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Pirates Defeat Steamwheelers 63-49 – OurSports Central

May 20, 2023 – Indoor Football League (IFL) – Massachusetts Pirates News Release

WORCESTER, MA – The Massachusetts Pirates aimed to get back into the win column on Saturday night. After a rough outing on the road last week, they returned home to play the Quad City Steamwheelers for the second time this season. Their first meeting ended in a last second touchdown victory for the Steamwheelers.

The offenses came to play in Worcester. The Steamwheelers opened the floodgates on their first drive as they started at midfield. After quick gains to get to the 5-yard line, quarterback E.J. Hilliard found wide receiver Jerron McGaw in the corner of the endzone for the first score. Following a successful PAT from kicker Chase Allbaugh, Quad City had the first lead at 7-0. The Pirates responded immediately on the next drive. Through a distribution of passes from quarterback Anthony Russo to wide receivers Thomas Owens and Isaac Zico, and carries from running back Jimmie Robinson, the Pirates got their own score as Owens took an underneath pass for a two yard touchdown. Kicker Josh Gable made the PAT to tie the game at 7-7.

The Steamwheelers conducted a methodical drive of their own, opening up at their own 14-yard line. Running back Shane Simpson became a factor immediately, taking both hand offs and quick passes to drive the offense down field. Hilliard himself was also a threat on the ground. Through their efforts, the Steamwheelers found themselves at first and goal where Hilliard ran a quarterback keeper and powered into the end zone, taking the lead back. Allbaugh’s PAT was good again, making the score 14-7 at the end of the first quarter.

The Quad City lead would be short lived. The Pirates responded with an efficient drive of their own, with several solid gains from Jimmie Robinson. On third down on the Quad City 11-yard line, Robinson’s work would pay off with a touchdown reception. Gable’s PAT was good, making the score 14-14. On the ensuing drive, Quad City would make minimal gains on first, second, and third down. Then on fourth and eight, wide receiver C.J. Windham reeled in the Hilliard throw but fell short of the chains, giving the first defensive stop of the game to the Pirates. Anthony Russo would cash in with an 18-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Darren Carrington. After Gable’s PAT attempt, the Pirates held their first lead at 21-14.

The Steamwheelers would not be held down though, as the E.J. Hilliard to wide receiver Keyvan Rudd connection blossomed. After two consecutive catches, Rudd was able to draw a pass interference penalty to give the offense first and goal at the two. Quad City cashed in with a Shane Simpson touchdown run. Allbaugh’s PAT was good, tying the game at 21-21.

The tie was immediately broken by the Pirates when Russo threw a deep strike to Isaac Zico as he got behind the defenders for a 29-yard touchdown reception. Gable made the PAT again to take the lead 28-21 with 54 seconds left in the half. Quad City would not go into halftime quietly. A kick return touchdown from Jerron McGaw would tie the game at 28-28 with 45 seconds to go. Jimmie Robinson would answer immediately on the following kickoff by returning the kick all the way for a score to put the Pirates back up 35-28 with 37 seconds left. With one final drive before halftime, Quad City conducted a masterful set of plays featuring catches by Keyvan Rudd and C.J. Windham. On first and goal with one second left, Hilliard punched it in for his third rushing touchdown. At halftime, the game was tied at 35-35.

The Pirates got the ball to open the second half and picked up right where they left off. Russo would throw deep to Jimmie Robinson who drew a pass interference penalty on the incomplete pass. Robinson would also draw a facemask penalty on the ensuing carry as well. On first and 10 from the Quad City 15-yard line, the offense would retake the lead with another Thomas Owens touchdown reception. Josh Gable hit the PAT, giving the Pirates a 42-35 lead.

The next drive, the Steamwheelers drove down the field once more with the help of some penalties on the Pirates defense. The offense seemed to be in prime position to tie this game once again, but Hilliard would fumble on the goal line, and Pirates defensive lineman Lorenzo Hernandez would recover. Opening up at their own five, the Pirates would make the most of the turnover, driving down the field in five plays. With the help of a 15-yard reception by Thomas Owens, Russo would get Zico his second touchdown of the night and Gable’s successful PAT gave the Pirates a 49-35 lead with just over five minutes left in the third quarter.

This game was still far from over, and Quad City made sure to put out their best efforts on their next drive. Opening up at midfield, Hilliard and Simpson would tag-team the ground game once more, and set up first and goal inside the Pirates’ 5-yard line. On the first two plays of the new set of downs, Simpson would be stopped by the Pirates’ defense. Hilliard would punch it in himself on third down though, giving the Steamwheelers some late life. After Allbaugh’s successful PAT attempt, the game was 49-42 headed into the fourth quarter.

Anthony Russo would conduct yet another Pirates touchdown drive to open the fourth quarter. The drive started with a 20-yard gain by Thomas Owens on a deep pass. With the help of the powerful running of Jimmie Robinson, the Pirates set up first and goal at the Quad City 2-yard line. Russo capped off the drive by punching it in himself with a quarterback keeper, extending the Pirates’ lead to 56-42 after the successful Gable PAT attempt. But again, Quad City responded. In a five minute, six play drive, E.J. Hilliard willed his team back onto the scoreboard with a deep shot to Keyvan Rudd in the corner of the end zone. Shades of their game-winning connection just a month ago against the Pirates. After Allbaugh’s successful PAT, the game was just a touchdown difference again at 56-49 with just under nine minutes left to go.

The Pirates wanted to ice this game. The offense put together a 49-yard drive by the ways of Isaac Zico, who had two large gains on back to back receptions to put the Pirates in scoring position. At midfield on third and one, Russo would launch one deep again to Carrington who came down with the football, and scored his second touchdown of the night, effectively putting this game out of reach. Gable’s PAT would make it 63-49, which would be your final score as Quad City would go no further.

The Pirates stay undefeated at home, and get some vengeance against a team they went the distance with just a month ago. They improve to 5-3 and will go on the road to take on the Tulsa Oilers in Oklahoma next week.

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