Coming off of their first win of the season last week, the Pirates (1-3) looked to carry that momentum into the faceoff against the Jacksonville Sharks (2-1). The Sharks had a different idea. Lead by quarterback Jonathan Bane, who was 22 of 32 with 173 yards and seven total touchdowns, the Sharks offensive attack was too much for the Pirates to handle. Wide receiver Devin Wilson had a monstrous performance catching 12 balls for 77 yards and three touchdowns.
The Pirates started the contest on offense. A few plays into the drive, quarterback Sean Brackett (17 of 29 with 161 yards, five total touchdowns and two interceptions), threw a comeback route to wide receiver Mardy Gilyard, but the pass bounced off of his chest and was intercepted by Jacksonville defensive back Seth Ellis who returned to the 10 yard line. Two players later Sharks Bane hit receiver Durron Neal for a 10 yard touchdown to send the Sharks on top 7-0 early in the first quarter. The Pirates weren’t successful on their following drive, as defensive lineman Jonathan Taylor sacked Brackett on a fourth and short, resulting in a turnover on downs. The play set up the Sharks with great field position once again and Bane was able to find Devin Wilson for a 23-yard gain down the sideline. Two plays later Bane snuck it in himself from one-yard out, increasing the Sharks lead to 14-0. Brackett responded with a strike of his own hitting Lavon Pearson for a 23-yard gain to set up the Pirates at the goal line. Brackett then snuck the rock into the end zone for a touchdown, decreasing the Sharks lead to 14-7 with 2:37 reaming in the opening quarter.
The second quarter resumed with the Sharks steadily moving the ball on offense. However, a third-down sack by defensive lineman JD Griggs put the Sharks in a tough 4th down position. On the following play, Bane missed an open receiver streaking down the sidelines resulting in a turnover on downs. The Pirates used the momentum created from the defense to drive down the field and tie the game, as Brackett added his second rushing touchdown of the night from nine yards out on a fourth-and-one play. Kicker Tyler Rausa added a deuce on the following kickoff which put the Pirates ahead 16-14. The Sharks responded with an impressive eight play, 45-yard drive concluding with Bane adding his third total touchdown of the game hitting Neal from 18-yards out. The score was also the second of the night for Neal. In the closing seconds of the half, Bane found Wilson for a five-yard score to send the Sharks up 28-16 heading into the locker room.
The third quarter started with a bang as Bane found Jarmon Fortson open down the sidelines for a 30-yard touchdown of the first play of the quarter. Down 35-16, Massachusetts knew they had to get the offense clicking to stay in the game. The Pirates responded with a decent drive of their own, but it was cut off when they turned the ball over on downs after Brackett was hit from behind trying to move the chains with his feet on fourth down. The Sharks were able to capitalize on the turnover on downs and convert it into points. Bane hit Wilson for their second touchdown connection of the game, this time from 15-yards out putting the Sharks up 42-16 with 5:34 left in the third. The Pirates got a quick score of their own after a three-play drive ended with Brackett throwing his first touchdown of the game to Gilyard from 29 yards out. As the quarter came to an end Bane found Wilson again for a five-yard touchdown. The Sharks held a major 49-23 lead going into the final quarter of the game.
To begin the fourth quarter the Pirates put together a six play, 30-yard drive capped off by a touchdown. On the scoring play, Brackett reached his arms over the pile trying to break the plane with the football, however, he fumbled into the end zone. After a scramble for the loose ball, offensive lineman Brandon Washington dove on the rock for the score. After a slow drive, the Sharks turned the ball over on downs for the second time in the game after defensive back Lawrence Austin impressively broke up a pass on fourth down to give the ball back to the Pirates on the 16-yard line with 6:42 to go in the contest. Seven plays later Brackett was able to manipulate his way around the pocket and find an open Lavon Pearson in the back of the end zone to cut the deficit to 49-36. The Sharks started their following drive from the Pirates eight-yard line after a failed onside kick attempt with just over two minutes remaining in the game. Fullback Alstevis Squirewell punched it in from one yard out for the final score of the contest, granting the Sharks with a 55-36 win over the Pirates.
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