After a lengthy bye week, the Pirates (1-4) will be rested and ready to go for their upcoming matchup against the 3-1 New York Streets in Westchester on Monday afternoon at 3:00. The Streets are currently in third place in the National Arena League. The time off allowed for massive changes to the Pirates roster. Massachusetts added former NFL All-Pro wide receiver Dexter McCluster, former Patriots offensive lineman Tre’ Jackson, and shipped wide receiver Lavon Pearson to the Carolina Cobras in exchange for future considerations. Sitting at four games below .500, the squad hopes these roster moves will turn the season around.
As far as the passing attack goes, New York quarterback E.J. Nemeth leads the league in passing yards per completion, efficiency, passing yards per attempt, and passing completion percentage. Through four games he has completed 62% of his passes while throwing for 917 yards, 19 touchdowns, six interceptions, and four rushing scores. The Pirates Sean Brackett has used his rushing ability to lead the NAL in yards per rush and rushing touchdowns with four. Through the air, he has accumulated 807 yards with 15 touchdowns and seven interceptions while throwing for 53.9%.
Statistically, the Streets have the upper hand when it comes to the receivers. Their leading wideout, Rob Jones, has been extremely effective so far as he’s caught 28 balls for 423 yards and eight touchdowns. Opposite of Jones stands Devonte Jenkins, who has totaled 25 receptions for 284 yards and six touchdowns. Thankfully for the Pirates games are played on a field, not paper. On the field, Mardy Gilyard is one of the most explosive and shifty weapons in the NAL. He has 22 receptions for 298 yards and nine touchdowns while Thomas Owens marked 19 receptions for 156 yards and a touchdown in only three games. The addition of Dexter McCluster will add to the Pirates arsenal.
Neither team rushes extensively, however, the Pirates hold the top-two spots in the league in overall rushing with Quayvon Hicks’ 60 yards and 58 from Sean Brackett. The big-bodied Hicks has also rushed for two touchdowns. For the Streets, Robert Thomas sees most of the backfield touches. On 12 attempts he has gathered 48 yards and two touchdowns. Not far behind is Nemeth who has 24 yards rushing and four touchdowns.
Each team's number one receiver also returns kicks. Jones has 135 yards on eight returns, while Gilyard has 230 on only nine. The special teams could play a huge factor in the outcome of the contest because New York has allowed 217 yards on 10 returns against their first four opponents, which plays in the Pirates favor.
On defense, both teams shine in the secondary. New York’s Denzel Thompson has three interceptions 19 total tackles, six pass breakups, and a forced fumble. Two of those interceptions were returned for touchdowns as well. Juwan Haynes adds a productive stat line of 21 total tackles and eight pass breakups. For the Pirates, defensive back Lawrence Austin is second in the NAL in overall interceptions with four. His 24 total tackles and eight passes defended shows the versatile skill set he brings to the defense. Chucky Williams’ 16 total tackles, four pass breakups and a forced fumble, which he returned for a touchdown, make for a significant defensive backfield.
In all three Street victories, they have scored over 50 points. If the Pirates defense can be stingy enough to hold them under that mark, the Pirates would have a considerable shot a victory.
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. 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.