Courtesy: Columbus Destroyers Media Relations
Wheelwright and Guerra score touchdowns in front on 9,275 fans at Nationwide Arena
COLUMBUS – The Columbus Destroyers, presented by GermainCars.com, fell to the Albany Empire in the team’s home finale, 49-18, in front of 9,275 fans, the largest crowd at Nationwide Arena this season. With the loss, the Destroyers drop to 1-10 on the season. Wide receivers Fabian Guerra and Rob Wheelwright both scored rushing touchdowns, while back-up quarterback Liam Nadler threw his first touchdown pass of the season, an eight-yard scoring strike to wide receiver Kenny Cook.
After a fumble on the opening possession, the Empire struck first when quarterback Tommy Grady found wide receiver Malachi Jones for a 33-yard touchdown, giving Albany an early 7-0 lead. Columbus responded on the next drive when Guerra rushed it in from nine yards out to trim the Empire lead to 14-6. Albany jumped back in front on their next possession when Grady found Jones for his second score of the day, this one a 40-yard pass to make the score 14-6. After the Empire recovered the onside kick, Grady found wide receiver Quentin Sims on the first play from 32 yards out to increase their lead to 21-6.
In the second quarter, Grady and Jones connected once again for a long score, this one from 37 yards out to increase the Albany lead to 28-6. The Destroyers responded on their ensuing drive, as Wheelwright ran one in from two yards out to make the score 28-12. The Empire extended their lead once again just before the half as fullback Mykel Benson plunged into the end zone from two yards out to give Albany a 35-12 lead at the break.
The Empire further increased their lead to 42-12 when Grady hit Sims for a 45-yard touchdown pass, to give Albany a 42-12 advantage.
Stepping in due to an injury to Russell, Nadler passed for his first touchdown of the season in the fourth quarter, finding wide receiver Kenny Cook for an 8-yard touchdown to trim the Albany lead to 42-18. The Empire capped the scoring for the afternoon when back-up quarterback Mason Espinosa found Sims for a four-yard touchdown, solidifying a 49-18 win for Albany.
Next up for the Destroyers is a road match-up with the Washington Valor next Saturday, July 20th at 3:30pm from Capital One Arena in Washington D.C. The game can be seen live on The CW, heard on CD102.5, and streamed on ESPN3.