Quarterback Sean Brackett dove into the end zone for a two point conversion as the Massachusetts Pirates came from behind in overtime to defeat the Maine Mammoths 44 to 43 Saturday night at the DCU Center. The victory improved the Pirates record to 5-1 while Maine fell to 1-4. For Massachusetts, it was its first ever venture into overtime and the loss was no fault of kicker Henry Nell who accounted for 19 total points for Maine.
The game saw Maine jump out to an 11 – nothing lead as after Pirates kicker Ali Mourtada missed a 52 yard field goal on the games’ first possession, Mammoths quarterback Jonathan Bane connected with Devin Wilson on a six yard pass for the first score. Nell added an extra point and his first “Duce” of the game to set the tone.
The Pirates answered with a one yard run by Deshawn Johnson to cap a seven play, 45 yard drive and the Pirates trailed 11-7 as the first quarter came to a close.
In the second quarter Nell made field goals of 22 and 24 yards and added a second “Duce” and the Mammoths went to the dressing room with a 19-7 halftime advantage.
The Pirates came to life in the third quarter. Kiante Northington intercepted Bane and on the next play Brackett fired a 19 yard strike to Lavon Pearson for a touchdown. The PAT was no good but Mourtada nailed a “Duce” on the kick off and Massachusetts trailed 19-15.
On the next play from scrimmage Cheatham Norrils intercepted Bane, only to see Maine’s Keiron Jones return the favor, picking off Brackett on the next snap. The Pirates defense did come up with a stop which lead to Massachusetts taking its first lead of the night. Brackett scored on a three yard run and with Mourtada’s point after, the Pirates led 22-19. The Pirate defense continued to flex its muscles as the third quarter closed with Paul Vacchio recovering a fumbled snap, setting up a successful drive to start the final quarter.
In the fourth Brackett scored on a one yard run to push the Pirates lead to 29-19 with 13:56 to play. Two plays later it looked as if Massachusetts would pull away as Norrils intercepted Bane again. The Pirates drove to the eight yard line but Mourtada missed a 24 yard field goal which opened the door for the Mammoths. Bane drove Maine 45 yards in seven plays with Edgar Poe making a circus catch in the back of the end zone to bring the Mammoths within three points at 29-26 with 3:36 to play.
A failed onside kick by Maine gave the Pirates great field position. Brackett took advantage, hooking up with Pearson again, this time from 12 yards to make it 36-26 with 1:40 left. The game was far from over as Bane drove the Mammoths 30 yards in five plays. On fourth and goal from the three, Bane found Poe for the second time on the night, which made the score 36-32 with 3.7 showing on the clock. Nell came on to drop kick the conversion for two points to put Maine down by two. Nell then tied the game with a “Duce” on the ensuing kickoff to set up overtime.
Maine had the first possession in the extra session and on second on ten from the 19, Bane hit Devin Wilson and Nell’s PAT gave the Mammoths a 43-36 lead. Brackett and the Pirates answered in just two plays as the QB completed a 29 yard pass to Pearson down to the one yard line. Brackett took the next snap and scored his second rushing touchdown of the night to put the Pirates down by a point. Coach Ameer Ismail decided to go for the win. The first two point conversion saw Jones of Maine called for holding which spotted the ball at the one. On the next play Brackett dove over the goal line for two points and the Pirates escaped with a 44-43 victory.
Bane ended the night 20 of 39 for 191 yards, four touchdowns and three interceptions. His leading receiver was Poe with nine receptions for 83 yards and two scores.
Brackett was held under five passing touchdowns in a game for the first time this season as he was 19 of 32 for 175 yards, two scores and one interception. Pearson led the Pirates with 88 receiving yards and two TD’s with five catches. Mardy Gilyard pulled in eight balls for 53 yards.
The Pirates now take to the road and will try to avenge their only loss of the season when they face Carolina next Saturday night.
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