MAFIA HOLD OFF NIGHTMARE IN CLOSE FINISH
HILLSBORO – After finishing the regular season with the best record in the PNFL’s inaugural season
before falling in the championship game, the Rip City Mafia hoped to come out and set the tone early
and send a message to the rest of the league in their opener of the PNFL’s second season. The Portland
Nightmare didn’t get that message. The Nightmare, featuring a number of players from the Oregon
Outlaws of last season, put together a textbook opening drive, utilizing a number of short passes and
well timed runs, to punch it into the endzone, but it would be the Mafia who ultimately came away with
After giving up a touchdown on the opening drive of the game, the Mafia responded with three
consecutive touchdowns in the first quarter. Featuring a balanced attack with Blake Imholt at
quarterback and Kelsie Turner and Adrian Smith at runningback, the Mafia worked their way down the
field for a couple of scores. The defense even got into the mix, as Mafia linebacker Marco Zamora
intercepted a Trevor McGraw pass and took it all the way into the endzone for a pick six.
Despite the turn of events, the Nightmare did not go quietly into the night. Behind Malcolm Grady’s 3
touchdown receptions, the Nightmare were able to tie the game 20-20 late in the 4th quarter. After
securing the touchdown reception on the opening drive, Malcolm’s last two touchdowns came from
deep throws down the field, where he was able to utilize his speed to get behind coverage and out run the
Getting the ball back late the 4th quarter with the game tied, the Mafia put together what may ultimately
be a season defining drive. Utilizing some big plays through the air and fantastic runs behind a solid
offensive line, the Mafia were able to work the ball into the redzone with two minutes remaining.
Despite displaying a stingy defense for most of the game, the Nightmare were unable to stop Marco
Zamora, as he took a pass out of the backfield, and was able to cut up field and dive into the endzone for
the game winning touchdown.
After getting the ball back with less than two minutes left to tie the game or take the lead, the
Nightmare started their possession with three straight incompletions. On 4th down Nightmare
quarterback Trevor McGraw was flushed out of the pocket, and after tucking it in and giving his all on a
run, he came up a yard short of a first down, giving the ball back to the Mafia, who were able to secure
the win in what proved to be a hard fought battle between two very good teams.
The crowd was treated to a highly entertaining game between two fantastic teams. Certainly, the loss
stings for the Nightmare who came close to pulling out a victory, despite having a small roster with few
available players on the bench. Although one team had to be crowned a winner, one thing is for certain
– the Rip City Mafia and Portland Nightmare are both going to be in the mix for the coveted PNFL
The Mafia play the Vancouver Venom next week, while the Nightmare face off against the Benton
Bulldawgs. Both games will be held Sunday at Hare Field.