Massachusetts kicker Mike Weaver made a 60 yard field goal on the final play of the game as the Pirates defeated the New York Streets in the Westchester County Center in White Plains on Friday night. The victory clinched a playoff berth for the Pirates who now have won a franchise record six consecutive games.
Weaver’s game winning kick came after Streets’ Kicker Billy Deane had connected on a 24 yard field goal to give New York at 52-51 advantage with two seconds on the clock. It was a fitting ending to a game that featured ten lead changes.
The game stated with Weaver missing a 30 yard field goal attempt on the game’s first drive. Three plays later New York’s Edgar Allen Poe caught a 19 yard pass from quarterback David Legree for a seven-nothing lead. The Pirates tied the game as Massachusetts QB Sean Brackett led his team on a quick three play drive with wide receiver Devonn Brown pulling in a 25 yard strike and the first quarter ended tied at seven.
After Deane missed a 49 yard field goal attempt to start the second quarter, the Pirates gained their first lead of the game as Brackett and Brown connected on their second scoring play of the evening, this one from 28 yards out. With Weaver adding the extra point and a “Deuce” on the following kickoff, the Massachusetts lead stood at 16-7. The home team would tie it up on the next play as Legree fired a 45 yard bullet to Rob Jones for a touchdown. Deane connected on the PAT and a “Deuce” and the score stood at 16 all.
The Streets defense then grabbed its first turnover of the night as E.J. Frain picked off Brackett in the end zone for the game’s only interception. A lead change followed just two plays later as Legree’s 13 yard pass to Poe gave New York a 22-16 lead as the ensuing two point conversion attempt landed incomplete. With 2:17 remaining in the half the Pirates went back out front by a point as Brackett went deep once again, this time to the league’s top scorer in wide out Mardy Gilyard. The veteran receiver caught a 34 yard pass to give the Pirates a 23-22 advantage. The Streets had the answer as the Legree to Poe combination clicked for the third time in the half. Poe’s 44 yard TD grab saw the Streets re-take the lead, 29-23 with 48 seconds left on the clock. Poe would finish the game with eight catches for a game high 151 receiving yards and three scores. The Pirates still had time and Brackett would use every second as he engineered at 40 yard drive in seven plays to get into the end zone. With two seconds left on first and ten at the Streets 12 yard line it looked as if Brackett would be sacked to end the half, but his 12 yard scramble and dive to the goal line saw the ball break the plane and the Pirates went to the locker room, leading 30-29.
In the third quarter the see-saw battle would continue. The Streets regained the lead as Legree tossed a one yard pass to Devante Jenkins to send New York out front, 36-30. Six plays later it was Gilyard catching a 25 yard pass from Brackett for a one point 37-36 lead. The quarter ended with Deane missing a 35 yard field goal attempt, setting the stage for a game that was destined to go down to the final play.
The final quarter began with Gilyard reaching the end zone for the third time, this venture, a five yard run to pay dirt. Gilyard finished as the Pirates top receiver with nine receptions for 114 yards and two receiving scores. He added five yards on two carries and another rushing touchdown. After a rare turnover on downs by the Streets, the Pirates would gain their largest lead of the night as Brackett found Brown from 13 yards out and with the PAT by Weaver, Massachusetts was up by 15 points, 51-36 with 6:50 to play. Brown finished his night with six receptions for 88 yards and three scores. The game was far from over.
The Streets went right to work as in just two plays Legree connected with Jones for his second score of the game, this one from four yards to cut the Pirates lead to 51-43. Then on first and ten from their own ten yard line, Massachusetts wide out Tavares Martin Jr. fumbled on a running play which was recovered by New York’s Isaac Gross at the seven. After two stops by the Pirates, Legree, the National Arena League’s leading rusher, then took it himself seven yards for the score. A two-point conversion pass failed and the Streets found themselves trailing 51-49 with 1:23 to play.
The New York defense then came up with its biggest stand of the game as Brackett and the Pirates failed on four straight passing attempts, turning the ball over on downs. New York had the football first and goal at the ten yard line, trailing by two points with 44 seconds remaining.
After an incomplete pass on first down, Legree connected with Jenkins to the three yard line where he was tackled by Chucky Williams. On third down, Pirates defensive end JD Griggs and linebacker Kavika Luafatasaga tackled Legree for a one yard loss, which set up Deane for the potential game winning field goal. Deane’s 24 yard attempt was perfect, giving the Streets a 52-51 lead with just two seconds left on the clock.
Deane squibbed the kick off, where it was recovered by Gilyard at the ten yard line. The Pirates had one final play. With the ball spotted 60 yards away, Weaver kicked the longest field in Pirates’ history to give Massachusetts a 54-52 victory as the horn sounded. The kick broke the previous record which was set by Ali Mourtada, a 48 yarder last season on June 2, in Portland, ME in a 52-37 victory.
Weaver, who was a perfect seven for seven on extra points, accounted for 12 points in the victory. Brackett finished the night 21 of 32 passing for 274 yards with five touchdowns and one interception. He also ran three times for 16 yards and a score. Defensively, Chucky Williams led the Pirates with seven total tackles. JD Griggs added six tackles, two and a half sacks and three tackles for a loss. Toby Johnson tallied five hits along with a sack and a half, and 2.5 tackles for a loss.
Streets QB Legree ran 16 times but finished with a minus one yard rushing and a touchdown. His passing numbers were 16 of 26 for 264 yards with six touchdowns and no interceptions. Anthony Johnson led the Streets defense with eight tackles.
The Pirates will look to continue their winning ways when they face the Jacksonville Sharks on Saturday, July 13 at the DCU Center at 7:15 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 Franklin 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.