Pirates Shocked in Home Opener – Presented by Steward Health

By: Mick Moninghoff
Pirates Writer
May 23, 2021

WORCESTER, MA – The Massachusetts Pirates built at 26 to 7 lead through three quarters only to see the Spokane Shock run off 27 straight points to steal a 34 to 26 victory at Phoenix Field at the DCU Center on Saturday night. Spokane (1-1) used a pick-six interception by Dominick Sanders and fumble recovery in the fourth quarter to power the comeback over the Pirates (2-2).

Things started well for Massachusetts as on their first possession of the game quarterback Alejandro Bennifield tossed an eight-yard touchdown pass to Darren Carrington and a two-conversion to Thomas Owens for an 8-0 lead.

After a second consecutive stop by the Pirates defense, Bennifield connected with Owens on a 28-yard scoring play to push the lead to 14-0. The Shock got on the board in the second quarter as Devonte Sapp-Lynch found the end zone on a five-yard run to close within seven. The teams then exchanged turnovers as after a fumble recovery by Spokane’s Mike Green, Harlin Miller of the Pirates intercepted Charles McCullum which led to Owens’ second touchdown catch of the game and a 20-7 halftime lead.

It appeared to be smooth sailing for the Pirates as they scored on their first possession of the third quarter. Quarterback Sean Brackett threw a six-yard swing pass to Justin Stockton to expand the Massachusetts lead to 26-7, with 8:06 remaining in the third quarter, but that would be the Pirates last points of the game.

A short kickoff by Brackett, subbing for injured kicker Gabriel Rui, gave the Shock great field position at the Pirates 17. One play later McCullum threw a 15-yard pass to Kyrin Priester to make the score 26-13.

In the final quarter the Pirates looked to take control as Aarion Maxey-Penton intercepted McCullum to give Massachusetts the ball at the Spokane 14-yard line. Two plays later the game took a dramatic turn as Sanders intercepted Brackett and took it to the house for a touchdown and with the point after, the game was tied at 26. The Shock then took its first lead of the game on the ensuing kickoff as the Pirates could not return the ball out of their own endzone, giving Spokane a one-point rouge and a 27-26 advantage that they would never relinquish.

Late in the game on third and two from their own 13, Brackett appeared to have thrown an incomplete pass as the ball slipped from his hand. The Shock challenged the call and won the appeal resulting in the Pirates fifth turnover of the night. Four plays later Sapp-Lynch was in the endzone from three yards out for his second touchdown of the game giving the Shock a 34-26 victory.

The Pirates will have a week off to collect themselves before returning to Phoenix Field at the DCU Center when they host Louisville Saturday, June 5 at 7:05 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 contact@masspiratesfootball.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