By Mick Moninghoff
August 15, 2019
The National Arena League has announced its All-League First Team performers and the Massachusetts Pirates secured two positions on offense and two more on the defensive side of the ball.
On defense, defensive end DJ Griggs, who was a First-Team All-NAL performer last season, makes the list again in 2019. During the regular season, Griggs was second in the league in sacks with 9.5 and tied for the third most tackles for a loss with 12. Griggs also led all Pirate defensive linemen in tackles with 26.5., quarterback hurries (7) and added the team’s lone safety.
Also earning First-Team defensive honors is defensive back Lawrence Austin. The rookie from Georgia Tech led the league with 56 solo tackles was second in the NAL with 63 total stops. Austin was also second with ten interceptions and third in passes defended with 33. Austin led the league with 166 interception return yards with two of those returns resulting in touchdowns, which tied him for second most in the league.
On offense, both First-Team positions were secured by Mardy Gilyard. Gilyard earned one of the three wide receiver spots as he set National Arena League single season records with 33 total touchdowns (29 receiving, four rushing) and 198 total points. The former University of Cincinnati standout was fourth in receptions with 84, fourth with 950 receiving yards, and finished in the top ten in receiving yards per catch and receiving yards per game. His 29 TD receptions where tied for second most in the NAL.
Gilyard was also selected as the league’s best kick returner. Among players with ten or more returns, Gilyard had the highest average return at 25.2. With 12 kick returns he amassed 302 yards. Gilyard was second in the league with 1,288 all-purpose yards for an average of 92.0 yards per contest.
The Massachusetts Pirates are members of the National Arena League (NAL). The Pirates play all home games 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 protected] or visit www.masspiratesfootball.com. Single game tickets are available online at ticketmaster.com or the DCU Center Box Office. For group outings please call 508-452-MASS (6277). Follow the Pirates on Facebook at Facebook.com/MAPirates on Instagram @mass.pirates, as well as Twitter @mass_pirates.