07/10/2018 12:55 AM -
By Mick Moninghoff
Massachusetts quarterback Sean Brackett threw three touchdown passes to wide receiver Bones Bagaunte and defensive back Kiante Northington had two interceptions including a pick six as the Pirates (9-4) won their third straight game this season over Lehigh Valley (0-11) 62-35
The Steelhawks took the opening kickoff and used a Caleb Walton 22 yard pass to FJ Williams to set up the first score of the game. On second and goal from the five, Walton found tight end Peter Borum for six. Spencer Hotaling’s point after put Lehigh Valley out front 7-0.
The Pirates answered using their tight end as well. On second and 12 at the Steelhawks 17, Sean Brackett threw his 60th touchdown pass of the season. The screen to Cornelius Lewis saw the 6’-4” 305 pound lineman pull in the pass at the 12 and then out race Rodney Hall Jr. into the end zone for the TD. Ali Mourtada’s PAT knotted the score at 7-7.
After a missed 26 yard field goal attempt by the Steelhawks Spencer Hotaling, the Pirates picked it up as Brackett found Mardy Gilyard from 15 yards out for a 14-7 lead. The Pirates would never trail the rest of the game.
In the second quarter Brackett began with a 15 yard strike to Bones Bagaunte for a 20-7 advantage. Lehigh Valley kept it close as quarterback Caleb Walton scored on a two yard run and a “Duce” by Hotaling closed the gap to 20-16 with 6:32 to play in the half.
Massachusetts answered with Bagaunte catching his second score of the night from 20 yards out and then the defense went to work. Kiante Northington intercepted Walton on a deflection and returned it 36 yards for a touchdown. Mourtada added a “Duce” and two plays later defensive back Khalid Wooten notched a pick-six with a 26 yard return. Mourtada’s second consecutive “Duce” upped the score to 45-16. Walton scored his second TD of the night with a one yard run, but the damage had been done as the Pirates led 45-22 at halftime.
Lehigh Valley started the third quarter with defensive stop followed by a score as Daryl Boggan pulled in a 10 yard pass for a touchdown, but Mourtada gained three of those points back with a 27 yard field goal as the Pirates led 48-28. Northington broke up back to back passes to end the next Steelhawks drive which ended the third quarter.
Two plays into the final set Brackett hit Bagaunte for his third touchdown of the game from 18 yards away for a 55-28 advantage. Bagaunte led all receivers in the game with 10 receptions for 142 yards. That ended the night for Brackett as he finished 17 to 27 for 195 yards and five touchdowns without an interception.
The Steelhawks final points came with 9:27 to play as Pirates backup quarterback Darron Thomas fumbled a snap and Leroy Neysmith returned it 38 yards for a touchdown to make the score 55-35.
Thomas quickly collected himself and led the Pirates on an efficient four play drive with the final 25 yards coming on a touchdown pass to Devonn Brown for the games’ final points and a 62-35 victory. For Brown it was his team leading 20th touchdown on the season.
Thomas finished four of six passing for 73 yards and at TD. The Pirates defense added one more stop before the final horn, its seventh of the game, as Northington hauled in his second interception on the night. He now has ten picks on the season. Walton was 20 of 39 for Lehigh Valley for 199 yards passing with two scores and three interceptions. His leading receiver was Charles McClain with seven receptions for 69 yards.
The Pirates now have a bye week before returning home to face Carolina, Saturday, July 21 at the DCU in Worcester at 7:00 pm.
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