Mariners Play AIFA Finalists Tough in 36-27 Defeat
READING, Pennsylvania (March 8, 2008) – A loud sellout crowd of 6,800 awaited the Baltimore Mariners Saturday night, when the team began its inaugural AIFA journey with a hard-fought 36-27 defeat to last year’s league finalist Reading Express.
The Mariners began their existence in spectacular fashion, scoring on the very first scrimmage play in franchise history. Quarterback Mike Orihel, playing his first indoor football game, fired a 45-yard strike to Kevin Scott for a 7-0 Mariners’ lead. The Express scored twice to take the lead, before Orihel found 6-foot-8-inch wide receiver Travon Magee with a five-yard pass to seize back the lead at 14-13. Nearly two minutes later, the Mariners built their lead to 20-13 when Richard Johnson picked off an errant pass by Express rookie John Port and returned it 32 yards for the score.
But from there, the defending AIFA Northern Division champions took control with four straight scores, holding the Express scoreless in the third quarter. Trailing 33-20 early in the fourth quarter, the Mariners capped a drive with a one-yard run by Jason Crawford. That pulled Baltimore within six points, before Erik Rockhold’s 43-yard field goal at 5:43 increased Reading’s lead to the final margin of 36-27.
“I’m pleased with how well the Mariners played against a very successful, veteran Reading team,” said Mariners’ owner John Morris. “It was an incredible night: scoring on the very first play, a full building, national television…it was really an unforgettable experience.”
Express coach Bernie Nowotarski also had a positive impression of the Mariners’ players and their game plan.
“We knew they had talent,” Nowotarski said. “I believe they played a very good game.”
The Mariners travel to Florence, South Carolina to take on the Florence Phantoms on Saturday, March 15th. The Mariners open their home season at 1st Mariner Arena Friday night, March 28th, against the Columbus Lions.
Don’t forget the Mariners play their first home game on March 28th at 1st Mariner Arena. Several of the WNST crew will be there! For more info check out the WNST home page calendar or go to www.baltimoremariners.com