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In a dominant 49-18 over the Louisville Xtreme on Saturday night, the Massachusetts Pirates started their 2021 season off with a bang. Show-casing their tremendous talent on both sides of the ball, this complete team win really sets the tone – the Pirates are going to be a force in the IFL this season.

The Pirates talent really jumped off the screen for me in this game. I saw a team on Saturday night filled with playmakers on offense and bullies on defense. I also saw a team that has swagger, plays fast, plays physical, and has great team chemistry already.

Quarterback Alejandro Bennifield was given one of the four game-balls that Pirates co-owner and president Jawad Yatim gave out post-game. Running back Justin Stockton, head coach Patrick Pass, and the entire defensive unit all got game-balls as well.

I wanted to give out my own game-balls to some other players who balled out in Game 1 of the year. To keep with the Pirates theme these will be called the 3 Cannonballs of the game. Each of these three guys really stood out to me and showed that they will have key roles in the success of the Pirates this season.

Thomas Owens:

In my “Positional Breakdown: Wide Receiver” article, I highlighted Thomas Owens will be the clear top target on the team this season. I expected him to level up and become an elite player in the IFL this season. T.O. did just that on Saturday night, and showcased he is an alpha WR for the Pirates. Hauling in 5 grabs for 94 yards and trio of TD’s, Owens led the team in all receiving categories. Owens’ 3rd TD was the highlight of the night, snagging the 35-yard pass over the boundary with a defender draped on him in the 4th quarter.

Martrell Spaight:

I don’t think I saw a guy having more fun on the field Saturday night than Martrell Spaight. It seemed like everytime a big hit was made it was number 45 in Pirates gold. Spaight brought so much fire and energy, and it really rubbed off on the entire defensive unit. He finished the game with a team high 7 total tackles, including 2 for loss. Spaight was absolutely flying around all game long and really showed he is the tone-setter on this Pirates defense.

J.D. Griggs

The other bully on defense that stood out to me was defensive lineman J.D. Griggs. It’s not very often the first TD of the year is on defense, but Griggs delivered the Pirates first points of the season with his 12-yard scoop and score in the 1st quarter. That was just the start of his night, as big #99 was a true difference maker on the line of scrimmage all game. Griggs led the charge on defense that kept the Xtreme rushing attack to just 1.1 yards per carry. J.D. also notched his 1st sack of the season and a forced fumble.

The Massachusetts Pirates are members of the Indoor Football League (IFL). The Pirates play all home games at Phoenix Field at the DCU Center located at 50 Foster St. Worcester, MA. 01608. For more information on the Massachusetts Pirates please call (508) 452-MASS (6277), email or visit Single-game tickets will be available soon at or the DCU Center Box Office. For season, half-season, luxury, or group ticket packages please call 508-452-MASS (6277). Follow the Pirates on Facebook via, Instagram @mass.pirates, and Twitter @mass_pirates. #GetHooked #AllAboard