WEBSTER CITY - Any hope the Midwest Rampage had of returning to the Midwest Football Alliance championship game this season dissolved into thin air last Saturday at Stampede Stadium.
Truth be told, simply reaching the playoffs doesn't appear to be in the cards.
After clawing back to take a 25-20 lead midway through the fourth quarter, the Rampage were unable to stop the Quad City Raiders, who notched a safety and then a late touchdown to secure a 30-25 victory.
Rampage running back Ross Haren gets tackled by a pair of Quad City Raiders during last Saturday’s contest at Stampede Stadium in Webster City.
The loss dropped the Rampage to 4-4 overall, but in actuality the black and orange is just 2-4 - two of its wins came via forfeit. And team members know that it would now take a miracle to claim one of the six playoff positions.
"It's disappointing for the Rampage to go from playing in the championship game last season to not being in the playoffs this year," Rampage veteran middle linebacker John Elkin said. "A large part of having success is getting lucky and having things bounce your way. Last year we didn't have a single season-ending injury to any player, but this year we've had a multitude of them. Also, teams were gunning for us and oftentimes the ball bounced their way when last year it went our way. That's why we play the game."
The Rampage lost linebacker Terrance Freeney and center Jay Smith to debilitating injuries earlier in the season. On Saturday, the team played without running backs Monterio Poe, Marcus Hilliard and Louis Taylor, as well as quarterback Erik Ingelin, who suffered cracked ribs and a concussion a week earlier.
Raiders 30, Rampage 25
QCR - Julius Tyson 6 run (run failed).
MR - FG Chuck Tack 41.
MR - FG Tack 47.
QCR - Airreo Greet 62 pass from Rob Jones (pass good).
QCR - Marcus Terry 10 pass from Jones (run failed).
MR - FG Tack 42.
MR - FG Tack 35.
MR - Alonzo Clayton 25 pass from Ben Wolford (run failed).
MR - Ross Haren 5 run (Tack kick).
QCR - Safety.
QCR - Jones 5 run (pass good).
Rushing - MR: Dan Schaa 12-69, Ross Haren 14-36, DJ Erkenbrack 1-3, Yance Childs 1-3.
Passing - MR: Childs 5-16-2 64, Ben Wolford 2-5-0 52.
Receiving - MR: Alonzo Clayton 4-49, Chris McNiel 2-45, Michael Olschenlager 1-3, Schaa 1-9.
Tackles (Leaders) - MR: Erkenbrack 10, Andy Sowle 7, Andrew Crenshaw 5.
So depleted were the Rampage that linebacker Ross Haren was forced to play in the backfield for the first time since his prep days in a Webster City uniform. He churned out 36 yards on 14 carries, while Dan Schaa picked up 69 yards on 12 totes.
Back-up quarterback Yance Childs completed 6 of 15 passes for 64 yards, but he was picked off twice. Offensive coordinator and emergency signal caller Ben Wolford was again called into duty in the second half; he connected on 2 of 5 passes for 52 yards, including a 25-yard touchdown pass to Alonzo Clayton early in the fourth quarter.
Haren reached the end zone from 5 yards out a little later in the fourth to put the Rampage ahead. But Raiders' quarterback Rob Jones snuck across the goal line - also from 5 yards away - with 1:33 remaining to give the visitors the final margin of victory.
Veteran kicker Chuck Tack kept the Rampage within striking distance with four field goals in the second and third quarters. He connected from 41, 47, 42 and 35 yards; he just missed from 65 yards out when his boot sailed wide left.
Clayton led the receiving crew with four catches for 49 yards. Chris McNiel made two grabs that covered 45 yards.
The Rampage will play its final home game of the season this Saturday when it welcomes the Pella Knights to Webster City for a 4 p.m. kickoff. The Knights beat the Rampage, 20-0, back on May 19 in Pella.
The Rampage will finish up the season with a pair of road games - first against the River City Warriors in Burlington on July 21, followed by a trip to Des Moines to again take on the No. 1-ranked nationally Des Moines Blaze on July 28.