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J.J. Raterink sparks Rush’s 54-51 comeback win over Dallas

Updated: August 5, 2011 10:11AM

Rush quarterback J.J. Raterink’s $400 game check doesn’t offer much of a financial incentive. He probably makes more working an offseason job.

So when he got slammed headfirst into the wall with 9:16 left in the third quarter and the Rush trailing the Dallas Vigilantes by 10 points in first-round playoff action Friday at Allstate Arena, he could have called it quits.

But Raterink proved his pride is priceless. He took off only two plays and rallied the Rush to a 54-51 victory by completing 8 of 12 passes for 111 yards and three touchdowns in the fourth quarter.

‘‘It doesn’t really matter what level you’re playing this game; you should enjoy playing it until the end,’’ said Raterink, who was 23-for-31 for 287 yards and six touchdowns overall. ‘‘It’s a short time that we get to do this. We’re living our childhood dreams. We’re getting to play professional football.’’

The Rush’s third victory this season against the Vigilantes put them in the National Conference championship game against the Arizona Rattlers, who pulled away in the second half to rout the Spokane Shock 62-33.

Trailing by three with 4:10 left, the Rush recovered an onside kick. On the next play, Raterink connected with Derek Lee on a 38-yard touchdown that gave the Rush a 54-51 lead. The play initially was ruled down at the 1-yard line, but a touchdown was awarded after coach Bob McMillen challenged the call.

The Rush then stopped the Vigilantes on downs at the 6-yard line with 52 seconds left to preserve the victory.

‘‘We told ourselves that if we held those guys to around 50, we had a shot at this thing,’’ McMillen said.

‘‘When the game was on the line, who stepped up? The defense made a stop on fourth down. .  .  . I thought they played a great game.’’

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