The Earl Marriott Mariners senior football team lost its first official game at the AAA level last week, falling 28-15 to Rutland.
After a month of preseason action, the game against Rutland was the first game of the regular-season schedule.
Despite the 13-point margin of victory for the Okanagan squad, EMS head coach Michael Mackay-Dunn said the game was a closely contested one, especially in a back-and-forth first half that saw Rutland hold a slim 6-0 lead by halftime.
In the third quarter, the Mariners found themselves down 14-8, but a long Rutland touchdown play extended the lead – a play for which Mackay-Dunn took the blame.
“I made a bad defensive call, and they stuck it for a long TD run off the edge (of the field),” he told Peace Arch News. “It hurt our momentum.”
The Mariners running game eventually started to click in the second half, and Owen Dickie finished the contest with 148 yards on the ground, while Al Vergara had 60.
Dickie and Daniel Damron had the team’s only touchdowns, with Damron’s score coming “on a beauty 60-yard swing pass,” Mackay-Dunn said.
“Defensively, we struggled with their run game, but it was a good game – exciting and well played,” the coach said.
“We just let the game get away from us.”
The Mariners will get a chance to get into the win column this week when they face Abbotsford.