Pirates Post Big Numbers
By: Mick Moninghoff
May 13, 2021
WORCESTER, MA- As the Pirates are enjoying a bye week after going two and one on the road to start their first season in the Indoor Football League, there is time to reflect on the impressive numbers that the team and individuals have compiled.
Where it counts most, the Pirates offense has outscored opponents 121 to 76 for an average of 40.3 points per game while giving up just 25.3. One of the major reasons for Massachusetts success is that they are a perfect 13 for 13 in red zone scoring opportunities while their foes are just four of seven from 20 yards and in.
Massachusetts most productive quarter is the second, scoring a total of 41 points combined during the first three games, but the biggest point differential (20) is in the final quarter where the Pirates have closed out teams outscoring opponents 39 to 19.
One of the most impressive stats shows the strength of the Pirates defensive line of JD Griggs, Toby Johnson and Tavarus Dantzler as they have given up just 1.6 yards per rush. The defense has also sacked opposing quarterbacks seven times while the Massachusetts offensive line of Kendall Baker, Marquis Lucas and Jordan McCray has allowed just two sacks in the first three games.
So far in 2021 the Pirates have totaled 219 rushing yards while giving up just 72. That equates to 73 yards per game (4.7 per carry) for the Pirates and 24.6 (1.6 per carry) for the opposition.
The Pirates have also had the upper hand in the passing game throwing for a total of 467 yards while yielding 330. When it comes to total offense, Massachusetts has out gained its rivals by 282 yards (686 to 404) for an average of 228.6 yards per game to 134.6.
At quarterback Alejandro Bennifield, since moving into the staring role due to an injury to Sean Brackett, has connected on 54.5 percent of his passes completing 36 of 66 for 411 yards with seven touchdowns and just one interception. Twice he’s thrown three touchdown passes in a game. His most recent performance against Bismarck saw him throw for a season high 184 yards. He’s also scored seven rushing touchdowns which leads the team. Bennifield ran for a season high of four touchdowns in a game vs. Green Bay and threw for another leading him to be named IFL Offensive Player of the Week in week two.
The only other ball carrier has been Justin Stockton who has a team high 149 yards on 31 carries for 4.8 yards per attempt. He also has shown his receiving skills with six catches which is third most on the team, including a touchdown and receiving 38 yards. His 11 carries for 76 yards (6.9 per carry) and a TD vs. Louisville earned him league Offensive Player of the Week honors in week one.
The receiving corps is led by Thomas Owens. The former National Arena League Offensive Rookie of the Year leads the Pirates in receptions (15), receiving yards (222) and receiving touchdowns (4). His three touchdown grabs vs. Louisville are the most in a game this season and his eight receptions for 105 yards and a score in week three against Bismarck saw him garner the IFL Offensive Player of the Week.
Terrence Williams has been another “go to” receiver. The former Dallas Cowboy wideout has 110 yards on ten receptions and a score. The only other receiver to appear in every game is Laquvionte Gonzalez who has five catches for 23 yards.
Defensively, Pirates linebacker Martrell Spaight leads the team in tackles (25) and blocked kicks with two. A former fifth round pick by Washington in the National Football League, Spaight also shares team high honors in sacks with Dantzler with 2.5 and in passes broken up with defensive back Khalid Wooten with three.
Dantzler was recognized as the IFL Defensive Player of the Week in week two vs. Green Bay when he recorded six tackles, 5.5 tackles for a loss for a total of 35 yards, had 2.5 sacks and forced two fumbles, which tops the team. His 6.5 tackles for a loss lead the team this season.
Griggs is second on the team with 15 tackles and scored a touchdown against Louisville on a 12-yard fumble recovery. Johnson is tied for third on the team with 13 tackles with defensive back Santos Ramirez.
The Pirates next game will be the home opener vs. the Spokane Shock at the DCU Center, Saturday May 22 at 7:30 pm.
The Massachusetts Pirates are members of the Indoor Football league (IFL). The Pirates play all home games at Phoenix Field 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 email@example.com or visit http://www.masspiratesfootball.com. Single game tickets will be available soon at ticketmaster.com or the DCU Center Box Office. For season, half-season, luxury, or group ticket packages please call 508-452-MASS (6227). Follow the Pirates on Facebook via Facebook.com/MAPirates, Instagram @mass.pirates, and Twitter @mass_pirates. #GetHooked #AllAboard