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Pirates rout Miami Valley in CIFL home opener

March 26, 2007 - Continental Indoor Football League (CIFL) - Port Huron Pirates News Release

PORT HURON, Mich. -- Sporting their new blue home jerseys, the Port Huron Pirates gathered at the west end of McMorran Arena on Saturday night to watch as the banner commemorating the 2006 championship team was raised.

Then they went out and showed why they're the odds-on favorite to add a second banner.

The Pirates opened their home season in Continental Indoor Football League action with a 54-7 rout of the Miami Valley Silverbacks. The victory has the Pirates sitting at 2-0 and extended the franchise's winning streak to 14.

Port Huron amassed a 12-0 record in 2006 en route to the Great Lakes Indoor Football League title in 2006. The league has since renamed itself the CIFL and expanded from six teams to 14.

The Silverbacks, who went 5-9 last year in the American Indoor Football League, lost their inaugural CIFL game because they were unable to find a solution to Port Huron's stifling defense. Linebacker Shawn Hackett led the Pirate defense with two interceptions, including one for a 27-yard touchdown. Cornerback Corey Gonzalez opened the game with an interception of Miami Valley quarterback Jim Oliver on the opening drive, which he returned 44 yards for a score.

The Silverbacks didn't score until quarterback Mark Bly, who replaced Oliver, hit Charles Byrd with a 6-yard scoring pass two minutes into the fourth quarter.

Robert Height continued to impress in his new go-to role for the Pirates. He rushed five times for 47 yards and a score and caught six passes for 61 yards, including a 20-yard touchdown pass from Shane Franzer to end the first half.

Franzer finished 10-of-15 for 127 yards and three touchdown passes. He also scored on a 1-yard plunge in the first quarter that put the Pirates up 14-0.

Hackett led a defense that allowed just 114 total yards, recorded five sacks, three interceptions a fumble recovery and three touchdowns. He made a critical goal-line stop on fourth down in the third quarterback, knifing through the Silverbacks' offensive line to haul down Kris Mick for a 3-yard loss.

Defensive lineman Eddie Bynes closed the night's scoring with a 16-yard fumble-recovery return for a touchdown.

Miami Valley quarterbacks completed just 12 of 41 passes.

Saturday's attendance was 2,200.

The Pirates host the Rochester Raiders at McMorran Arena at 7:30 p.m. March 30. The Pirates will look to extend their all-time series lead over the Raiders to 5-0. Port Huron defeated Rochester 62-30 on March 17 to open the CIFL season. Miami Valley returns home to take on the Chicago Slaughter.

ABOUT THE PIRATES

The Port Huron Pirates became only the fourth team in indoor professional football history to record an undefeated season when the franchise rolled to a 12-0 mark and won the inaugural Great Lakes Bowl on July 22, 2006. The team plays its games at McMorran Arena in downtown Port Huron, Mich. The team's Web site is www.porthuronpirates.com, and the Pirates' MySpace page is www.myspace.com/phpirates.

ABOUT THE CIFL

The Continental Indoor Football League is a professional developmental indoor football league designed to deliver fast-paced action-packed football to markets where it can be enjoyed by fans that would otherwise not have a professional indoor football team. We are a fan-friendly league, committed to making the fan experience second to none. The league features a unique 7-on-7 indoor game that allows fans to experience the wide-open feeling of 50-yard indoor football while seeing defense have the opportunity to make plays. The league, expanded to 14 teams, became the CIFL in October 2006 after being known in 2005-06 as the Great Lakes Indoor Football League. More than 75,000 fans attended GLIFL games in 2006. The league's new Web site is www.continentalindoorfootball.com.

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