By RJ Ciancio Director of National Arena League Coverage
The Massachusetts Pirates arrived at the Westchester County Center to take on the New York Streets on Memorial Day. Massachusetts entered the battle with a new weapon: Former National Football League (NFL) and Canadian Football LEague (CFL) star Dexter McCluster making his National Arena League (NAL) debut.
Massachusetts struck first as Sean Brackett found Mardy Gilyard for an over the board touchdown reception (which nearly ended up with him knocking me over). Mike Weaver converted the extra point giving the Pirates a seven to nothing lead. New York struck right back as quarterback EJ Nemeth found Rob Jones for a 16 yard touchdown reception. With the extra point no good the Streets trailed six to seven. The Pirates went back to the Brackett to Gilyard connection for another touchdown from 38 yards out. With another good extra point the Pirates lead 14-6. Former Maine Mammoth, Edgar Allan Poe caught a three yard touchdown and celebrated with a backflip. Sadly the momentum ended with a missed extra point leaving the score 14-13 Pirates at the end of the first quarter.
The second quarter was near stagnant for the Streets as the Pirates dropped 22 points the the 15 minute period while New York could only muster three. The highlights of the quarter include a a Sean Brackett running touchdown from three yards out, a 45 yard touchdown reception for Devonn Brown and Dexter McCluster’s first ever NAL touchdown, coming off of a 40 yard run. By halftime the score was 36-19, favoring Massachusetts.
Massachusetts continued their onslaught in the third quarter by putting up another 28 points with the Streets only squeaking out six. Mardy Gilyard caught another touchdown, extending the Pirates lead to 43-19. Rob Jones found the endzone for the New York Streets as he reeled in 15 yard reception from EJ Nemeth making the score 43-25 with Massachusetts in the lead. Sean Brackett found Thomas Owens for an 11 yard touchdown reception. With the extra point, the Pirates lead 50-25 as the third quarter came to a close.
The fourth quarter was a high scoring one as the teams put up a combined 53 points. The Streets Rob Jones ended the game with his four touchdown receptions. Mardy Gilyard also ended the game with four touchdown catches. By the time all the dust settled, the Pirates upset the New York Streets 70-51.
If you want to see my post-game interview of Dexter McCluster click here.