For the first time in franchise history the Massachusetts Pirates (8-3) will take the field in Columbus, Georgia in sole possession of first place in the National Arena League when they face the Lions (6-3) in the Columbus Civic Center this Saturday at 7:00 pm.
The Pirates lead the season series two games to none with both wins coming in the DCU Center in Worcester, MA in thrilling fashion. Both ended with quarterback Sean Brackett throwing a touchdown pass to wide receiver Lavon Pearson in the closing seconds.
In the May 6 contest the Pirates trailed by 15 points in the second half. Brackett’s 10 yard pass to Pearson with five seconds to play secured a 44-37 victory. In the June 16 game Pirates defensive back Kiante Northington forced a fumble and Darryl Render recovered it with 24 seconds left. There was 4.4 seconds on the clock when Pearson caught a two yard slant and dove over the goal line for a 62-55 win.
The Pirates enter the game on a three game winning streak coming off a 53-34 win over the Lehigh Valley Steelhawks in a game where seven Massachusetts receivers caught passes and Brackett threw seven touchdown passes. Columbus defeated Carolina last weekend 57-55 as Quayvon Hicks ran for 60 yards and three scores and Jarmon Fortson added three TD receptions.
The Pirates are third in the NAL in scoring and points allowed, averaging 54.1 points per game on offense while yielding 44 a contest. The Lions rank second in the league scoring 55.8 a night and allow 45.9 a game, fourth best in the NAL.
The game will feature two of the league’s top quarterbacks in Brackett and Mason Espinosa. In 10 games Brackett has completed 184 of 311 attempts (59.2%) for 2,284 yards with 54 touchdowns and 15 interceptions. Espinosa is completing 67 percent of his passes (200 of 297) with 50 TD’s and three interceptions for 2,235 yards in nine games.
If you are looking for offensive production look no further than the Pirates Bones Bagaunte who leads the NAL with an average of 122.4 total offensive yards per game and the Lions Durron Neal, second at 115.1 per contest.
The NAL’s top rusher is Hicks who has 250 yards and ten touchdowns on 62 carries. The Pirates are hoping to slow him down with the addition of R.J. Roberts. In his first game as a Pirate Roberts posted three and a half sacks, a forced fumble and a blocked field goal against Lehigh Valley.
The receivers on both teams are among the leagues’ best in several categories. Devonn Brown of Massachusetts tops the NAL averaging 19.5 yards per catch and total receiving yards (791) while the Lions Fortson has the most receptions (64) and receptions per game (8.0).
Brown leads the Pirates with 17 touchdowns on with 41 receptions for 791 yards. Mardy Gilyard has 48 receptions for 455 yards and 12 scores, Lavon Pearson 47 catches, 587 yards and 14 TD’s and Bones Bagaunte 33 grabs for 332 yards and nine touchdowns. The Lions receivers are just as impressive. Fortson tops his team with 64 catches for 553 yards and 18 TD’s, Triston Purifoy has caught 60 balls for 739 yards and 11 scores and Durron Neal has compiled 47 receptions for 710 yards and 19 touchdowns.
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 $60.00. To become a Pirate Nation Season Ticket member or 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 Kara Mancini at 508-929-0125 or email email@example.com. Follow the Pirates on facebook at facebook.com/MAPirates on Instagram @mass.pirates, as well as Twitter @mass_pirates.