Saturday night at the DCU Center in Worcester the Massachusetts Pirates (10-5) will take the field for their final regular season game against the Lehigh Valley Steelhawks (0-14). A victory would secure at lease a second place finish in the National Arena League and give the Pirates a first round playoff game at home on August 11.
The Pirates may enter the game without starting quarterback Sean Brackett who left last week’s game in Jacksonville with a sprained ankle and his status for Saturday will be evaluated throughout the week. Bracket was 8 of 12 for 96 yards and two touchdowns before being injured in the second quarter of a 45-36 loss to the Sharks. Backup Darron Thomas was 7 of 17 for 75 yards with five interceptions and two touchdowns in relief. Lavon Pearson led the Pirates receivers with eight catches for 86 yards and a touchdown while Mardy Gilyard had two TD receptions on five catches for 62 yards.
The Sharks defense forced six Massachusetts turnovers and also halted another drive holding on fourth down. Still the Pirates defense kept their team in the game with five stops of their own.
Last week the Steelhawks fell to Carolina 79 -28 with quarterback Caleb Walton connecting on 10 of 28 passes for 124 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. Wide receiver Darryl Boggan was the top target as he pulled in nine passes for 87 yards.
The Pirates offense is approaching 80 touchdown passes on the season as Brackett and Thomas have combined for 78. Devonn Brown continues to lead the team with 24 TD receptions and 1,037 receiving yards. Lavon Pearson has the most receptions on the team with 76. Pearson and Mardy Gilyard are approaching 20 touchdown receptions as Pearson has 19 and Gilyard 18.
Defensively Kiante Northington leads the National Arena League with 11 interceptions. He also leads the Pirates with 21 passes broken up. John Hardy-Tuliau continues to be the top tackler with 61.5. Linebacker Nick Haag has 11 tackles for a loss while JD Griggs in the team sack leader with seven.
While a victory Saturday will guarantee the Pirates a home playoff game, Massachusetts still has an opportunity to finish in first place provided they defeat the Steelhawks and Jacksonville loses to Maine. If that were the case the Pirates would face the fourth seed (Columbus or Carolina) and have home field advantage throughout the playoffs.
Of course there are three other playoff scenarios that could decide the Pirates first round opponent.
If the Pirates and Jacksonville both win the Pirates would be the second seed and face Columbus or Carolina at home in the first round.
A Pirates loss and Columbus victory over Carolina would still see the Pirates finish in second place where they would face Columbus at home. A loss and a Carolina victory would mean a third place finish for the Pirates and a road game in Carolina in the first round.
Kickoff for the Saturday night season finale is set for 7 pm at the DCU Center.
The Massachusetts Pirates are members of the National Arena League (NAL). The Pirates play all home games at the DCU Center located at 50 Foster St. Worcester, MA. 01608. Pirate Nation Season Ticket Memberships for the 2018 season are now available. Pirate Nation Memberships start as low as $60.00. To become a Pirate Nation Season Ticket member or for more information on the Massachusetts Pirates please call (508) 452-MASS (6277), email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.masspiratesfootball.com. Single game tickets are available online at ticketmaster.com or the DCU Center Box Office. For group outings please call Kara Mancini at 508-929-0125 or email email@example.com. Follow the Pirates on facebook at facebook.com/MAPirates on Instagram @mass.pirates, as well as Twitter @mass_pirates.