The Massachusetts Pirates (4-4) earned their third consecutive win as they downed the Orlando Predators (2-7) 45-31 in the Amway Center. The defense paved the way to victory, as defensive back Lawrence Austin had an interception while the Pirates added six sacks with defensive end J.D. Griggs and defensive lineman Toby Johnson each racking up two in the contest. Quarterback Sean Brackett threw four touchdowns and rushed for another score to lead the offense.
The first quarter of the game was a defensive battle. Each team scored a touchdown, as Orlando quarterback Bryan Hicks found wide receiver Greg Carr for a 10-yard touchdown. Predators’ kicker John Lunsford added a deuce on the following kickoff to put the Predators up 9-0. The Pirates slowly drove down the field until Brackett found Devonn Brown for a 14-yard score to make it 9-7. The stingy Mass defense forced a turnover on downs to close out the quarter.
The Pirates had possession to start the second quarter and turned the ball over on downs. On the following Orlando drive, Mass defensive lineman Du’Vonta Lampkin made an incredible grab to secure his first interception of the season. He bulldozed his way through the line and tipped the football up as Hicks released and made an athletic play to catch the ball before it hit the ground. Brackett and company used the momentum from the play to go down the field and score, as Brackett found Gilyard for a nine-yard toe-tap touchdown in the back of the end zone. Orlando responded with a touchdown of their own as Hicks found Michael Lyons from 13-yards out. Brackett then hit Gilyard again from 27-yards out for the final score of the half. The Pirates led 23-16 as they headed for the locker room.
It was a quiet third quarter, as the only score came when Brackett scrambled into the end zone from 16-yards out. The Orlando offense was plagued by a turnover on downs and a fumble by fullback Desmond Maxwell that gave the Pirates great field position. Linebacker Michael Boudreau and defensive linemen Justin Marcus teamed up to sack Brackett in the quarter to keep Orlando in the contest.
Each team scored twice in the final quarter. Orlando quarterback Baylin Trujillo found Lyons for an impressive 45-yard touchdown and connected with Carr again for a score. Brackett hooked up with Brown from 30-yards out and Gilyard rushed for a two-yard touchdown. The game got interesting at the final moments when the Predators recovered an onside kick with over four minutes left. However, the comeback attempt was quickly denied when Pirates defensive back Lawrence Austin hauled in an interception in the end zone to seal the game. The Pirates were once again victorious over the Predators by a final score of 45-31.
Brackett finished the night 16 of 24 for 154 yards, four TD’s and no interceptions. Dexter McCluster had six receptions for 36 yards. Gilyard pulled in five balls for 59 yards and two scores and Devonn Brown had four receptions for 52 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
Quayvon Hicks was the Pirates leading rusher with four carries for ten yards. Brackett had two carries for nine yards and a score while Gilyard had one rush for a two yard touchdown. Massachusetts kicker Mike Weaver enjoyed his best night going five for six on extra point attempts while adding two “Deuces.”
For Orlando, Hicks was 14 of 31 passing for 106 yards with two touchdowns and an interception. Trujillo was four of 11 for 99 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. Michael Lyons led all receivers in the game with seven receptions for 124 yards and two scores.
The Pirates will be back in action Saturday, June 22nd against the Columbus Lions at the DCU Center at 7:00 PM.
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.