After back-to-back losses against the defending champion Carolina Cobras, the Pirates were looking to get into the win column for the first time in 2019. That’s exactly what they did in dominating fashion Saturday night at the DCU Center against the Orlando Predators. MVP quarterback Sean Brackett lit up the scoreboard with five total touchdowns, three passing and two rushing in a 45-12 victory. The headline of the day was the overwhelming performance by the Pirates defense. The Pirates “D” was able to force three interceptions and generate five turnover-on-downs throughout the contest. Orlando struggled to move the ball all night long, which is a big reason why they have now slipped to 1-2. Coming into the game the Pirates (1-2) scored the least amount of points in the league thus far with only 44, however they were able to outscore that two-game total as they achieved a much-needed victory.
The Predators received the ball to open up the game. Quarterback Kyle Israel was driving the team down the field until Massachusetts linebacker Kavika Luafatasaga snagged a pass out of the air for an interception and returned it to the Orlando 19-yard line. The Pirates took over and were set up on the two-yard line after a defensive holding penalty in the end zone by Orlando defensive back Dallas Jackson. On the following play Brackett snuck it in from two yards out to take a 6-0 lead. Kicker Tyler Rausa added a deuce on the ensuing kickoff to put the Pirates up 8-0. The Predators took over but stalled. On 4th down from their own 19-yard line, Israel was unable to hit WR Prechae Rodriquez over the middle of the field, forcing a turnover on downs. The Pirates capitalized on the short field as Brackett found WR Ishmael Zamora in the corner for an acrobatic six-yard score to close out the first quarter, leading 15-0.
To open up the second quarter the Predators were moving the ball effectively as Israel hit Rodriquez for a 16-yard gain to get into Pirate territory. However, their momentum was quickly dashed a few plays later as defensive linemen JD Griggs sacked Israel on 3rd down for a loss of two yards. The Predators turned the ball over on downs the following play for the second time in the game. With 6:22 remaining in the half, the Predators took over from their own six-yard. Their early struggles continued as they failed to gain any yards on the drive but moved the chains after a roughing the passer call on defensive linemen Joshua Augusta. Israel was injured on the play, which thrust Predators backup QB Garry Chouloute into action. His first pass was intercepted by Lawrence Austin who returned the pass the way to the goal line before fumbling into the end zone, eventually being recovered by the Predators. Orlando took back over from their own five-yard line with just over two minutes to go in the half and once again couldn’t get anything going. On 4th down Israel under threw his target resulting in the third turnover-on-downs of the half for the Predators. The Pirates got the ball on the Orlando 21-yard line in prime position to add another score before halftime. After consecutive penalties on Orlando that set up Mass from the one-yard line, Brackett snuck his way into the end zone for his second rushing touchdown of the day to send the Pirates into the locker room up 22-0.
To open the third quarter Massachusetts came out and struck quickly, as a 3-play, 29-yard drive was capped off by a 12-yard touchdown strike from Brackett to WR Mardy Gilyard. The Predators finally answered as Rodriquez caught a 15-yard pass on the boards in the back of the end zone for the Predators first score of the game to make it 29-6. Rodriguez was the games’ leading receiver with nine catches for 79 yards and a TD. The following drive for the Pirates ensued with an overthrow by Brackett that was intercepted by DB Robert Brown Jr. Orlando used over six minutes off the clock on their ensuing drive, which came down to a fourth-and-one play at the goal line. Once again the Pirates defense prevailed and stuffed Israel on a quarterback sneak, resulting in the fourth turnover on downs of the game. The quarter ended and the Pirates had a comfortable 29-6 lead.
In the final quarter Israel (20 of 42, 195 yards, two interceptions, two TD’s) lead the Predators to a score hitting fullback Desmond Maxwell from 14-yards out to make it 29-12 with 9:38 remaining. Orlando attempted an onside kick but was unsuccessful, granting the Pirates the ball at the 11-yard line. Gilyard was able to draw a pass interference call in the end zone allowing the Pirates a fresh set of downs from the one-yard line. Two plays later, fullback Quayvon Hicks scored from one yard out to increase the Pirates lead to 36-12. Desperate for a score Orlando’s offensive struggles continued as four straight incompletions resulted in the fifth turnover on downs of the game. The Pirates would take over from the Orlando 20-yard line with 3:42 remaining. Brackett added to his TD total with a 24-yard seed to Thomas Owens for the Pirates final points and their first win of the season. Brackett finished 12 of 21 for 109 yards and three passing TD’s against one interception. Owens was his top target with five receptions for 61 yards and a score.
The Pirates will look to continue their winning ways next Saturday night at the DCU Center against Jacksonville in an 8:20 pm start.
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. For more information on the Massachusetts Pirates please call (508) 452-MASS (6277), email email@example.com 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 508-452-MASS (6277). Follow the Pirates on Facebook at Facebook.com/MAPirates on Instagram @mass.pirates, as well as Twitter @mass_pirates