After a critical 45-12 victory over the Orlando Predators to gather their first win of the season, the Massachusetts Pirates (1-2) look to get their record to .500 this weekend against the Jacksonville Sharks (1-1) at the DCU Center in Worcester. Both teams are riding high coming into the contest as the Sharks just tormented the Columbus Lions (0-2) by a score of 45-22.
For those that like a passing duel this game is headlined by two of the top quarterbacks in the National Arena League. Jacksonville’s Jonathan Bane has been a monster throughout the first two games of the season, throwing for 479 yards for nine touchdowns and four interceptions. His 314 passing yards against the New York Streets is the highest mark of the season out of all the quarterbacks in the league. MVP Sean Brackett has struggled at times this year, but put together a need confidence-boosting game against the Predators. He threw for 109 yards, three touchdowns, and one interception while also adding another two scores rushing. The Brackett vs. Bane battle could be in full effect come game time.
As far as the rushing attack goes, neither team seems very keen on gaining yards on the ground. Quayvon Hicks leads the Pirates in rushing with 52 yards and two touchdowns while Bane leads the Sharks with 19 yards and a touchdown. The Pirates have 90 yards on the ground compared to Jacksonville’s 45 yards, although the Sharks have played one less game this season.
Sharks wide receiver Devin Wilson leads his team in receiving with 207 yards and three touchdowns. His 11 receptions against the Streets his the highest total for a single game in the league. The Pirates deploy two distinct weapons as speedy WR Mardy Gilyard has 135 yards and five touchdowns on the year while Thomas Owens has racked up 156 yards and a touchdown thus far.
On the defensive side of the ball Pirates defensive back Lawrence Austin has been incredible this year as he has 11 total tackles with a league leading three interceptions and four pass breakups. Defensive lineman JD Griggs has provided the Pirates with an exceptional pass rush as his 8 total tackles, two tackles for loss and one and a half sacks lead the group of lineman. Jacksonville’s Cody Saul has put pressure on opposing wide receivers with nine and a half tackles with two interceptions and a pass breakup while DL Nick Woodman brings the heat up front. He’s gathered seven tackles, three and a half tackles for loss and three sacks.
The Sharks converted on 10 of their 17 third downs through two games this season, good for a 59% conversion rate. The Pirates have struggled in the third-down department as they have only converted on eight of their 26 attempts.
Game time for the contest is 8:20 pm in 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. 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 508-452-MASS (6277). Follow the Pirates on Facebook at Facebook.com/MAPirates on Instagram @mass.pirates, as well as Twitter @mass_pirates.