Chicago, Il. May 16, 2022.
The Marlins crossed rivers and oceans. They came from La Paz and Cabo San Lucas bringing their dreams as high as the waves in San Pedrito, Baja California Sur. They swam to Mexico City after being burned by the Monterrey Parrilleros led by former Auburn star Jeremy Johnson. The juice was on, the banged up Marlins showed up to the gridiron wearing white uniforms, the fans supporting the Marlins showed up at the Palillo Martínez Stadium, the team led by coach César Martínez arrived to the new Tenochtitlán representing Baja and all its people, the real pro football is here and you should jump on the bandwagon sooner rather than later. It took years to get to this point and thousands of football players gave their lives to see what we have now. Thanks to iconic symbols of this game like Alejandro Morales Troncoso (LNF) and Juan Carlos Vázquez (FAM/LFA).
The Cabo Marlins knew it was going to be a difficult task, but they were ready to ride the waves of courage from the home team, the Mexico City Rojos. The strength of this red monster is a display of power coming from Lindavista, the Mexico City neighborhood that saw the rise of the Accion Deportiva Pieles Rojas, college football national champions in 1975, under the command of Manuel ‘Gallo’ Rodero. The same field that saw the NY Giants practice in 1976 with Larry Csonka in their ranks. Today the tradition of toughness translates into a powerful squad that recalls the power of Mexico City.
They used to say that professional football in Mexico was an illusion, today that vision comes from the multi-talented stars of college football in Mexico playing in the FAM-YOX league. The Mexico City Rojos are led by the spirit of the University of Mexico Pumas. Coach Raúl Rivera is back on the sidelines, he brought in his coaches and former players. Miguel Ángel Romero, Marco ‘Pimpon’ Martínez, while on the gridiron we see the tremendous linebacker Cheché Aceves, a forceful former Puma. The IPN did their part and this talent was bolstered by former Burros Blancos WR José Rodrigo Aquino González and of course the addition of playmakers from the US. These warriors bring spectacular plays to Mexican professional football.
Rojos RB Denzel Strong decided that it was going to be his day. The Reds’ offensive plan was designed to macerate and catch the Marlins easily like the red snappers on display at El Mercado de la Viga. Coach Raúl Rivera was ready to use his powerful powerboats. The unstoppable Omar Jair Rodríguez Urbina, a wild warrior for the Pumas CU, was the team’s horsepower. Running, escaping the net of the Marlins’ defense made by the quarterbacks fishermen. The Marlins were fighting, Carlos Antonio Montaño made an impressive sack that stopped the Rojos’ attack. The Marlins were on their way to the end zone when the Rojos came forward and got the ball back. The Marlins weren’t going to give up. Their blood was boiling.
At halftime the Marlins had -11 rushing yards and 114 passing yards. The furious Marlins knew they came here to win, they fought bravely on the field with dirt hidden under the grass to make it more dramatic. Anthony Perkins Jr. (9) connected with Emmanuel Harris (15) to put the Marlins in Rojos territory. The Rojos aren’t easy to beat and Howard (4) hits Harris, it’s an intense one-on-one battle.
It’s the 3rd quarter, a withering shot from Perkins to McKenzie (2) takes the Marlins to the Reds 9-yard line. The Mexico City defense is as brilliant and heavy as Huitzilopochtli, the wise solar deity. The float pass jumps into the sun to beat the Rojos defense. Harry goes straight and cuts to the middle to make a refreshing 19 yard catch for a touchdown. The Marlins were losing 27-7.
The Cabo defense stops at an important 3 and 15 and the Marlins are back in the pool. Jorge Martínez (21), former RB of Pumas de Acatlán, exploits the gaps for the Marlins to swim fast. Perkins throws an incredible 60-yard pass to Harris. However, the Rojos’ defense stopped the attack. Then the Rojos offense came back with Huntley running hard down the middle. Dust on uniforms and smash mouth football in Mexico City. Strong makes an olympic jump and hits the 10. The Marlins’ defense can’t stop the brand new red jet ski in the form of Huntley. Rodrigo Aquino makes the conversion good.
Emmanuel Velázquez sprints 40 yards to get into the end zone. The Marlins are falling apart as individuals like Al Pacino’s Miami Sharks in the movie Any Given Sunday. The Marlins are back with the football. The Rojos showed 7 men covering, so the Marlins QB decided to go short and the receiver ran like an ATV from the dunes down the Viaducto Miguel Aleman. It’s the fourth quarter and Cabo is at the Mexico City 45-yard line. Jorge Martinez plays hard while Howard fights and McKenzie goes fast. Six minutes to go and the Marlins are spearing fish and Valdez (88) is a powerful weapon. On 4 and 10, Emmanuel Harris fought hard while three Rojos couldn’t bring him down. Touchdown Cabo. Rojos 41 Marlins 20.
The Rojos didn’t slow down at all. Devante Hill, like a race car at the Hermanos Rodríguez Racetrack, goes fast on a 40-yard pass. Later Huntley connects with Fernando Langle for a TD for the Rojos. The Marlins came out brave as no one expected. Their anger and courage is just building for growth, learning that a fishing tournament is beyond the power of the boat, it requires unity, from the backfield to the defensive line. The day the offensive line plays as a unit and closes every block strong, this team would be great, even in adversity. The Marlins and Rojos put on a great show. The Marlins are on their way to being a gigantic ship, an impressive giant squid that is ready to anchor off the coast of professional football in the land of Tezcatlipoca Rojo and the Guaycuras.
MEXICO CITY ROJOS 53 CABO MARLINS 20
Follow Omar Ureña on twitter: @omarurena_