WORCESTER, MA- Fans in the DCU Center could feel the animosity between the Lions and Pirates last night in a barn-burner battle! Players from both teams shared words not suitable for this publication along with several side scuffles between plays.
Making matters worse, the yellow tinker tape flew quite often as both teams were victims of bad calls! But the first half ended with a Sean Brackett first down boom! touchdown to Devon Brown tying the score tied at 34.
Pirates special teams did their job by starting the second half with a fumble recovery, run-back touchdown. A bad hand off transition from Espinoza forces the ball loose and Pirates Defensive Back Cheatham Norrils scoops it up and runs it into the no-no zone!
Late in third, Pirates fumble during a kickoff return giving Columbus great field position. That brings up the start of the fourth quarter with Columbus on the 16 yard line down by a touchdown. Pirate defense fights hard but after three plays Espinoza goes to Johnson (and an extra point) to tie the score at 48.
Brackett and company respond by driving the ball down field with catches by Mardy Gilyard and Bones Bagaunte. Pirate Quarterback Darron Thomas comes in for several unsuccessful QB-sneak attempts. Brackett returns, but fails to convert after a 4th down, over-the-boards incomplete pass intended for Bones Bagaunte (score still tied at 48).
After a big defensive stand by the Pirates, stopping Espinoza from converting a 4th, Brackett gets the ball back with just under four minutes to play. Bracket throws a deep intersection to Columbus’ Chris Pickett who runs back twenty yards to set Espinoza and his Lions offense a first and goal with three minutes left. One play later, Durran Neal catches a blown coverage, TD for Columbus (Lions up 55-48).
Sean Bracket and Devonn Brown tie the score with a combination pass-play with a minute left in the game (55 all). Columbus does some clock-wasting on the following drive, but Pirate defense comes up big with an unbelievable fumble recovery. In a poor choice of play calling, Columbus attempts a poorly executed spotpass-thrown behind the line of scrimmage.
Bracket drives down field yet again. With a Lions pass interference call, Pirates claim four chances from the two yard line for a chance to pound one in for the game winner. Brackett decides to go to Lavonn Pearson for a one yard pass-n-dive finishing the game with a big Massachusetts Pirates win, 62-55.
These teams meet again in two weeks in Columbus, Georgia for what’s sure to be another beat-down, drag-out, barn burner! Next week, however the Lions travel to Greensboro, North Carolina for a matinee face off against the Cobras at 12:00pm. The Massachusetts Pirates stay home next Saturday when their visited by the Lehigh Valley Steelhawks. Tune into NAL Youtube channel at 7pm for all the action!