The Liverpool Raptors season is now well underway, with the University’s team preparing for their second home game of the season, in which they’ll host the Lancaster Bombers. The side have picked up two wins in their last two, dominating the Bangor Mud Dogs in a 41-0 win, before winning on the road at Edge Hill by a 27-6 scoreline- two strong performances by the defence, who we featured in the previous edition of ‘Meet the Players’.

In the second of our ‘Meet the Players’ series, we’ll be introducing you to two of the team’s top offensive assets, Wide Receiver Alex Totir and Running Back James Sutherland!

How long have you been playing American football and how did you originally start?

Alex: I’m now in my third year of playing for the Raptors. Having played rugby my whole life, I fancied trying something else when I came to Uni. I knew the captain at the time and he convinced me to come down and try it out; I’m glad he did!

James: I originally started by playing for Merseyside Nighthawks under 19s team in 2015, then I joined the Raptors as they were starting up in my first year.

What attracted you to play in your current position?

Alex: Quite simply the glory of scoring Touchdowns.

James:  I saw the opportunity to use my speed, which was really different to when I played defence in football.

What’s been your best moment playing football?

Alex: My first touchdown. It was the first one scored by a receiver for the Raptors, so that made it even more special. It all happened so quickly but I’ll never forget the buzz of taking it into the end zone.

James:  This season for the Nighthawks we played Manchester in a big rivalry game. We were getting beat with 1 second left to go and threw a Hail Mary to score and take the win. Everyone ran onto the pitch and it was a huge high point of my career.

What’s been the worst moment of your football career?

Alex: Probably our game against Keele in my first year. We were undefeated in three games, but the pitch was like a swamp; it had been hammering it down all day, so it was impossible to catch the ball and we only managed one first down all day. What should have been a comfortable win, ended 0-0 with us losing in overtime, damaging our momentum and costing us a playoff spot at the end of the year.

James:  My worst moment probably came last season in the Christie Cup; it was the first play of the game and as someone tackled me, they landed on top of me, breaking my collarbone. This was very disappointing as it was at the end of the season, but it also meant that I missed quite of a bit of the Merseyside season.

Who’s one player in the NFL you really admire?

Alex: Odell Beckham Jr, the New York Giants receiver. Some of the catches he makes are just insane, as they shouldn’t even be possible, plus he’s a huge character off the field.

James: Aaron Rodgers, the Green Bay Packers QB, because he’s one of the best quarterbacks in the league and he has the mentality to play no matter what.

What’s one thing you really want to achieve in a Raptors jersey this year?

Alex: I want to win the division and get a ring. I’ve been fortunate enough to be part of this team for 2 years now and we’ve gone from strength to strength, I believe we have a good chance this year. To do it in my last year would be the perfect way to end a class 3 years with the Raptors.

James:  I’d love to win the conference in my final year for the Raptors.

The ‘Meet the Players’ series will be continued soon, with part three focusing on the Special Teams!

The Raptors host the Lancaster Bombers this Sunday, the 9th, at JMO Sports Field and kicking off at 2:30PM!

We’ll be covering the Raptors throughout the rest of the season, so stay tuned for more coverage.
If there’s any aspect of the Raptors you’d like us to bring, any suggestions are welcome!

Thank you to James and Alex for their participation.