Commandos Bring Championship to Cincinnati
The old adage, "Defense wins championships," proved true during the CIFL title game Saturday night at Cincinnati Gardens.
On the strength of a stout defense and an efficient offense, the Cincinnati Commandos defeated the Wisconsin Wolfpack 54-40 in front of a crowd of 2,758 to give the city of Cincinnati its first professional football championship.
The Commandos defense tied the CIFL title game record after recording three interceptions - one each by DB Robbie Wilson, DB EJ Underwood and LB Torry Cornett - and routinely came up with huge plays to end potential Wisconsin scoring drives.
Cincinnati QB Ben Mauk went 18-29 passing for 195 yards and four touchdowns with no interceptions on his way to earning the CIFL Championship Game MVP Award.
After each team scored on its opening drives, the Commandos couldn't convert on fourth and goal from the 1-yard line, as RB Greg Moore was stonewalled by the Wolfpack front four.
But Cincinnati's defense drew first blood on the next play. On first and 10 from Wisconsin's goal line, Cornett recovered a fumbled snap in the end zone to give the Commandos a 14-7 lead with 4:39 left in the first quarter.
It appeared the Commandos were going to pull away in the second quarter when WR Brandon Boehm snatched the football out of the air between two defenders for a touchdown, increasing Cincinnati's lead to 20-7.
But Wisconsin quarterback Matt Schabert had other plans. He led the Wolfpack to a six play, 45-yard scoring drive just before halftime, capping it off with a 1-yard touchdown pass to Marcus Lewis as time expired and putting Wisconsin right back in the game, with Cincinnati leading 20-14 at halftime.
The third quarter started off on a frenetic pace, with both teams putting together scoring drives in each of its first two possessions, highlighted by RB Ray Jackson's 48-yard kickoff return for a touchdown.
Mauk threw two touchdown passes in the third period: a 27-yard laser to WR Robert Redd on a fly pattern and a 29-yard strike to Boehm to give Cincinnati a 40-26 lead heading into the fourth.
Wisconsin simply would not give up without a fight. After Schabert and Mauk exchanged touchdown passes to make the score 47-33, Wolfpack WR Brandon Wogoman, who broke the CIFL title game record with 14 receptions, returned the ensuing kickoff all the way down to the Cincinnati 5-yard line.
With Wisconsin on the brink of pulling to within one score, DE James Frazier came up with the play of the game when he swiped the football out of Schabert's hand and Wilson recovered with 7:03 left in the game.
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Continental Indoor Football League Stories from June 26, 2010
- Commandos Bring Championship to Cincinnati - Cincinnati Commandos
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