Pioneers Clip the Birds Wings
[Wilkes-Barre] The Wilkes-Barre/ Scranton Pioneers and the Albany Firebirds came out swinging in their match up at Wachovia Arena. Pioneers rookie Corey Lacek hit the field for the first time as a Pioneer and recorded his first tackle sending Firebirds returner back to the bench with his head ringing.
The Firebirds drew first blood using 1:54 as Albany QB Adam Bednarik completed a 41-yard touchdown pass to Mike Wall. But after unsuccessful series by both teams the Pioneers got onto the scoreboard when QB Ryan Vena completed his 400th career touchdown pass to JJ Outlaw with 5:37 left in the first quarter. The Firebird offense answered by driving down to the 1-yard line and letting Bednarik take it in for their second score of the night. Vena only needed :05 to connect with WR Rich Musinski for a 28-yard pass with :26 left on the clock to tie the score at 14-14. The seesaw battle continued into the 2nd quarter with a 22-yard pass by the Firebirds and the Pioneers answers back with Vena capping off a 4 play 40-yard drive with a 2-yard scamper into the end zone. Bednarik came back with a score of his own to put the Birds in the lead and make the score 28-21 with 5:13 left in the half. Vena completed an 8-yard pass to Irving Campbell breaking his second record of the night. The completion put Vena over the 20,000-yard mark for his career. JJ Outlaw kept the show rolling as he reached the end zone for the second time of the night catching a 13-yard Ryan Vena pass with 1:06 on the clock.
The Pioneers defense took the field looking to keep the momentum and that they did. LB Larry Kendrick intercepted Bednarik's pass and returned it 28-yards for the Pioneer touchdown ending the first half with the Pioneers in the lead 35-28.
Starting off the 3rd quarter, LB Cory Lacek recovered a Bednarick fumble to give the ball back to the offense. JJ Outlaw continued to put on a show scoring his third touchdown of the night and extending the Pioneers' lead. Larry Kendrick added to his collection of interceptions when he picked Bednarik for the second time returning the ball to the 7-yard line. Kirby Griffin scampered into the end zone on the next play putting the Pioneers up 49-28. Griffin would score again after the defense would stop the Firebirds on 4 plays. The Pioneers kept the scoring going when Vena connected with . The Pioneers defense also kept up their punishing ways and Coach Ingold handed over the offense to Joe DeLuise who after having a little trouble getting started scored the last touchdown of the night with :17 left to play.
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