June 25, 2024

Arena Insider

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Wolfpack dominate shorthanded Rapid City Marshals

3 min read

EVERETT, Wash — The Washington Wolfpack dominated the now defunct Rapid City Marshals 76-20 on May 23 to pick up their first win of the season.

Wolfpack wide receiver Vincent Wilkerson had seven receptions for 181 yards and five receiving touchdowns. Defensive lineman Raunya Mitchell scored twice, had a fumble recovery for a touchdown and a receiving touchdown. Mitchell also added three solo tackles, one assisted tackle, and a sack to his stat sheet.

Mitchell and Wilkerson were named co-players of the game.

“It felt good to be back out here, I’m always blessed any time I touch the field.” Mitchell said after the game.

The Marshals fielded a different team than their normal roster—including several local Washington players who signed up to play the game to fill the open roster spots.

The Wolfpack, now 1-4, showed up with a dominating defensive performance. On the Marshals’ first drive of the game, linebacker Brandon Wellington intercepted the ball for a pick-six. Wide receiver and defensive back Xavier Crawford then came up with an interception on the ensuing drive which ultimately carried the team throughout the night.

The defense finished with four total interceptions, two sacks, and three defensive touchdowns.

Linebacker Brandon Wellington added to the team’s stats with two interceptions, one touchdown, four solo tackles, three assisted tackles and one tackle for loss.

“We didn’t know much about what [the Marshals] were going to do because they only played one game,” Cole Stephens, Wolfpack defensive coordinator, said. “Brandon is a phenomenal player with vision—he’s got great quickness and great awareness. Not surprised he’s making those plays.”

Last week, the Wolfpack suffered a back-breaking loss to the Oregon Blackbears, after the Blackbears threw a last-minute touchdown to steal the victory. Heading into Thursday night, Assistant Coach Dre Braxton said the team spent the three days between games preparing to, “focus on controlling what we can control.”

For the offense it was a complete showcase. Besides Wilkerson’s big game, quarterback Jacob Ta’Ase threw for 197 yards, five touchdowns and one rushing touchdown. Wide receiver Deshon Williams caught seven passes for 67 yards. Jr Nelson caught one pass for 10 yards and a touchdown.

In the fourth quarter with the game already decided, backup quarterback Rodney Raines checked in to the game. He was welcomed with “F– yeah Rodney! chants from the familiar Everett crowd. Raines previously played quarterback for the Everett Royals of the Gridiron Development Football League.

Raines finished the game with 82 passing yards and two passing touchdowns.

While it was a one-sided game, the two team’s comradery showed. They players stayed around long after the final buzzer and caught up with friends on the other team.

The contest marked the swan song of the Marshals’ season, as the team ceased operations on May 24. Owners claim the Arena Football League under former commissioner Lee Hutton lacked leadership and did not meet the Marshals’ financial promises.

The Wolfpack’s next game is currently scheduled for June 15 against the Billings Outlaws.The schedule is subject to change.

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