Pirates Disappointed in Home Opener
PEORIA, IL - The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Pioneers pounded the Peoria Pirates (1-2) 74-26 tonight at Peoria's Carver Arena. Wilkes-Barre (3-1) took advantage of a flood of Peoria turnovers to spoil the Pirates home opener in front of 3,964 fans. Wilkes-Barre's defense forced 6 fumbles and 2 interceptions, including an interception on the Pirates opening drive. Former Pirates quarterback Ryan Vena promptly put the ball up and into the hands of WR Rich Musinski for a 41-yard score. The Pioneers never trailed after that. Vena would put the ball in the air 27 more times throughout the night, going 19 for 28, amassing 209 yards and counting 5 touchdowns before giving way to backup Matt Schabert late in the game. Vena did get picked off twice, but the Pioneer offensive line did not allow a single sack.
Vena's main targets were Musinski and WR JJ Outlaw. Outlaw had eight catches for 91 yards and two TD's. Musinski caught seven passes for 82 yards, including the aforementioned 41 yard catch - the longest score of the night. Also, a major contributor on offense for the Pioneers was FB Jason Acquye, who had 10 rushes for 19 yards and a pair of scores.
For his part, Peoria QB Justin Rascati was able to tally 197 yards in the air, going 16 for 30 and allowing just the one interception on the opening drive while putting the ball in the end zone twice. Donald Carrie replaced Rascati in the fourth quarter, throwing for 75 yards and a score, as well. Rascati favored WR Phillip Brock, going to him 14 times for 158 yards. Brock, WR Brian Jackson, and WR Davin Dennis all caught balls in the end zone for the Pirates. Dennis also ran back a kick-off return 54 yards for a touchdown. FB Doc Gooden added 17 yards on 5 carries for the Pirates, as well.
Defensively the Pioneers stood out. Larry Kendrick returned two fumbles for scores for Wilkes-Barre. Tutu Ferguson and Justin Parrish each had four tackles and Parrish and Troy Blackwell each had a sack. For the Pirates, James Thornton had 8 tackles and an interception, as well. Kofi Amoah added 5 tackles and Blake Farris had four for the Pirates.
The Pirates return to action at home next week, April 26, against the Tri-Cities Fever. The excitement starts with a 4:30pm Tailgate party followed by a 7:05 PM kickoff. Call 309-673-1000 for tickets.
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