Baltimore, Maryland (May 28, 2009) – Georgetown vs. Fells Point, the Mall vs. the Inner Harbor, the Washington Monument vs. The Washington Monument (I’ll let you decide which is which). Like a couple of overly competitive siblings, Baltimore and Washington have praised each other, but also have rivaled each other. Now, with the first edition of Baltimore Mariners vs. D.C. Armor you can add one more battle for bragging rights to the list.
When the Mariners and Armor take the field this Saturday, May 30th at 7:00 PM at 1st Mariner Arena, the American Indoor Football Association (AIFA) playoff chase gets officially underway. In the North Division, the Reading Express (9-2), who suffered their only two losses to the Mariners, has wrapped up one of the division’s two playoff spots. The Mariners (5-4) who hold a 2 ½ game lead over Harrisburg (3-7) and a three game lead over D.C. (2-7) and Erie (2-7), are still battling all three teams for the final spot in the North. Key to the stretch run in a scheduling anomaly where Baltimore and D.C. square off three times in five weeks, providing local fans rivalry overload, and the Baltimore area its first possible summer playoff fever in over a decade.
Baltimore’s offensive commander is QB E.J. Nemeth (6’3”, 245, Sacred Heart) who has totaled 1,352 passing yards and 19 touchdown strikes against only seven interceptions. Spurring the AIFA’s top rushing attack is Mariner RB Isaiah Grier (6’1”, 215, Rhode Island) who leads the AIFA in rushing and is second in rushing touchdowns with 14. WR Jamaal Stokes (6’1”, 185, Alcorn St.) leads the Mariners with 50 receptions while receiver Scorpio Brown (6’4”, 225, Morehouse) tops the Baltimore wide-outs with seven touchdowns.
On the defensive side of the ball DB Armar Watson (5’11”, 180, Duquesne) has grabbed an AIFA best nine interceptions, while leading the Mariners with 33.5 tackles. DB Richard Johnson (5’11”, 200, Virginia Tech) has pulled in seven interceptions and ranks second with 30 tackles and LB/DE Fearon Wright (6’4”, 245, Rhode Island) sparks the Mariners with 4.5 sacks and five tackles for a loss. Kicker J.R. Cipra (5’9”, 170, Ohio Northern) has booted a league best 22 field goals and is second amongst kickers with 115 points.
The largest obstacle facing the Mariners is the D.C. defense which ranks first in the AIFA in total defense and passing defense. The Armor has been plagued by a league-worst -19 turnover margin, while the Mariners lead the AIFA with a +12 margin.
Regardless of the outcome, one thing is for sure, a new Baltimore-Washington rivalry will be born providing local football fans year-round opportunities to battle for bragging rights.