Columbus quarterback Luke Collis threw six touchdown passes and ran for two more as the Lions (2-2) defeated the Massachusetts Pirates 67-56 at the Columbus Civic Center. Chris Sanders-Mccollum led all receivers with ten receptions for 146 yards and five TD’s.
The Pirates grabbed at 2-nothing lead as kicker Tyler Rausa opened the scoring with a “Duce.” The Lions connection of Collis to Sanders-Mccollum found the end zone, but the Pirates countered as quarterback Sean Brackett hit Devonn Brown and after the point after and another “Duce” by Rausa, Massachusetts led 11-6 with 6:48 remaining in the quarter. Sanders-Mccollum’s second score of the game put the Lions up by one, but the Pirates (1-4) came back to grab their largest lead of the night as Brackett tossed a 19 yard pass to Mardy Gilyard and defensive back Lawrence Austin followed with an interception return 44 yards for a score and Massachusetts led by 13 points, 25 to 12 at the end of the first quarter.
That lead was short lived as the Lions would notch the next three scores. Collis and Sanders-Mccollum connected for the third time, Collis ran one in from a yard out and Parris Mack pulled in the longest pass play that went for six on a 36 yard strike and the Lions were up by ten, 35-25 with 50 seconds to play in the half. Brackett and Gilyard teamed up for a touchdown but Blake Erickson had the final say with a 28 yard field goal and Columbus held a 36-32 advantage at the half.
Erickson started the third quarter with a “Duce,” but the Pirates re-took the lead as Gilyard scored his third touchdown of the game on a seven yard pass from Brackett and with 11:21 to play in the third, Massachusetts was up 39-35. Gilyard led all Pirates receivers with eight receptions for 111 yards and three scores. That would be the last time the Pirates would led in the game.
Ronnie Barrow scored from a yard out for the Lions to regain the lead. Rousa added a 41 yard field goal for the Pirates, but Collis’ second short TD run gave the Lions a 53-42 advantage.
In the final quarter, Sanders-Mccollum caught his fourth TD of the game to widen the Lions lead to 60 to 42. The Pirates would mount a comeback as Brown caught his second TD pass of the game, this one from 17 yards and a Chucky Williams 45 yard fumble recovery for a score saw the Pirates down 60-56 with 7:48 remaining. With 2:24 to play Collis and Sanders-Mccollum put the game out of reach with a 23 yard scoring play and the Lions had a hard earned 67-56 victory.
Brackett finished the night 20 of 36 with no interceptions for 241 yards and five touchdowns. Collis was 25 of 38 for 350 yards with six touchdowns and one interception.
The Pirates will now regroup on a bye week before facing the New York Streets on the road on Monday, May 27 at 3:00 pm.
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