In its inaugural indoor football campaign last season, the River City Raiders notched extremely successful benchmarks.
A 7-2 record and an opening round appearance in the American Indoor Football (AIF) national playoffs were highlights recorded by the St. Charles-based franchise at the completion of its season last June.
However, the Raiders did not anticipate what would occur off-the-turf one month later that would affect them. The AIF’s July announcement that it would immediately cease operations left the locals without a league to ply its trade.
Fast-forward four months later, River City now has both a new league affiliate and a complete schedule for its second season.
River City recently announced that it became one of the newest additions to Champions Indoor Football (CIF), a 16-team league that launches its third season of play next March.
“We had an opportunity to look at just about every (indoor) league in existence,” said Raiders President/CEO Kenny Nowling Wednesday afternoon during a Facebook Live stream that presented the team’s 2017 agenda. “The Champions Indoor Football league seemed to be the right fit for the River City Raiders. They’re very like-minded (to us) from a business standpoint. I think their growth potential is huge. In my opinion, it’s the premier league of indoor football.”
The Raiders will be a part of the CIF’s four-team Northeast Division that also contains mainstays Chicago Eagles and Bloomington (IL) Edge as well as former AIF co-competitor West Michigan.
“Right now, if someone asked me who I thought our toughest rivalry is going into the 2017 season, it would be the West Michigan Ironmen,” said Nowling of the teams’ two-game split last season. “They defeated us at their place. We defeated them at our place. We’ve built a great rivalry with (them).”
River City’s 12-game regular season docket also has contests against CIF Northwest opponents Sioux City Bandits and Omaha Beef as well as CIF 2017 additions Kansas City Phantoms and Bismarck (ND) Pro Football.
The Raiders’ shift to the CIF also revealed a more fan-convenient, six-game local schedule that competes Saturdays at the Family Arena in St. Charles. Its home and seasonal opener against Northeast rival Bloomington Edge takes place on Saturday, March 11 at 7:05 p.m.
“We will rock the Arena on Saturday nights,” said Nowling. “That crowd of 7,300 that we had last year? We expect to shatter that.”
For more information on the River City Raiders, go to its official website. Season tickets will be available as the season approaches and the franchise will hold “fanfests” later this year in order to build up anticipation for another swash-buckling campaign.
RIVER CITY RAIDERS 2017 SCHEDULE
(Home games held at Family Arena with a 7:05 p.m. kickoff.)
SAT 3/11 vs. Bloomington Edge (HOME)
SAT 3/25 vs. Kansas City Phantoms (HOME)
SAT 4/1 vs. Bismarck Football (AWAY)
SAT 4/8 vs. Sioux City Bandits (HOME)
SAT 4/15 vs. West Michigan Ironmen (HOME)
SAT 4/22 vs. Chicago Eagles (AWAY)
SAT 4/29 vs. Chicago Eagles (HOME)
SAT 5/6 vs. Omaha Beef (AWAY)
SAT 5/13 vs. West Michigan Ironmen (HOME)
SAT 5/20 vs. Chicago Eagles (AWAY)
FRI 5/26 vs. Bloomington Edge (AWAY)
SAT 6/03 vs. West Michigan Ironmen (AWAY)
By trade, he is a six-time, regional Emmy Award-winning news videographer/editor for KTVI/KPLR-TV. By hobby, he is a writer for Arch City Media, dating back to February 2014. Emphasis is on featuring and promoting local women's sports, but will cover anything that is not reported by traditional media outlets. Also a contributor to local concert reviews.