each Roughrider dominating his job, Zimmerman said.
“I kind of pulled them together and let them know to just ‘dominiate your job. If everybody dominates their job for one play at a time, there’s nothing they can do with us,’” Zimmerman said. “I’ve been preaching, if we do what we do, no team can stop us, and tonight, we showed that that’s true.”
Terrance Warren and Maurice Thorne each had an interception for Richmond in the second.
Richmond scored on all three possessions of the third quarter — two touchdowns, a field goal and two more kickoffs through the uprights put them in control 55-22 entering the fourth quarter.
The Roughriders worked in substitutions and surrendered two Tarpon touchdowns late, but rushed time off the clock and held on for the victory.
It was a victory in what was the second most important game on the Roughriders’ calendar, Zimmerman said.
The most important is the title game.
“That’s second to the biggest one,” he said following Saturday’s win, “because we still have a championship to play.”