Baltimore Mariners 7-4 Now Focused on AIFA Championship

BALTIMORE, MD (June 11, 2009) – The Baltimore Mariners clinched a playoff berth last weekend, but there was no champagne popping, no horns blowing, no local news bulletins. In the Mariners’ locker room, however, they were not looking for public acknowledgment.

According to Baltimore General Manager Greg Justice the attitude in the Mariners locker room is “Take your respect! We are not satisfied and must improve each week! That is the only way to achieve our goal of a championship!”

After three straight wins that have thrust the Mariners (7-4) into the playoffs, the team is now focused on goals two and three; winning the North Division title and the American Indoor Football Association (AIFA) championship. Both will require more hard work, and a little help, for a team that first assembled in a February mini-camp.

With just three games remaining on their schedule, Baltimore trails Reading (9-3) by 1 ½ games, but they own the tie-breaker over the Express having defeated them 59-44 and 40-36 earlier this season. Even holding the tie-breaker the Mariners must finish their final three games against the Harrisburg Stampede (home June 14th), South Carolina Force (away June 20th), and D.C. Armor (home June 27th) in strong fashion and look for help from the Erie RiverRats and Stampede who take on Reading in the Express’ final two games.

Regardless of the outcome of their final three games the Mariners have already clinched one of the coveted six playoffs spots in the AIFA’s postseason. They are also guaranteed a first round game against the Express, in either Reading or Baltimore, depending on the regular season’s outcome.

To take a look ahead, if the Mariners win their first round game, a second round home game is also possible as the North Division champion would take on the South Division winner at the higher seed’s home. The South currently has both playoff spots up for grabs with the Columbus Lions (8-3), Fayetteville Guard (8-3), Florence Phantoms (6-5), Carolina Speed (5-6), and South Carolina (5-6) separated by only three games with three to go. The only certainty is the league’s title game will be at either the Wyoming Cavalry (10-1) or Utah Valley Thunder (8-3); as this year’s West Division champion is guaranteed to host AIFA Bowl III and these clubs have clinched the West’s two spots.

Regardless of their opponents the remainder of this season, the Mariners still have their final goals in mind. Head Coach Chris Simpson notes, “One thing we’ve focused on this season is finishing. Whether it’s a game or the season, we need to finish strong. There is no time to sit back and be happy with what we have accomplished thus far this season. Our ultimate goal is to win the AIFA championship.”

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Submitted by John Wolfe
Media Relations Director
Baltimore Mariners