The Alabama Hammers took about a half to get things going Saturday night against Richmond and when the Professional Indoor Football League's top team captured a little momentum it looked like it was all over for the visitors.
A third-quarter surge by the Hammers was met with a nice comeback by the Raiders, but in the end Alabama cruised to a 45-29 victory before 3,159 fans at the Von Braun Center's Propst Arena.
Russel Hill's 1-yard strike to Larry Shipp on a fourth-and-goal play with just over a minute remaining sealed the win for Alabama, which improved to 8-2 on the season and all but wrapped up the No. 1 seed for the PIFL playoffs ahead of second-place Richmond (6-5).
"It was a tough game against a tough team that wouldn't quit,'' said Hammers coach Dean Cokinos, whose team improved to 5-1 at home and will try and avenge that one loss with a trip to Knoxville next Saturday.
Alabama will host a first-round playoff game on July 1 regardless.
"But our guys held strong and got another huge win," Cokinos continued. "The fans were great and really got behind us. Now we've got to go take care of business and keep improving as we head into the playoffs."
Hill completed 15 of 33 passes for 179 yards and three touchdowns, with two of those going to Mico McSwain. Charles McClain led the Hammers with seven catches for 78 yards.
Alabama had led 17-7 at halftime and 38-14 heading to the final 15 minutes after Hill's 14-yard scoring pass to McSwain, McClain's 58-yard missed field goal return and a 40-yard bomb to McSwain.
Richmond pulled within 38-29 with 6:17 to play, but missed a two-point try before the Hammers put together the decisive drive that halted the comeback.