Courtesy: Albany Empire Media Relations
Albany Defeats Washington 48-21
The Albany Empire (4-2) defeated the Washington Valor (0-6) 48-21 Saturday night at the Times Union Center in Albany, NY in front of a crowd of 7,847. Empire quarterback Tommy Grady threw for 237 yards and six touchdowns earning himself the game MVP award. Empire receiver Joe Hills had five receptions for 99 yards and three receiving touchdowns on his way to being named Offensive Player of the Game. The game marked the 86th consecutive game for Hills with a receiving touchdown; an active league record. Empire’s jack linebacker Terence Moore was named Defensive Player of the Game with 8.5 total tackles and an interception return for a touchdown.
Washington received the game’s opening kickoff and began their initial drive on their own five-yard line. After beginning with an incomplete pass, quarterback Shane Austin found receiver Reggie Gray for a quick five-yard pick up. The very next snap, Austin found Chris Duvalt over the center of the field to push to ball closer to midfield. Two plays later, Austin was intercepted by Arthur Hobbs in the end zone to set the Empire up on their own five-yard line. The Empire opened the drive with a pass to rookie standout receiver Malachi Joes for an early first down. The next play, Grady connected with his top target Joe Hills for a long 30-yard touchdown to put Albany on top 7-0 midway through the first quarter.
The ensuing kickoff hit off the field goal post and was recovered by Jordan Williams, giving the ball back to the Empire on the opposing six-yard line. The first play of the new drive, fullback Wes Mauia couldn’t haul in a pitch from Grady, fumbling the ball back to the Valor. Washington methodically worked the ball down the field and eventually capped their drive with an eight-yard touchdown to TT Toliver as he flipped over the back wall.
After a nice return by Jordan Williams, the Empire were set up on the 12-yard line. One play later, Grady found Jones deep in the end zone, but the play was erased by a penalty. Albany would bounce back as Grady hit Hills over the middle for an Empire first down as the first quarter came to a close. To open the second quarter, Grady connected with receiver Collin Taylor for a first down as Albany crossed midfield. One play later, Grady found Hills for a 17-yard Empire touchdown. After the Valor received the next kickoff, Jack Linebacker Terence Moore intercepted the first pass from Austin and returned the ball into the end zone to extend the Empire lead to two scores.
Starting from their own three-yard line, Austin found Reggie Gray for a quick 10-yard pick up. The ensuing play, Washington moved the ball through the air across midfield. After the play, Valor offensive lineman Will Corbin was ejected for a personal foul. After working the ball into the red zone, the Empire were able to stop Austin’s scramble attempt from a yard out to force a turnover on downs. Albany would gain some space as Grady found Hills across the middle to quickly move the ball to midfield. After a couple of short completions to Taylor, Grady was able to hit Malachi Jones in the end zone from seven-yards out.
Wasting no time, the Valor returned the following kickoff all the way down field to the opposing seven-yard line setting them up with only 23 seconds remaining in the first half. Three plays later, Austin hooked up with receiver Josh Reese for a short score leaving only five seconds on the clock before halftime. On the final kickoff of the half, Valor receiver Jared Dangerfield was ejected for a personal foul. The Empire ran down the remaining seconds to end the first half with a 28-14 lead.
Washington failed to recover an onside kick to start the second half setting the Empire up with great field position on the opposing 19-yard line. Picking up where they left off, Grady hit Jones over the middle for a 12-yard gain. The next play, Grady went right back to Jones for a seven-yard touchdown; Jones’ second of the game.
After a touchback, the Valor went to work on their own five-yard line. After converting one first down, the Valor were unable to move the ball any further, eventually turning the ball over on downs. The Empire immediately capitalized on the first play with an 18-yard touchdown to Hills; his third of the game to give Albany a 42-14 lead.
The Following Valor possession, backup quarterback Warren Smith entered the game for Austin. After two quick passes, Smith was able to throw for a first down as the Valor neared midfield. Two plays later, Washington was in the red zone as the third quarter came to an end. The Valor were unable to punch the ball into the end zone, turning the ball over on downs once again. Albany was easily able to move downfield capping their drive with a 22-yard touchdown to Taylor. The toss marked the sixth touchdown of the evening for Grady.
Moving quickly, The Valor were able to get to ball across midfield in just two plays. After an Albany pass interference penalty, Washington was set up inside of the red zone. The Valor were able to finish the drive with a three-yard touchdown to Gray.
Empire quarterback Mike Fafaul entered the game for Grady late in the fourth quarter. After a Valor defensive penalty, the Empire were quickly over midfield and threatening again. Following the one-minute warning, Fafaul found Taylor as the Empire moved the ball inside of the Valor 15-yard line. The game was all but over as Fafaul took a knee and let the clock run out as the Empire won 48-21.
Albany Empire 2018 Inaugural Season Presented By CDPHP.I’m
|May 26, 2018||3:00 pm||Arena Football League||2018||7,847|
|Times Union Center|
|51 S Pearl St, Albany, NY 12207, USA|