Baltimore Mariners Run Record to 5-4, Poised for Playoff Run
BALTIMORE, MD (May 23, 2009) – You could say they owed them one. Following an uncharacteristic 82-19 drubbing at the hands of the Columbus Lions on April 4th, the Baltimore Mariners had a bit of a score to settle with the South Division leaders. Spurred by a ferocious defense, a punishing running game, and a big play passing offense, the Mariners (5-4) stifled the usually potent Lions 52-32 at 1st Mariner Arena.
The Mariners’ rabid defense held Columbus (7-3), which was averaging over 52 points and just under 18 first downs a game, to a season low 32 points and ten first downs. Former Virginia Tech Hokie, Defensive Back Richard Johnson, set the tone early in the game when he grabbed a Kevin Huff pass and returned it 27 yards to spot the Mariners to a 14-1 lead only 5:44 into the game. Armar Watson and T-Wuan Prather also nabbed Lion passes and Watson added a fumble recovery to run Baltimore’s league leading turnover margin to plus 15. Former Minnesota Viking Fearon Wright added the defense’s exclamation point on the night with a safety that staked Baltimore to a 45-19 lead with 14:01 remaining in the game.
The Mariners offense was not be outdone on this night of paybacks. In the teams’ first match-up Baltimore was held to only two touchdowns and ten first downs. Last night, led by one of Quarterback E.J. Nemeth’s top performances of the season, and continued strong running from Isiaih Grier, the Mariners notched six offensive scores.
Grier continued to add to his American Indoor Football Association (AIFA) leading rushing tally with 57 yards and ran his touchdown total to 17 with three, three-yard scoring plunges. Nemeth spread his passes around with four receivers contributing, but Scorpio Brown was his favorite end zone target as they hooked up on touchdown strikes of 40, 14, and 2 yards.
The Mariners now hold a two-game lead over the third place Harrisburg Stampede with five games left on the 2009 schedule. The top two teams in each of the AIFA’s three divisions make the playoffs. Baltimore has three of its five remaining games at home including this week’s match-up against new rivals, the D.C. Armor, Saturday, May 30th at 7:00 PM at 1st Mariner Arena.