After A Highly Successful Inaugural Season, the Mass Phoenix Football Team Is Back In Action
By Michael James LeClair
After a highly successful inaugural season the Massachusetts Phoenix football team is back and ready to once again take the East Coast Football League by storm.
Fresh off their 7-3-1 season last year, the Phoenix kicked off the 2019 season on June 8 with a strong road performance against the Boston Panthers. Under first-year head coach Raeshawn Link, the Phoenix showed no mercy against the opposition as they spanked the Panthers by a 42-8 final score at West Roxbury Academy.
The guests opened the scoring early in the first quarter as David Bonilla powered his way across the goal line to give the Phoenix an early 6-0 lead. Chris Bruno’s extra point attempt was true to make it 7-0. The Phoenix doubled its lead later in the first quarter when Curtis Ludden found paydirt and Bruno added the extra point to make it a 14-0 advantage. It remained a 14-point upper hand for the tourists into the second quarter when the Phoenix defense decided to get into the scoring act thanks to a pick-six from defensive back Angel Biegen. Bruno stayed perfect with another successful kick and the Phoenix were up 21-0.
Shak Dickey expanded the lead with the Phoenix second pick-six of the quarter to make it 27-0 and the Phoenix were well on their way to a season-opening victory. The visitors would add two more touchdowns in the second half. The first, early in the third quarter on a touchdown reception by Bobby Goldsby. Bruno’s kick made it 34-0. The Panthers broke up the shutout bid on their next possession with a rushing touchdown and a successful two-point conversion run to cut the Phoenix lead to 34-8 however it was far too little, far too late for the home team.
Nathan Stanikmas added the exclamation point for the Phoenix when he stepped up and hauled in yet another interception before he walked into the end zone for the third pick-six of the evening to make it 40-8. Moments later Bruno added the extra point to cap the scoring. The Phoenix went back to work following their convincing win against the Panthers and returned to action on Saturday, June 15 with a trip to Narragansett, Rhode Island where the host Rhode Island Raiders were waiting.
Against the Raiders, the Phoenix continued their dominance as the squad secured a 17-0 shutout victory to improve to 2-0 on the infant season. For the second week in a row, the Phoenix struck early and never looked back as they took a 7-0 lead into halftime thanks to a first-half touchdown run by Teddy Norris and a PAT from Bruno.
The Phoenix tacked on a pair of second-half scores to put the game on ice. A second rushing touchdown by Norris and a field goal from Bruno. The defense did the rest as they nailed down their first shut out of the season.
The Phoenix will take their unbeaten record into this Saturday, June 22 when they will welcome the Maine Wolverines (3-1) to Doyle Field in Leominster for their home opener. Kickoff is slated for 7pm.