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Pittsburgh Mauls its way past New Jersey 26-6 and into the USFL playoffs

Canton, OH- In a win for go home pre-playoff like atmosphere, the Pittsburgh Maulers performed as a team who put it's peak season struggles behind them and found a form of continuity at the right time.

"We've always believed in ourselves from the day one of camp," Maulers starting quarterback Troy Williams said postgame.

"We knew we had a good group of guys and the coaches have been doing a great job putting us in positions to show they believe in us and install faith in us. Throughout the trials and tribulations within the season the coaches continued to push confidence within each player and that helped. Each coach stressed to just be you."

The stingy Maulers defense started early. After a 21 yard rush by leader rusher Darius Victor and a 31 yard pass from quarterback De'Andre Johnson to former Jackson State wide receiver Warren Newman, the defense allowed only one player of 10 yards or more for the entirety of the first half. The Generals first and only drive that resulted in 30 yards or more ended in 27 yard field goal to give New Jersey the early 3-0 lead.

Williams and the offense started quickly with the quarterback going 4-4 for 51 yards including a 11 yard touchdown to wide receiver Isiah Hennie.

The Generals, who have been derailed by injured all season, would see one of their most important backend leaders in safety Shalom Lunai leave the the game early in the second quarter with a concussion.

After explosive starts to each team's offense, the second quarter was much different. The Maulers relied more on their defense while the Generals overall needed both sides to step up. Midway through the quarter DC Jerron Horton's defense forced the first of three turnovers on the day. DB Arnold Tarpley III picked off Johnson.

The scoring drought carried over to the third quarter as both teams turned the ball over on back-to-back drives before outside linebacker and player of the game Nasir Player sack stripped Johnson and safety Eli Walker returned it 46 yards into the end zone to put the Maulers up two scores.

Running back Madre London would put the game away a few drives later on a 4 yard touchdown rush right up the gut to keep the team in Canton at least one more week.

"Through thick and thin our players trusted and believed in the process in what we do and how we do things. We do things with class and respect to the game and the other players in the league. This a testament to the two young men sitting up here (Troy Williams and Nasir Player) and the other men in the locker room that have unbridled belief in what we do and how we do things. My hats off to them," said Maulers head coach Ray Horton postgame.

The Maulers with win this still have a chance to do something most thought would never be possible two week ago, win the division. With a Michigan win over the Philadelphia Stars, the Maulers would clinch division and prepare for a showdown with the Panthers. With a Philadelphia win, the Stars would win the division although they still would have to travel to Canton next week for the North division championship game.



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