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Jacksonville Sharks (10-1) at Massachusetts Pirates (7-4)

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Saturday, July 13, DCU Center, Worcester MA 7:15 PM

By Mick Moninghoff

Local Radio: 98.9 Nash Icon 7:15 PM
LIVE Streaming: NAL YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qXq-RBPJ_Kg
PBP: Mick Moninghoff – Color: JJ Raterink
Officials as assigned by the NAL: Jeremy DeAngelo, Dave Gustafson, Jason Weigand, Joel Moenkhoff and Martine Jones

 One More Time
Replays of this game can be seen on NESN and NESN Plus at the following times:
Tuesday, July 16 – 9:00 PM  - NESN Plus
Wednesday, July 17 – 1:00 PM  - NESN|
*All Times Eastern

Pirates Transactions this Week
The Pirates have resigned and activated DB Lashard Durr, Miss. St.
The Pirates also placed DB Demetruce McNeal, Auburn; and DL  Du'Vonta Lampkin, Oklahoma, on Team Suspension.
WR Dexter McCluster, Mississippi, and DE/LB Tavarus Dantzler, Buthune-Cookman; remain on Short Term Injured Reserve.

For the Record
After winning in New York last Friday the Pirates have now won six consecutive games and have clinched a playoff spot in the National Arena League for the second consecutive season.  The six game win streak is the longest in franchise history. After a season opening loss to New York at home, the Sharks have run off ten straight wins. The Sharks can clinch the top seed throughout the NAL playoffs with a victory on Saturday.

 Last Week
The Pirates escaped White Plains New York last week with a 54-52 last second win over the Streets. Mike Weaver’s 60 yard field goal gave the Pirates their margin of victory after Streets’ kicker Billy Deane had given New York a 52-51 lead with a 24 yard field goal with just two seconds remaining. Weaver, who was a perfect seven for seven on extra points, accounted for 12 points on the night.  For his efforts, Weaver was named NAL Special Teams Player of the Week. Pirates QB Sean Brackett finished the Game 21 of 32 passing for 274 yards with five touchdowns and one interception. He also ran three times for 16 yards and a score. His top target was Mardy Gilyard with nine receptions for 114 yards and two receiving scores. Gilyard added five yards on two carries and another rushing touchdown.  Wide out Devonn Brown finished his night with six receptions for 88 yards and three scores. Defensively, Chucky Williams led the Pirates with seven total tackles. JD Griggs added six tackles, two and a half sacks and three tackles for a loss. Toby Johnson tallied five hits along with a sack and a half, and 2.5 tackles for a loss.

Streets QB David Legree ran 16 times but finished with a minus one yard rushing and a touchdown. His passing numbers were 16 of 26 for 264 yards with six touchdowns and no interceptions. His leading receiver, Edgar Allen Poe had eight catches for a game high 151 receiving yards and three scores. Anthony Johnson led the Streets defense with eight tackles.

The Sharks defeated the Orlando Predators 76 to 30 in Orlando. Sharks quarterback Mike Fafaul was 25 of 41 for 264 yards with six touchdown passes and one interception. WR Jarmon Fortson pulled in eight passes for 102 yards and two scores. Defensive back Seth Ellis had three interceptions with one going for a touchdown.

Record Setting Kick
Pirates Kicker Mike Weaver’s 60 yard game winning field goal last week against the New York Streets was the longest made field goal in National Arena League History. The Previous mark of 54 yards was held by Lindsey Wolfe of the Columbus Lions on April 21, 2018 in 51-41 victory over the Jacksonville Sharks in Columbus, GA.

 The Series:
Jacksonville leads the all-time series three games to one. The Sharks won the first meeting this season 55-36 in Worcester. Last year the teams split the two meetings in Jacksonville while the Sharks won in the DCU Center. The Pirates have never beaten the Sharks at home.

 The Last Meeting
(May 4, 2019 DCU Center, Worcester MA)
Jacksonville quarterback Jonathan Bane was 24 of 34 with 213 yards and six passing touchdowns while wide receiver Devin Wilson caught a 12 balls for 93 yards and three touchdowns in a Sharks 55-36 victory. The Pirates fell behind only to grab a 16-14 lead in the second quarter but Jacksonville scored the next four touchdowns to put the game out of reach.  Pirates quarterback Sean Brackett passed and ran for two scores going 18 of 27 for 169 yards with two interceptions. Wide receiver Lavon Pearson let Massachusetts with seven receptions for 61 yards and a score. 

 The Coaches
Anthony Payton is in his first season as Pirates Head Coach. Payton was the offensive coordinator of the Pirates last season. His record is 7-4 overall and 0-1 vs. the Sharks.

 Jacksonville Head Coach Siaha Burley is in his third season with the Sharks. Burley is 25-9 all-time in Jacksonville and led the Sharks to the 2017 National Arena League title. Burley is 3-1 vs. Massachusetts.

 Scoring Offense/Defense
The Pirates average 48.9 points per game (fourth in the NAL) while the Sharks lead the league netting 55.2 points per game. Defensively, the Pirates rank third allowing 46.5 points per night while Jacksonville leads the NAL allowing 32.4 points per contest.

Individual League Leaders

Completions – Total Touchdowns & Rushing Touchdowns
Pirates quarterback Sean Brackett leads the NAL in completions with 206. Brackett is 206 of 325 (63.4%) for 2,193 yards with 47 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. Brackett leads the league with 57 total TD’s with 47 passing and 10 rushing. His 10 rushing scores are also most in the league.

 Scoring
Pirates’ wide receiver Mardy Gilyard leads the NAL with 27 total touchdowns, points with 162 and sports the most points per game at 14.7.

 Kick Scoring
Massachusetts kicker Mike Weaver has the highest per game scoring average among kickers in the NAL at 9.0 points per game.

 Interception Return Yards, Interceptions for Touchdown and Solo Tackles
Lawrence Austin of the Pirates leads the league in all three categories.
Austin has 125 interception return yards, 46 solo tackles and he is tied for the league lead with two interception returns for scores.

Completion Percentage and Passing Efficiency
Jacksonville’s Mike Fafaul leads the NAL with an efficiency rating of 107.8 and in completion percentage at 64.3%.  This season he is 101 of 157 for 1,107 yards 27 TD’s and five interceptions.

Receiving TD’s, Receptions and Receptions Per Game
The Sharks Devin Wilson leads the NAL in all three categories with 86 receptions, 24 for TD;s and 7.82 catches per game.

Extra Points
Jacksonville’s Brandon Behr has attempted the most PAT’s in the league (82) and made the most conversions (71). He also has attempted the most field goals in the NAL this season with 12.

Sacks and Tackles for a Loss
Nick Woodman of the Sharks has 8.0 sacks to the lead the league. He is also tied for first with two forced fumbles. Teammate Zack Brown leads the NAL with 12 tackles for a loss. His 1.09 TFL per game is a league best.

Interceptions
Seth Ellis of the Sharks has 13 interceptions, most in the league and he also has defended a league best 26 passes.

Team Stats - Leading the NAL

Rushing Defense
The Pirates are best against the run having allowed just 120 yards all season. They also allow the fewest yards per rush (1.5) and yards per game (10.9).

Rushing Offense
Massachusetts gains 3.1 yards per carry and is tied with Jacksonville with 19 rushing TD’s to lead the league.

First Downs Rushing
The Pirates have 32 rushing first downs, tops in the NAL

Passing Efficiency – Completion Percentage
The Pirates QB’s rank first with a mark of 106.9 while completing 63.2% of their passes, also a league best.

Kickoff Returns of Touchdowns
The Pirates have two to lead the NAL

Interception Return Average
The Pirates average 12.2 yards per interception return to lead the league and are tied with most returns of TD’s with three.

Fumble Return Average

Massachusetts averages 45 yards per fumble return.

Fumbles Returned for Touchdowns

The Pirates and Sharks are tied with three others with two fumbles returned for touchdowns.

Jacksonville leads the NAL in the following categories:

Offensive Touchdowns Scored: 71

Total Offense: Yards (2847) and Yards per game (258.8)

Total Defense: 192.5 yards per game & fewest passing yards allowed 1,933

Pass Efficiency Defense: 96.2 rating

Most Total Touchdowns Scored:  78

Passing Offense: 2,624Yards, 238.5 Yards Per  Game, 59 Passing Touchdowns, Completions 236, and fewest interceptions with ten.

Passing Defense: Fewest Completions (190), Fewest Yards (1,933), Lowest Completion Percentage (50.4), Fewest Touchdowns (38), Fewest Yards Per Game (180.0) and Most Interceptions (25).

PAT Kicking:  Most Made (71), Most Attempted (82) Percentage Made (86.6)

Field Goals Returned: 2

Kickoff Return Average: 23.9 yards per return.

Fumble Recoveries:  10

Turnover Margin: +14

Opponent First Downs: 166

Third Down Conversion: 44.9%

Opponent Third Down Conversion: 26%

Opponent Fourth Down Conversion: 31%

Sacks: 28 (and Sack Yardage, 155 yards)

Kickoff Coverage Net Average: 47.2 yards

Onside Kick Success: 50% (2 of 4) Tied for first.

Onside Kicks Allowed: 0 (in two attempts)

The Massachusetts Pirates are members of the National Arena League (NAL). The Pirates play all home games at the DCU Center located at 50 Franklin St. Worcester, MA. 01608. For more information on the Massachusetts Pirates please call (508) 452-MASS (6277), email contact@masspiratesfootball.com 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.

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