Inside Stories

Circus Catch Tops ESPN’s Top Plays

Photo courtesy “Flip the Bird Media” video of Thomas Owens catch vs. Sioux Falls

Fans in attendance at the Massachusetts Pirates game Friday night were treated to another win for the home team, an action packed football game, and an incredible catch that garnered national attention.

ESPN SportsCenter selected Pirates Wide Receiver Thomas Owens’  leaping, spinning, one-handed touchdown catch over a defender as their #1 play in their Top 10 Plays from Friday.

Owens’ 33-yard TD reception from Quarterback Alejandro Bennifield came with 1:47 remaining in the 1st quarter and gave the Pirates 14-9 lead at the point. Massachusetts went on to a thrilling 49-41 victory over the Sioux Falls Storm, sending the Tsongas Center crowd home happy once again and improving to 3-0 on the young season.

“At the last minute I seen the ball in the air, I tried to jump before the defender could jump to kind of get an advantage of high point of the ball,” said Owens of the play which had the crowd on its feet cheering. “When I went up and I grabbed it once I had it, it was basically ball game. That kind of how that play went. From there, it was a celebration after that cause I helped my team.”

“I’ve seen a lot of catches in my day, and that’s in the top ten for best catches I’ve ever seen,” said Offensive Coordinator and Wide receiver Coach Bones Bagaunte.

Footage shot during the game and shared through the Pirates social media sites was used by ESPN during their Top 10 Plays countdown and can be viewed by clicking on the following link:

Flip the Bird Media released the following video, which captures the circus catch from an even better angle:

Video link to ESPN’s Top Plays Segment:

Thomas Owens in action March 23rd against the Jacksonville Sharks (photo courtesy James Thomas)

Pirates Owner and General Manager, Jawad Yatim, noted this is the second time Owens has been featured on ESPN.

“Special players make special plays,” Yatim said after the game. “It’s great to deliver another win for Massachusetts. We’ve got great players who give their all every game. Arena football is on the rise because a lot of people are starting to see how entertaining it is. It’s football, like you’ve never seen it.”

Owens signed with Seattle Seahawks of the National Football League in 2018, after receiving Conference USA First-Team honors at Florida International University. The 6’1”, 205 lb. receiver burst onto the scene with the Pirates in 2019 and was named Offensive Rookie of the Year in the National Arena League. He is the Pirates All-Time leading receiver in his fourth season.


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