Osos Rivas QB Garrett DelleChiaie Photo: Paula Romo
Mariners might be seafaring folk, but the sailors from Gijon could barely keep their heads above water Saturday in Madrid.
When the flood gates broke open against the potent Osos Rivas offense, there was little the visitors could do but sputter to a 49-12 loss.
Right from the start, it was clear that the Mariners would have to battle a storm. On the first play from scrimmage, powerhouse Spanish running back Adrian Jimenez broke loose for a 22-yard gain and it didn’t take long for quarterback Garrett DelleChiaie to cap the drive with a 19-yard touchdown strike to Alvaro Guitian to put the opening points on the board.
After an unsuccessful first drive of their own, Gijon’s defense showed some resilience mid-way through the first quarter. DelleChiaie broke several tackles on a long scramble to start the series, but the Mariners responded with a red zone interception to keep the score at 7-0. After a three and out by the offence, special teams seized the momentum. A booming David Rojas punt ricocheted off Osos returner Jorge Ruiz, Miguel Quince scooped it up. Rather than run it in for a score however, Quince was ruled unable to advance the ball and the Mariners luck ran out with a turnover on downs.
Rivas took full control of the game on the very next play. Adrian Jimenez waited for his blocks to develop, then made one cut straight through the belly of the Gijon defense for a 59-yard touchdown run. After Javier Carrasco forced a Quince fumble on the ensuing drive, the Osos were right back at it. DelleChiaie rolled left on the first play and somehow threaded the needle to Guitian in double coverage, who rolled off his defender and followed a caravan of receivers to take a three score lead.
After conceding 21 unanswered, the Mariners finally got some wind in their sails. Quarterback Marcos Martinez found Alejandro Herrerro in a pocket in the zone and the receiver did the rest, side-stepping two tacklers on his way to the sideline then outpacing the rest for a 30-yard score.
The extra point attempt was drilled off the facemask of Johnny Escobar and Rivas silenced any hope of a comeback with two quick scores. DelleChiae first found Alejandro Tizon for a 38-yard touchdown, then a fumbled exchange between Martinez and Javier Castanon on the next drive was pounced on by Escobar in the endzone, putting the Osos up 35-6 at the half.
The current would not be any kinder to the Mariners after the intermission. After yet another turnover on downs, DelleChiaie led the Osos down to the goal line once again. Italian-American Mike Gentili was stood up at the line, but broke from a quiet afternoon to bounce off the contact in the backfield and race outside for six.
Gijon finally found a rhythm late in the third quarter and Martinez opened the fourth with a 30-yard touchdown strike to his favorite target Herrerro, but that served only to whip up enough energy for one final tidal wave from Rivas. DelleChiaie hit a streaking Tizon for 38 yards in double coverage, then twice moved the chains with his feet to get into the red zone. Adrian Jimenez ran for an 18-yard touchdown that was called back by penalty and responded simply by running in another from 25 yards out on the very next play to ice the game at 49-12.
Explosive runs from Jimenez book-ended the dominant performance from the Osos and the repatriated star finished with two touchdowns and 113 yards on seven carries. Garrett DelleChiaie neared the century mark on the ground himself and had a slow day through the air by his standards, finishing with 180 yards passing, three touchdowns and a pick. Alejandro Tizon led the way receiving with two catches for 76 yards and a score, while Alvaro Guitian was right behind with two touchdowns and 65 yards of his own.
For the Mariners, Marcos Martinez weathered the storm under center, completing 10 passes for 100 yards and two touchdowns, but Alejandro Herrerro was the main bright spot, hauling in five of those passes for 90 yards and both scores. Miguel Quince was the leading rusher, recording 45 yards on nine carries.
The 2021 Spanish season has been filled with unexpected results, but there were no surprises on Saturday. The winless Mariners continue to drown at the bottom of the LNFA standings, buffeted by teams like the Osos who have loaded up on top import talent and European standouts in the absence of other leagues.
The winds of change may be rippling the water at the top of Spanish football, but some things are as predictable as the tides.