Pirates Hold Off Spokane in Overtime 63-57 – Presented by Steward Health

By: Mick Moninghoff
Pirates Writer
August 1, 2021

SPOKANE, WA – Pirates Quarterback Alejandro Bennifield scored on a ten yard run in the second overtime to give Massachusetts a 63-57 victory over the Spokane Shock in Veterans Memorial Arena on Saturday. The Pirates who entered the game in third place in the Indoor Football League standings are now 8-3 on the season while Spokane fell to 6-4.

Sawyer Petre started things off for Spokane on their first possession with a 42 yard field goal for a three-nothing lead, but the Pirates answered as Ali Mourtada, seeing his first action since 2018, kicked the longest field goal in Pirates’ history from 54 yards to tie the score.

Another Pirate making a return to action was linebacker Martrell Spaight, who had missed the last four games due to injury. Spaight made an immediate impact on the next possession on first and ten from Spokane 13. Running back Kamerin Solomon was hit by the Pirates Santos Ramirez who forced a fumble. The ball rolled into the end zone where Spaight recovered it for a touchdown. Mourtada’s point after put the Pirates on top 10-3.

The Massachusetts defense, which is number one against the pass in the IFL, flexed on the next series as defensive back Harlan Miller intercepted Shock quarterback Marcus McDade, setting up the Pirates with a first and goal at the seven. Seconds later Bennifield found wide receiver Laquivionte Gonzalez in the end zone with a four yard strike to give Massachusetts a 17-3 advantage.

The Pirates kept it rolling in the second quarter as Gonzalez scored his second touchdown of the night with a four yard run to give Massachusetts a 24-3 lead. The Shock scored on the next possession with McDade connecting with Troy Evans with an 18 yard TD pass to make the score 24-10. The Spokane defense kept the game close as Dominic Sanders intercepted Bennifield and returned the ball 40 yards to the five yard line. The Pirates defense held the Shock to a 20 yard field goal from Petre and the scoreboard read 24-13, Pirates.

The teams then alternated touchdowns as Bennifield connected with Darren Carrington for a Pirates score, Solomon ran one in from four yards for Spokane and the flurry ended with Thomas Owens on the receiving end of a Bennifield 11 yard pass to give Massachusetts a 38-20. The half ended with Miller getting his second interception of the game.

Mourtada continued his return to the Pirates as he extended the Massachusetts lead to 41-20 with a 39 yard field goal, but the Shock answered with a six play, 34 yard drive. On fourth and ten from the Massachusetts 14 yard line, McDade scrambled away from pressure and hit Evans with a bullet and with 6:30 to play in the third quarter, the Shock was down by just 14 points.

The Pirates remained in control as they went 24 yards in four plays with running back Marquis Young scoring on a five yard run to put the Pirates up by 20 at 47-27 with 3:46 remaining in the quarter.

It was literally lights out for the Shock at that point as with facing fourth and two at their own 21, the lights in the Veterans Memorial Arena went out and the game was halted. There was no further scoring in the third quarter.

In the final set, Bennifield left the game with an injury with 6:54 to play. Mourtada added another field goal to pad the Massachusetts lead to 50 to 27. The Shock kept it close with McDade hitting Keyvan Rudd with a TD pass and Spokane trailed 50-34. The Pirates tried to run out the clock. As their drive stalled with 2:25 to play, Mourtada attempted a 27 yard field goal which was blocked. Four plays later it was Rudd scoring on a 2 yard run and with McDade’s two point conversion run the Shock trailed by eight. Spokane recovered the ensuing onside kick and drove to the one yard line. McDade scored, but a failed 2 point conversion left the Shock down by two points at 50-48 with nine seconds to play. Petre then nailed a “Deuce” to tie the game. The Pirates took the kickoff and after running one play, Mourtada’s 44 yard field goal attempt to win the game went wide left and the game headed to overtime.

In the first extra session Bennifield returned to the game and threw a nine yard TD pass to Owens. The extra point was good and the Pirates led 57-50. The Shock kept pace as McDade found Evans with an eight yard pass. Petre’s PAT was good and the overtime continued.

The Shock had the ball to start the second round and was able to advance the ball to the one yard line. On third and goal the Pirates defense made the play of the game as McDade never received the center snap. The ball was recovered by Ramirez and the Pirates ended the threat. On first and ten from the 20, the Pirates ran Young on back to back plays to set up a first and goal at the ten. Bennifeild took the snap, ran left, and went the final ten yards for the score giving Massachusetts a 63-57 victory in double overtime.

Massachusetts has the longest current winning streak in the IFL at five games. Pirates are now 5-1 on the road this season which includes winning their last four straight. The Pirates will be home at Phoenix Field in the DCU Center next Saturday night when they take on the Green Bay Blizzard at 7:05.

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 are available now at ticketmaster.com or the DCU Center Box Office. For 2022 season, half-season, luxury, or group ticket packages please call 508-452-MASS (6277). Follow the Pirates on Facebook via Facebook.com/MAPirates, Instagram @mass.pirates, and Twitter @mass_pirates. #GetHooked #AllAboard