Baltimore, Maryland (June 28, 2009) – Led by five interceptions, including two which were returned for touchdowns, by Defensive Back Andre Letren, the Baltimore Mariners decimated the D.C. Armor Saturday night at 1st Mariner Arena 70-22. Mariners Quarterback E.J. Nemeth led the Baltimore offense by completing 12 of 19 passes for 176 yards and three touchdown passes. He also added a four yard scoring run. The Mariners (9-5) now travel to Reading, Pennsylvania to face the Reading Express (11-3) in an American Indoor Football Association (AIFA) first round playoff game on Thursday, July 2nd at 7:00 PM.
The Mariners offense set the tone early with an E.J. Nemeth to Aaron Yarbough 26-yard touchdown pass and a 47-yard J.R. Cipra field goal, which spotted Baltimore a 10-0 lead in the first quarter. Following a ruled sack after Nemeth tried to bat the ball from the end zone; D.C. was on the board for the first time and cut the lead to 10-2 to start the second quarter. Then Letren took over. The former Troy State two-sport standpoint (football and track and field) led a barrage by the Baltimore defense which held the Armor offense to only five first downs while gathering eight interceptions, four return touchdowns, and two sacks.
Letren garnered his second interception of the night and promptly returned it 31 yards for the score to boost the Mariner lead to 17-2 just 15 seconds into the second quarter. Just a minute and ten seconds later Adam Goloboski reeled in a pass from Armor QB Marlin McKinney and pitched it to Armar Watson, who then bolted 29 yards for the score. Following a J.R. Cipra rouge on the kickoff and Nemeth’s second touchdown strike of the game, a 12-yard pass to Jamaal Stokes, the Mariners held a formidable 32-2 halftime lead.
The Armor offense finally got on the board in the third quarter with a two-yard touchdown plunge from Running Back Mike Woodhouse and a 37-yard pass from McKinney to Rickey Simmons, but the Mariners also added Nemeth’s four yard touchdown run and his second scoring connection to Yarbough, a 31 yard pass, and the Mariners ended the third quarter leading 46-16.
Following the Mariners’ sixth interception of the day, this one by Defensive Back Richard Johnson, Coach Simpson rested Nemeth and brought backup QB Matt Folke into action. Following a short drive, Cipra connected on his second field goal of the contest to the push the Mariner lead to 49-16. Woodhouse added his second rushing touchdown of the evening to cut the Baltimore edge to 49-22, but after a failed onside kick and an offside penalty on the D.C. defense Isaiah Grier bolted in from the Armor ten to extend the Baltimore advantage to 56-22.
Letren then added the final piece to his defensive masterpiece with his fifth interception of the day and second return touchdown as he darted his way through the dejected D.C. offense to score from 38 yards out. As the Armor pushed to add one final touchdown to its 2009 total, Jamaal Stokes dashed their dreams as he grabbed a McKinney pass and zigzagged through the Armor to add a defensive score to his earlier touchdown catch and provide the final margin of 70-22.
After an often tumultuous inaugural campaign, which saw the Mariners finish 4-10, the 2009 squad, under the leadership of General Manager Greg Justice and Head Coach Chris Simpson, is now headed for the first playoff game in team history after finishing the regular season at 9-5. The Mariners will take on a Reading team, which they have defeated twice this season, but the Express have been a dominating 11-1 against the rest of the league. If the Mariners win their first round game they will be home for the second round if the Fayetteville Guard (8-6) upends the Columbus Lions (11-3). If Columbus wins the Mariners would head to Georgia for the second round of play and a shot at AIFA Bowl III.
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