The Island Mariners are 2-0 as they prepare for their home opener Saturday in Maritime Football League play in Cornwall.
The competition gets tougher this week as the undefeated Saint John Wanderers (2-0) come to town for a first-place showdown at 4 p.m. at the Terry Fox Sports Complex.
The Michael Miller-coached Mariners ran their record to 2-0 with a 35-6 win over the Nova Scotia Buccaneers on the road Saturday. The visitors held 7-0, 15-0 and 28-0 quarter leads and didn’t punt until the fourth quarter.
Veterans Matthew Bruce and Donnie Mitchell recovered a fumble on the Buccaneers first offensive snap of the game.
Mariners quarterback Chris (Tex) Mutch found wide receiver Brennan Davis for a 20-yard and the two hooked up again as Davis hauled in a one-handed reception for the major to give the visitors a 7-0 lead.
Second-year players Joey Murphy and Jarvis Simmonds combined for tackles for losses on multiple plays on the Buccaneers next drive before Diangelo Woodside and Simmonds sacked the quarterback on third down to force a punt.
After an interception gave the ball back to the home side, defensive back Jayden Reid flew through the line of scrimmage and laid a big hit on the Buccaneers quarterback while setting the tone for the rest of the game.
In the second quarter, Mutch connected with Nicholson twice and ran for 20 yards behind the blocking Dave Clark before Davis’s field-goal attempt went wide right for a rogue.
The Mariners D got the ball right back for the Island squad with rookie J.J. Bernard and Simmonds tackling the running back for a seven-yard loss and forcing a punt.
Rookie quarterback Michael Petroschke entered the game for the Mariners and called his own number for 20- and 15-yard gains before hooking up with Davis for the touchdown.
Mutch intercepted a pass while playing defence to end the half.
Petroschke ran the ball in from 10 yards out to make it 22-0 in the third quarter. The score came after Clark and Davis hauled in 30-yard passes with Davis being taken down on a shoelace tackle on the five-yard line.
The defence continued to play well with linebackers Mitchell Osmond and Michael Varis stopping the running backs for losses and linebacker Richard Lush tipping a pass that Simmonds picked off and ran back for the major to make it 28-0.
In the fourth quarter, the Bucs attempted a fake punt, but Clark saw through it and stuffed the play. The home side got its first points of the game off a pitch, but the two-point conversion was unsuccessful, making it 28-6.
Defensive back Ryan Richardson picked off a pass for the Mariners on the Buccaneers next drive after linebacker Donnie Mitchell caused havoc in the middle.
Running backs Dillon Fortune and Clark drove the field 45 yards with carry after carry before rookie Paul Amba scored his second major in two weeks to complete the scoring.
Davis was 4-for-5 on extra points. Offensive linemen Justin Chandler, Angel Briones, and Brandon Bernard were key in keeping the Marines’ quarterbacks upright all game. The line has allowed two sacks in the first two weeks of the season.
Maritime Football League standings and schedule.
W L PF PA Pts.
Island Mariners 2 0 78 19 4
Saint John Wanderers 2 0 42 33 4
Halifax Harbour Hawks 1 1 39 36 2
Moncton Mustangs 1 1 63 22 2
Nova Scotia Buccaneers 0 2 15 49 0
Southern N.B. Ducks 0 2 20 98 0
Week 3 Games
Nova Scotia Buccaneers at Southern New Brunswick Ducks, 1 p.m.
Halifax Harbour Hawks at Moncton Mustangs, 3 p.m.
Saint John Wanderers at Island Mariners, 4 p.m.
Week 2 Results
Moncton 55 Southern New Brunswick Ducks 7
Saint John Wanderers 27 Halifax Harbour Hawks 25
Island Mariners 35 Nova Scotia Buccaneers 6
Did you know?
The Island Demons will play their first home game in the Maritime Women’s Football League Saturday at 1 p.m. at the Terry Fox Sports Complex in Cornwall.
The Demons are hosting the Fredericton Lady Gladiators from New Brunswick. The Island squad lost their first ever game 35-0 to the Saint John Storm on May 4.