By Jason Bushen
The Raiders are one win away from an undefeated regular season.
With the hopes of a perfect season still in place, the 7-0 Raiders went to Chicago to take on Joliet Junior College. “It was our fourth road trip in six weeks, it’s been crazy,” said head coach Tony Annese. The Raider’s defense led them to a 28-7 victory. “We weren’t sharp on offense,” he said, “but played solid defensively.”
After moving to 8-0, the Raiders would return home to take on Harper College in the “Ender Bowl”. “It’s a special game for the players,” Annese said. The Raiders had five different rushers with 50-plus yards en route to a 50-7 rout. “I’m glad we represented our president in a positive way,” Annese said, “I think we really solidified ourselves in the division.”
One of the biggest reasons for the undefeated season thus far is depth on both sides of the ball.
“We’ve been banged up all year,” Annese said, “Every game, there’s someone new stepping up. We have really been able to spread the ball around, which goes to show how unselfish these players are.”
According to a source close to Annese, the last time the Raiders (officially) went undefeated in the regular season was in 1941.
“I’m anxious to be 10-0,” Annese said, “But you can’t look ahead. DuPage has only lost two games, and I’m sure they’ll be ready to go.”
The 9-0 Raiders will likely move up in the NJCAA ranks. “I expect us to move to #5.” Annese said, “Ironically last year at this time we had one loss and the same ranking.”
That ‘one loss’ last year came against Iowa Western CC–and if the Raiders want a shot to play for the NJCAA National Championship, they’ll have to beat them again in the conference championship game. “I’m sure they’re chomping at the bit to see us again this year,” Annese said, “It will be a highly contested game.”
“We’ve had three goals all season,” Annese said, “One, to get all of these athletes an Associate’s Degree. Two, get them an opportunity to transfer to a four-year university, and three, to put ourselves in position to play for a National Championship.”
Houseman Field will be the venue for the Raider’s final regular season game this year on October 29th at 1:00pm. With an opportunity to make history, it could be an unforgettable game for Tony Annese and the GRCC Raiders.