Come See Some Hard Hitting National Arena League Action
The red-hot Massachusetts Pirates (4-4) will look to add to their current three-game win streak this Saturday as they prepare to battle the Columbus Lions (3-5) at the DCU Center. In the first meeting between the teams, the Lions got the last laugh in a 67-56 victory. Oddly enough, that was the last game the Pirates lost. This time around the Pirates are hoping for a different outcome, but it won’t be easy against the talented Columbus roster.
A quarterback duel should be in full effect on Saturday night. Pirates quarterback Sean Brackett has been the focal point of his team’s winning streak. He is completing 62% of his passes, which leads the league. He has also thrown for 1,441 yards, 32 touchdowns, and seven interceptions. Columbus quarterback Luke Collis leads the National Arena League in touchdowns with 41, also throwing for 1,832 yards and seven interceptions while completing 56% of his passes. He is coming off of a monstrous performance against the New York Streets, a game in which he threw for 290 yards and nine touchdowns. The winner of Saturday night’s matchup will depend heavily on the play of these two elite quarterbacks.
As far as the rushing attack goes, the Pirates have the upper hand. Fullback Quayvon Hicks is currently the overall leader in the league rushing with 108 yards, while also adding four touchdowns on the year. Brackett also adds a sneaky rushing element to his game, having rushed for 85 yards and eight touchdowns thus far. For the Lions, newcomer Kamryn Pettway has excelled in his first three games with Columbus putting up 65 yards and three touchdowns.
This matchup showcases some of the top wide receivers in the NAL. For Massachusetts, the game-breaking speed from Mardy Gilyard has caused headaches for opposing defenses all season long. His 40 receptions for 522 yards leads the Pirates receiving core, while his 17 touchdowns lands him in second place in the NAL in receiving scores. Devonn Brown has developed into a top target for Bracket as his 24 receptions for 279 yards and seven touchdowns speak from itself. The Lions are stockpiled with talent in their pass catchers, and each of their top-three options having caught 10 or more touchdowns on the season. Paris Mack leads Columbus in yards with 681 while catching 42 passes for 10 touchdowns. Bones Bagaunte leads his team in receptions with 51, while also gaining 457 yards and scoring 13 touchdowns. Chris Sanders-McCullum has caught 14 touchdowns so far this season to lead the Lions in that category, as well as catching 45 passes for 514 yards.
Defensively, Pirates’ defensive back Lawrence Austin has been exceptional all season long. His 42 total tackles ranks him at third in the NAL in tackles. He also added five interceptions, 16 pass breakups, and a forced fumble. Defensive lineman JD Griggs is the main pass rusher for Mass. His five sacks are a team high, while also having 14.5 total tackles, six-and-a-half tackles for loss, three quarterback hits, a forced fumble, and safety to his name. Columbus is led by linebacker Greg Halls Jr. His 29.5 total tackles, three-and-a-half sacks, five quarterback hits, a blocked kick and a safety show his unique skills and ability to wreck a game in all phases. Defensive back Shattle Fenteng is the top-dog in the Lions secondary with 27 total tackles, two interceptions, and 16 pass breakups.
A Pirates win would thrust the team’s record to over .500 for the first time this season.
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 contact@masspiratesfootball.