EVERETT — Quarterback Houston Lillard’s 5-yard touchdown run capped a Tri-Cities’ comeback with 19 seconds to play, lifting the Fever over the Everett Raptors 54-48 on Thursday night at Comcast Arena.
The Raptors had one last chance, but their final drive began with an awkward forward pass, a bobbled snap and ultimately ended with a sack.
With the victory, the Fever remained undefeated and boosted their record to 4-0. Everett lost for the second time at home this season, leaving the Raptors 1-3 overall.
The game began positively for Everett, which had suffered from slow starts in its first few games this season. The Raptors jumped out to a 13-0 lead with a 38-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Mike Tatum and a 9-yard scoring pass to Travis Poole.
From that point on, the Fever matched Everett score for score. The game had four ties and four lead changes, all occurring in the second half.
Raptors quarterback Blake Bolles finished 18-for-30 for 267 yards and six touchdowns. However, second-half interceptions — the first by defensive back Joshua Abrama and the second by Lionell Singleton — proved costly for the Raptors.
The Fever’s Lillard finished 22-for-39 with 185 yards and six touchdowns and scored one rushing touchdown — the game-winner.
Raptors’ receiver Andre Piper-Jordan, an Everett Community College alum, caught two touchdown passes — one for 42 yards and the other for 45 — and finished with 130 yards overall.
Travis Poole ended the game with two touchdowns and 63 yards receiving for Everett. Teammates Mike Tatum and Lonnie Sanders each had a touchdown. Tatum’s went 58 yards, Sanders was for 10. Tatum added a 48-yard kickoff return for a touchdown in the fourth quarter that seemed to put the Raptors back into the game.
Everett lost offensive lineman Jordan Taormina, who was ejected for throwing a punch at a Tri-City player.
Tri-Cities wide receiver Steven Whitehead paced the Fever receiving corps with 11 receptions for 107 yards and three touchdowns.
Lionell Singleton, the Fever’s main kick returner, scored on a 35-yard kick off return near the end of the first half that pulled his team within seven. The play gave Tri-Cities plenty of momentum going into the second half.
The Raptors finished with 270 yards of total offense to the fever’s 273. But Tri-Cities dominated the time of possession, controlling the game clock for 45:25.
Everett goes back on the road for its next contest against the Colorado Ice. It plays its next home game April 5, Easter weekend, against the Nebraska Danger.