Ismail Builds Strong Defense for Pirates

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Most teams are a reflection of their leader. When the Massachusetts Pirates selected Ameer Ismail to be their head coach they were getting a former linebacker who has made an impact wherever he’s been.  The former All-American at Western Michigan saw time in the NFL, AFL and IFL where he was the 2012 Defensive Player of the Year.  After building successful defenses as an assistant coach for three seasons, Ismail became a head coach last year with Bloomington in the Indoor Football League. The Edge had the second best defense in the league and appeared in the IFL title game.  Now as the head coach of the Massachusetts Pirates much the same is expected.

     It should not have been a shock then that the Pirates gave up only five first downs and two dozen points in their first ever game, a 51-24 victory last Saturday again the Maine Mammoths.  Now Ismail has the challenge of keeping his team playing at a high level while still keeping them grounded.  Here is my interview with the coach of the Pirates.

MM: The biggest change in a team is between week one and week two. What is the biggest change you have seen going into this weeks’ game?

AI: I see the confidence level increasing and that’s a positive for us. We know what we are capable of doing and it’s my job to make sure it doesn’t go overboard where we think we are better than we actually are.  We don’t want a false sense of security after just one game.

MM: You had a great team effort in week one but who were the players who might have surprised you in your opener?

AI:  Kiante Northington, defensive back from Eastern Kentucky and Devonn Brown, wide receiver from Fresno State.  Both are real quite guys who work really hard and have a lot of fire. They both really performed well.  Northington had two interceptions and Brown pulled in three touchdown passes.

MM:  Your defense caused four turnovers and had multiple stops but have you ever seen a defense get eight stops in a game?

AI: Personally, no I haven’t but I’m not surprised with the guys that we have. We were ready for those situations and we don’t want to give any offense an inch. We try to make it as hard as possible for them to move the sticks, make first downs and score. We spotted them a couple early and then we adjusted, keyed on what they were doing and it worked from there.

MM: Were you pleased with your offense in game one?

AI: Yes but we left a lot of points out there with a couple of turnovers and miscues, but I felt we protected very well as we did not give up a sack.  We made the most of our opportunities, especially the deep ball and we ran the football well with Dashawn Johnson, London Crawford and Devonn Brown.  We scored enough points to win the game.  We still have to tighten things up including the timing of our routes, then we’ll be good to go.

MM: This week you go on the road to face the National Arena League defending champions in the Jacksonville Sharks.  How will you approach this one?

AI: We don’t back down from anybody. I don’t care how many championships they have or how many games they’ve won. We’re going with the mindset that we have to do everything right and win each phase of the game.  If we do that we’ll come out on top and if we don’t they’ll make us pay.

About The Massachusetts Pirates

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. Pirate Nation Season Ticket Memberships for the 2018 season are now available. Pirate Nation Memberships start as low as $90.00. To become a Pirate Nation Season Ticket member or for more information on the Massachusetts Pirates please call (508) 452-MASS (6277), email or visit Follow the Pirates on facebook at on Instagram @mass.pirates, as well as Twitter @mass_pirates. 

Pirates Media Contact: Jawad Yatim President 508-723-2014

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