Nine Pirates Named to All-IFL Teams – Presented by Celsius

By: Mick Moninghoff
Pirates Writer
September 3, 2021

WORCESTER, MA – After a season that saw the Massachusetts Pirates attain the best record of any incoming expansion franchise in the Indoor Football League, nine members of the team have been honored by being named as All-League performers.

Wide receiver Thomas Owens, center Jordan McCray, defensive lineman Toby Johnson and defensive back Harlan Miller were named First Team All-IFL. Offensive lineman Jared Thomas, defensive lineman JD Griggs, linebacker Martrell Spaight, linebacker/defensive back Chucky Williams and kick returner Laquvionte Gonzalez were named to the second team.

Their efforts helped the Pirates set club records for wins in a season and consecutive victories, (12 victories and nine in a row to date).

Thomas Owens:
Owens was the Pirates leading receiver and was second in the IFL in four categories with 66 receptions, 911 yards, 22 touchdowns and 65.1 receiving yards per game. The 6’-1,” 205 lb. receiver from Florida International and Boynton Beach, FL was third in the league with 4.7 receptions per game and ranked fourth averaging 13.8 yards per catch. Owens was sixth in the IFL averaging 10.4 points per game, ranked ninth with 929 all-purpose yards and was tenth with 66.4 all-purpose yards per game.

Jordan McCray:
The 6’2,” 336 lb. center anchored the Pirates front line that established the team as the third highest scoring offense in the league at 44.4 points per game. McCray who hails from Miami, FL and played collegiately at the University of Central Florida, protected quarterback Alejandro Bennifield, enabling him to throw 37 touchdown passes which was second in the IFL.

Toby Johnson:
Standing in at 6’4,” 325 lbs. Johnson, from the University of Georgia by way of Morehead, MS, played a major role in helping the Pirates’ defense to allow the fewest points per game at 33.1. Lining up at nose tackle, he helped to shut down the run as opposing backs were held to just 3.2 yards per carry, fewest in the IFL. Johnson had 44 tackles, eight tackles for a loss, three sacks, one pass broken up, one quarterback hurry and was second in the IFL with three forced fumbles.

Harlan Miller:
Miller, 6’1 182,” from Kentwood, LA, had 57 tackles, 1.5 tackles for a loss and two fumble recoveries. A two-time FCS All-American at Southeastern Louisiana, Miller was one of the top D-Backs in the IFL as he finished fifth with 14 passes defended, seventh with nine passes broken up and was second with five interceptions.

Jared Thomas:
The former Captain at Northwestern (6’3,” 300; Atlanta, GA) played a major role clearing the way for running back Justin Stockton to become a top-ten rusher in the league and allowing quarterback Alejandro Bennifield to set a single season record with 16 rushing touchdowns which tied the Pirates all-time mark.

JD Griggs:
In 13 games Griggs recorded 25 tackles, 6.5 tackles for a loss. 2.5 sacks, three quarterback hurries, six passes broken up, two blocked kicks, a safety and a 12-yard fumble recovery for a touchdown. Griggs, 6’5,” 250 lbs. from Piscataway, NJ, has become the most decorated player in Pirates’ history as this marks the third time in three seasons that the University of Akron alum has been named to a post-season all-league team.

Martrell Spaight:
This season in just eight games Spaight recorded 27 solo tackles and assisted on 23 more for a total of 50. He had 9.5 tackles for a loss and 2.5 sacks. The former Arkansas Razorback and North Little Rock native also broke up five passes, had a quarterback hurry, blocked two kicks and recovered a fumble for a touchdown in a 63-57 overtime win against the Spokane Shock on the road. Spaight, (6’-3” 235 lbs.) was a fifth-round selection by the Washington Football Team in 2015 (141st overall). His play in the middle of the Pirates defense is one of the reasons why the team gave up 60 touchdowns, the fewest in the IFL this season.

Chucky Williams:
In ten games, the former Louisville Cardinal had 49 tackles, two tackles for a loss, one interception, six passes broken up and a safety. Williams (6’3,” 215 lbs. Miami, FL) had three fumble recoveries, which led the IFL this season.

Laquvionte Gonzalez:
Gonzalez led the IFL with three kickoff returns for touchdowns and had the best average of 21.3 yards per return. The 5’10.” 185 lb. Cedar Hill, TX native was second in the league with 957 return yards, had the second longest return (57 yards for a score) in 45 chances; fourth most in the IFL. Gonzalez, a two-time IFL Special Teams Player of the Week, was fourth in the league with 1,386 all-purpose yards and fourth with an average of 106.6 all-purpose yards per game. Aside from kick return average, all of the totals listed here by Gonzalez, established single season and all-time records for the Pirates.

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