Pirates Sail to Victory

RJ Ciancio
Director of National Arena League coverage

The National Arena League (NAL) hosted a rematch of the Streets-Pirates game from Memorial Day, only this time the game would be played on the indigo field of the DCU Center. The New York Streets kickoff was returned 17 yard by Dexter McCluster. The Pirates began the game with a couple Sean Brackett throws. A short run set up fourth down and two. Massachusetts wasn’t able to convert giving the Streets good field position.

New York’s opening drive started slow and on a crucial fourth down, Quarterback EJ Nemeth found his favorite receiver Edgar Allen Poe Jr. for a first down. On the ensuing play, Rob Jones caught a Nemeth pass for a touchdown. With a good extra point the Streets lead 7-0.

Dexter McCluster didn’t have a chance to get his hands on the ball as the kickoff went out of the end zone. Brackett found Mardy Gilyard for a quick nine yard pick-up. On a crucial third and one the Pirates jumped early, backing them up five yards. This didn’t phase Brackett as he once again found Gilyard, this time, for a first down. Devonn Brown made a quick reaction to a tipped pass. On the next play, Dexter McCluster was on the receiving end of his first home score. With a missed extra point the Streets led 7-6.

The Pirates kickoff hit the scoreboard in the DCU Center giving the Streets the ball at their own 20. Pirates defensive back Chucky Williams dropped the Streets receiver for a loss of three. However, the lost yards and then some were quickly regained after two consecutive completions. With a new set of downs the Pirates began to batten down the hatches bringing an important fourth and one. Massachusetts defense was able to stop Rob Thomas in the backfield getting the Pirates the ball back.

After a short pass the buzzer sounded marking the end of a low-scoring first quarter as the Streets led the Pirates 7-6. Brackett and the Pirates were able to draw the Streets offsides giving them a first down on their own 18. Thomas Owens made a first down extending the drive. A pitch out to Sean Brackett quarterback sneak resulted in a Pirates touchdown. With the extra point no good the score read 12-7.

Mike Weaver’s kick went out the back of the end zone giving the Streets the ball at their own 20. EJ Nemeth was nearly pick off two plays into the drive by Lawrence Austin. After Nemeth as pressed into throwing the ball away a crucial fourth down and four. Nemeth’s pass was intended for Edgar Allen Poe Jr. but was broken up giving the Pirates the ball on the New York 24.

A Sean Brackett pass found the arms of Devonn Brown where he was tackled at the six-inch line. The Pirates challenged the play to no avail. On first and goal Sean Brackett fumbled a quarterback sneak which was picked up by Darrius Thomas for a New York touchdown! Once again the Pirates challenged the play and after a long review it was ruled Sean Brackett broken the plane before fumbling the ball for the Pirates touchdown. With the extra point good the Pirates led 19-7.

The Pirates kickoff went out the back of the end zone giving the Streets the ball on their own 20. An EJ Nemeth pass moved New York into Pirates territory. On a third and ten Nemeth found Rob Jones who made a fingertip grab for a Streets touchdown. With the extra point good, the Pirates lead was now only 19-14.

The New York kickoff went out the back of the end zone, giving the Pirates the ball at their own 20. Mardy Gilyard laid out over the boards for a 21 yard compilation giving them a first and goal. On the next play Quayvon Hicks darted to the outside for a one yard touchdown run. With the extra point no good the Pirates lead 25-14.

With just one minute left to play in the half, Mike Weaver’s kickoff went through the uprights for a deuce, making the score 27-14, Pirates. Backed up on their own five, the Streets began their drive. After two short passes New York had some breathing room as EJ Nemeth found Rob Jones for a first down, crossing mid-field. An EJ Nemeth completion brought up a fourth and one. With a pass interference call the Streets drive was kept alive. Rob Jones was able to bring down a Nemeth pass inside the Pirates five with ten seconds left in the half. On the next play Devonte Jenkins reeled in a Streets pass for a touchdown. With the extra point good, the score read 27-21 Pirates.

WIth only seven seconds to work with and the ball on their own 20. After a short pass to Mardy Gilyard only four seconds remained on the clock. Dexter McCluster was able to reel in a pass and get out bounds setting up a Mike Weaver field goal attempt from 36 yards out. The kick veered to the left as time expired in the first half with the Pirates leading 27-21.

Mike Weaver’s kickoff to start the second half went out the back of the end zone give the streets the ball at their own 20 yard line. EJ Nemeth came out firing as the Streets quickly made it inside the Pirates five yard line. EJ Nemeth dove into the endzone on a quarterback sneak from two yards out. With the extra point the score read 27-27.

The New York kickoff went out the back of the end zone giving the Pirates football at their own 20 yard line. Brackett began moving the team down the field with some help from the running game. Massachusetts retook the lead after Devonn Brown obliterated the Streets coverage for an easy touchdown. The extra point was blocked keeping the Pirates at bay and making the score 33-27 with the Pirates in front.

Weaver’s kickoff was returned to the eleven yard line as the Streets began their drive. EJ Nemeth was sacked on second down, giving the Streets little wiggle room. Under major pressure, Nemeth threw the ball away and was intercepted as the Pirates returned it for a touchdown. With the extra point no good the Pirates lead 39-27.

The ensuing kickoff was returned to the New York ten. The veteran quarterback wasn;t able to get much doing as he was forced into a fourth down and five. An erron pass lead to a turnover-on-downs.

With prime real estate the Pirates looked to take advantage of the Streets mistake. Brackett and the Pirates offense decided to not go for the kill right away, but instead took their time getting to the end zone as Thomas Owens broke through the coverage for an easy catch. With the good extra point the quarter ended with the Pirates leading 46-27.

Weaver went for a deuce to start the fourth quarter, but to no avail. It was now crunch time for the Streets as they started their drive from their own 20. Nemeth found Rob Jones for two consecutive catches leading to a Devante Jenkins touchdown reception. With the extra point no good the Pirates lead 46-33.

After yet another touchback the Pirates set up shop at their own 20 yard line with hopes to extend their lead. The Pirates did this with ease as Brackett only needed two plays to get the Pirates into the end zone. With the extra point no good the Pirates lead 53-33.

Mike Weaver was able to weave the ball through the uprights for a deuce (two points) extending the Pirates lead to 55-33. New York struggled to get the drive started as Nemeth continued to get pressure. Even when EJ was able to get the able to his intended target Nemeth was still being punished by the defense, but he was able to extend the drive. After a long and painful drive the Streets were able to find the end zone. The two point conversion attempt was no good making the score 55-39 with Massachusetts in the lead.

Needing to get the ball back the Streets tried an onside kick but failed. Once again the Pirates looked prime to strike ond on the next play Mardy Gilyard had yet another touchdown reception. With the extra point attempt no good the Pirates led 61-39.

After a short return the Streets were given extra yardage due to a personal foul. The drive began to stall and New York was brought to a fourth down where Edgar Allen Poe Jr. was able to extend the drive with a reception. On the next play, Poe was able to reel in another touchdown from Nemeth. With the two point conversion no good the score read 61-45.

With just under a minute left the Pirates started another drive. However, they didn’t let off the gas as Mardy Gilyard reeled in an impressive touchdown grab. With the extra point good the score read 68-45 as the Pirates added more points to their lead.

The Streets continued their fight with no end in sight as both teams refused to run out the clock. Nemeth continued to sling the ball but he still had a hard time finding his targets. The drive ended in a Streets touchdown and two point conversion making it 68-53, Pirates.

With just three seconds left the Pirates threw the ball out of bounds to end the game as Massachusetts defeated the Streets 68-53.

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