By Rob Disario
Sunday’s win by the Maine Mammoths over the Jacksonville Sharks confirms what Pirate Nation knew all along: The Massachusetts Pirates are the best team in the National Arena League...for now.
The Pirates secured the number one seed giving them home field advantage throughout the playoffs, (as long as they win). Their first battle is this Saturday, August 11th when they face off against the Columbus Lions in Worcester, Massachusetts.
But the question on everybody’s mind is WILL SEAN BRACKETT PLAY? Immediately following the game on Saturday, I met with Coach Ameer Ismail and asked aout the star quarterback. His exact words were “We’ll see!” Further pressure by this analyst produced nothing more than “We’ll see” from the leader of the Pirates. He went on to say that even if Brackett doesn’t play, Darron Thomas will be ready to go and ready to win.
Not wanting to aggravate the coach any further, I inquired as to the Pirates’ missing receivers: Bones Bagaunte and Devonn Brown who did not dress for Saturday’s win over the Steelhawks. Coach Ismail reassured me that their lack of participation was a coach's decision to rest them and not the result of any injury or inability to play. Later, I caught up with #0 (Bones Bagaunte) and asked if he would be ready for Saturday’s first round game. Bones cracked a mischievous smile and replied, “I’ll be ready!” No wonder he’s a fan favorite.
In addition to answering player inquiries, Coach Ismail wanted to give a shout out to the players and coaching staff of the Lehigh Valley Steelhawks. He said Coach Barto and his team faced several challenges this season, but played with heart week in and week out.
Thus, the NAL playoffs shake out like this: Columbus Lions travel to Worcester to face off against the Massachusetts Pirates on Saturday August 11th; and the Jacksonville Sharks travel to Greensboro on Tuesday, August 14th to play the Carolina Cobras. Both games kick off at 7pm.