By Rob Disario
And just like that, the Massachusetts Pirates are back on their A-game. With the aid of last minute pickups: Lashard Durr, Jokobi Smith and Ishmael Zamora, Coach Payton and his previously shipwrecked buccaneers topped the expansion Orlando Predators. The highlight of Saturday's match-up was the Pirate defense who left the Florida team scoreless after the first half. Predator offensive line couldn't hold back the onslaught of pressure and quarterback Kyle Israel spent the game either on his back or on the run.
In an exclusive AFT interview, I asked Mass Pirates head coach Anthony Payton what he did differently to prepare for tonight's win. “You have to understand,” he said. “Carolina is the best team in the league...I have 18 new guys, coming from the outdoor game, they needed to adjust.” Payton went on to say the return of snapper Thomas Claiborne made a big difference in the pass protection.
I asked Coach Payton about Devonn Brown not playing tonight, “He’s banged up” he offered. “They ran him at the CFL tryout and he came back all banged up!” When asked whether Brown would dress for next week’s match-up against the sharks he said, “I don’t know...we’ll see how he does at practice."
Coach Payton took his share of digital hits this week after two painful losses to the Cobras. But in extraordinary fashion, he kept himself and his players focused to not only finish with a win, but outscore the Predators four to one. The Jacksonville Sharks visit Worcester for week 4 match-up on Saturday, May 4 kickoff at 8:20pm.