Wide receiver Thomas Owens had three touchdown receptions and returned an onside kick for a score as the Massachusetts Pirates defeated the Columbus Lions 61 to 37 at the Columbus Civic Center. With the victory the Pirates have now won five consecutive games.
The Pirates (6-4) jumped out to a seven-nothing lead as defensive back Lawrence Austin intercepted Lions quarterback Luke Collis on the first play of the game and returned the ball to the six yard line. Four plays later Mardy Gilyard finished off the team’s opening drive with a three yard run for his 24th touchdown on the season.
The Lions (3-7) tied the game with a Kamryn Pettway three yard run with 9:54 remaining in the quarter which ended tied at seven all.
Columbus took a 10-7 lead on a Lindsay Wolff 29 yard field goal to start the second quarter, but the Pirates answered on the next possession with quarterback Sean Brackett tossing a four yard pass to Owens to put the Pirates up by four. Columbus looked to remain perfect at home against Massachusetts as Bones Bagaunte pulled in a 39 yard pass from Luke Collis and the Lions were back out front 17-14. The Pirates would take the lead for good however as Brackett engineered at three play drive that covered 30 yards with Devonn Brown catching a 22 yard strike and Massachusetts was up 21-17. On the very next play, Austin picked off Collis for the second time in the half with just two seconds remaining. Mike Waver came on to kick a 44 yard field goal and the Pirates led 24-17 at the half.
The second half began the same way that the first half closed as Weaver connected from 46 yards with a field goal to push the Pirates lead to 27-17.
The Lions would keep it close as Collis hit Bagaunte with a 15 yard pass for a score to make it a three point game, but two plays later it was Owens catching a 27 yard score and the Pirates were back up by ten.
After Massachusetts forced the Lions to turn the ball over on downs with Toby Johnson sacking Collis, the Pirates reached into their bag of tricks with tight end Mitchell Bell catching a seven yard pass for a touchdown and with 1:10 to play in the third the Pirates were leading 40-24.
The Lions would not back down as they began the final quarter with a touchdown from Triston Purifoy. Purifoy who returned from a broken foot, grabbed an 11 yard pass from Collis to make it 40-31. After a 41 yard kickoff return by Gilyard, it took just one play as Owens caught his third TD pass of the night from Brackett, this one from 13 yards for a 47-31 advantage. The Pirates defense held again and the Massachusetts offense cashed in as Quayvon Hicks scored on a five yard scamper, giving the Pirates a 54-31lead.
Mitch Kidd came off the bench to lead the Lions on a four play, 30 yard drive which ended with Bagaunte catching a 30 yard TD for the Lions last score of the night as they trailed 54-37. The two point conversion try was no good as Kidd’s pass was tipped and intercepted by Khalid Wooten.
Wolff’s attempt at an onside kick was fielded by Owens who returned it seven yards into the end zone for the game’s final score of 61-37.
Brackett finished the night 20 of 30 for 205 yards with five touchdowns and two interceptions. Owens had 110 yards on eight receptions and three touchdowns. Defensively for the Pirates Austin had 4.5 tackles to go along with his two interceptions.
Luke Collis was 16 of 31 passing for 203 yards with two interceptions and three TD’s. Purifoy had 10 catches for 110 yards and a score while Bagaunte pulled in six receptions for 92 yards and three scores.
The Pirates now travel to New York on Friday to face the Streets on Friday, July 5th at 7:00 pm in the Westchester County Center in White Plains.
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.