Commandos Remain Unbeaten


 Last Minute Comeback

Keeps Commandos Undefeated

Clinches Home-field Advantage Throughout Playoffs

It most certainly wasn't easy, but the Cincinnati Commandos clinched the No. 1 seed in the CIFL playoffs after defeating the Fort Wayne Firehawks 49-46 in thrilling fashion, erasing a 12 point deficit in the final two minutes, for a 49-46 victory.  

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The Commandos conclude their regular season on the road at Wisconsin on Saturday, May 29, before beginning the CIFL playoffs with a home game on Friday, June 18 at 7:30 p.m.  Click here for playoff ticket information.

During the CIFL playoffs, come early and take advantage of the $1 happy hour PBR beer (6:30 pm - 8 pm), as well as $3 'Nati Lite drafts all night long and PARKING IS FREE IN ALL CINCINNATI GARDENS LOTS.


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 It most certainly wasn't easy, but the Cincinnati Commandos clinched the No. 1 seed in the CIFL playoffs after defeating the Fort Wayne Firehawks 49-46 in thrilling fashion Saturday at Cincinnati Gardens.


The Commandos completed a frantic comeback after Firehawks RB Tramaine Billie scored his fourth rushing TD of the game to put Fort Wayne ahead 46-34 with 4:16 left in the game.


On the first play from scrimmage on Cincinnati's ensuing possession, RB Greg Moore took a short screen pass 40 yards to the end zone to pull the Commandos within five points at 46-41 with 2:45 remaining.


Fort Wayne (3-4) went into run-out-the-clock mode and was in no hurry to run any offensive plays, but Cincinnati's defense came up with the big stop it needed and forced the Firehawks to attempt a 62-yard field goal attempt with one minute left.


Commandos DB EJ Underwood, fresh off CIFL Defensive Player of the Week honors, initially had trouble picking up the football after the missed field goal attempt, but recovered in time to return it 53 yards for a touchdown to give Cincinnati a 49-46 lead with 50 ticks on the clock.


The Commandos defense came up with another big stop after Kota floated a pass from the Cincinnati 20-yard line to the end zone on the game's final play that bounced off his intended receiver's finger tips.


With the win, Cincinnati (9-0) is now the CIFL regular season champion and has home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.


The Commandos overcame six turnovers, eight penalties and several key mental mistakes in a game that featured eight lead changes.


The Firehawks initially built their two-score lead early in the fourth on a bizarre missed field-goal attempt that was recovered by Billie in the Cincinnati end zone for a touchdown. Underwood was the return man on the play, but out of confusion opted not to pick up the ball.


Fort Wayne went into halftime down by just three points at 21-18 despite gaining only seven net yards of total offense, capitalizing on numerous Cincinnati mishaps.


A pass interference penalty by Underwood on fourth down extended Fort Wayne's opening drive and led to a touchdown run by Billie on the next play. The score marked the first time Cincinnati surrendered points in the opening quarter since April 10th vs. Wisconsin, a five-game streak.


Later on, a fumbled shotgun snap on Cincinnati's third possession was returned to the end zone by Firehawks DB Jesse Allen, giving Fort Wayne a 12-7 lead at the end of the first quarter.


Firehawks WR Justin Wynn ran the second half's opening kickoff 57 yards to the end zone to put Fort Wayne back on top 26-21.


Commandos QB Ben Mauk tossed three TDs to WR Dominick Goodman, another to WR Johnny Long and the big one of the screen pass to Moore. He finished the game 20-32 for 167 yards, five touchdowns and four interceptions. Mauk now has 46 touchdown passes on the season, 18 to Goodman.


On Fort Wayne's second possession, DE James Frazier sacked Colors for a loss of one yard. The quarterback takedown broke the CIFL record for team sacks in a season. Two plays later, DB Jeff Franklin recorded his league-leading ninth interception of the season.


Defensive linemen James Spikes, Terrill Byrd and Frazier combined for seven sacks, increasing their season totals to 15, 8.5 and 5 respectively.


Commandos OL Ryan King was ejected in the third quarter after receiving consecutive penalties for unsportsmanlike conduct and was replaced by Frank Straub.


Cincinnati's second-leading receiver, WR Robert Redd was absent from the game due to a tryout with the United Football League.


- Story by Jeff Geiser

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