Pirates Come out on Top over Xtreme, 42-37
WORCESTER, MA -Â The Pirates used a pair of touchdowns from Justin Stockton and Thomas Owens to defeat the Louisville Xtreme 42-37 at Phoenix Field at the DCU Center on Saturday night.
Massachusetts (3-2) came out flying as LaQuvionte Gonzalez returned the opening kickoff 46 yards for a touchdown. The Pirates added an eight-yard run by running back Justin Stockton to build a 13-0 advantage before Xtreme kicker Derek Vacha connected on a 30-yard field goal as the first quarter ended 13-3; Massachusetts.
The Pirates started the second quarter with a four-play drive covering 33 yards as quarterback Alejandro Bennifield flipped a three-yard pass to Stockton for a touchdown and with the extra point by Josh Gable, Massachusetts was up 20-3. The Xtreme was not fazed as Tacorian Darden returned a missed field goal by Gable 58 yards for a touchdown. Then after an interception by Kyree McLean, Louisville quarterback Dalton Oliver found wide receiver Todd Athey from 19 yards out and the half ended with the Xtreme trailing 20-17.
Louisville (0-5) had the ball to start the third quarter and were poised to tie the game, but a 29-yard field goal attempt by Vacha was blocked by Tavarus Dantzler. It only took the Pirates six plays to reach the end zone as Bennifield found Thomas Owens on second and goal from the six and Massachusetts led 27-17. On the ensuing low line drive kick off, the ball bounced off the leg of Allen Edwards and was recovered by the Pirates Harlan Miller. Four plays later it was Bennifield to Owens on a 12-yard scoring play giving the Pirates a 33-17 lead as the quarter came to a close.
In the final quarter Gable made his first field goal of the night from 41 yards giving Massachusetts a 36-17 lead. The Xtreme answered as Oliver threw a swing pass to Jo'el Shaw out of the backfield to put Louisville down by 13. A 31 -yard field goal by Gable increased the Pirates lead to 39-23 and after an interception by Aarion Maxey Penton, Gable made this third consecutive three pointer, this one from 50 yards giving Massachusetts a comfortable 42-23 advantage. The game stayed that way until Keyondre Craig pulled in a 13-yard pass and the following two-point conversion to make the score 42-31. Louisville then recovered the onside kick and marched 44 yards in in six plays ending with Oliver finding Craig from three yards out for the final points of the night.
Bennifield finished the evening 14 of 24 for 126 yards and three touchdowns with two interceptions. The Pirates leading receiver was Mardy Gilyard who had four receptions for 41 yards. Gilyard made his first appearance since suffering a leg injury in the 2019 playoff loss at Carolina. Stockton led all rushers with 70 yards on 13 carries with one rushing score and a second receiving.
For Louisville, Oliver was 19 of 42 passing for 176 yards and four touchdowns against one interception. Craig led all receivers in the game with nine catches for 79 yards and two touchdowns. Lance Moise headed the Louisville running attack with 22 yards on two carries.
The Pirates will return to Phoenix Field at the DCU Center Next Saturday when they face the Frisco Fighters at 7:05 pm.
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