Mariners open football season with big win

Earl Marriott varsity squad beats Howe Sound 28-6 in first game of AA Tier 2 schedule.

More than a little rusty due to a lack of practice, the Earl Marriott Mariners still managed to win their first regular season game in BC Secondary Schools Football Association play.

The Mariners topped the Howe Sound Sounders 28-6 Friday afternoon at Earl Marriott Secondary, the first of four league games on their Tier II schedule.

“We were sloppy, but we had more athletes than they did,” said Mariners head coach Mike MacKay-Dunn. “It looked like we only had five or six practices.”

Practices were limited, then non-existent, during the strike by the B.C. Teachers Federation. The Mariners took to the field once or twice until the Surrey School District stopped all extra-curricular activities, but practice resumed once schools reopened Sept. 22.

“You can go out and get on the field as much as you want on your own, but it’s not the same,” said MacKay-Dunn. “As for systems, and precision, we need more practice.

“But the kids were very excited. When something is taken away from you, it’s more precious when you get it back.”

Nathan Brown rushed for more than 100 yards and a pair of touchdowns to lead the attack against Howe Sound, Patrick Grabowski added 60 yards rushing and a major score, while Robbie Herrington recovered a fumble and returned it 30 yards for the fourth touchdown.

Quarterback Chris Riley passed for 120 yards and ran for 40 more.

Grabowski and Jaydon Sanderson were the leading tacklers on defense, and Johnny Meneray had an interception.

With their first league game behind them, the Mariners won’t play another until Oct. 24. Until then, MacKay-Dunn has arranged a pair of exhibition games, and hopes to add a third before league play resumes. Earl Marriott will travel to Washington state for a game next Friday, then will host the Duchess Park Condors of Prince George on Oct. 11.

• The Lord Tweedsmuir Panthers opened their Senior AA regular season with a 42-9 loss to the Terry Fox Ravens last Friday.

The Ravens are now 2-0.