Courtesy: Columbus Destroyers Media Relations
Russell throws for 281 yards and four touchdowns in defeat
COLUMBUS – The Columbus Destroyers, presented by GermainCars.com, fell to the Albany Empire in front of 7,035 fans at Nationwide Arena, 56-40 on Saturday night. With the loss, the team drops to 0-4 on the season. The team was led by do-it-all wide receiver Fabian Guerra, who piled up six total touchdowns on the evening. The rookie wideout, who also celebrated his birthday today, broke a franchise record when he totaled 202 yards on 13 receptions. Quarterback, and Newark native, Grant Russell also threw for 281 yards and four touchdowns in the home defeat.
The Empire got the scoring started after a lost fumble by the Destroyers led to a one-yard touchdown run ” src=”cid:image009.jpg@01D50DCB.1867DDC0″ alt=”image009.jpg” align=”right” hspace=”12″ v:shapes=”Picture_x0020_3″ class=”Apple-web-attachment Singleton” style=”width: 3.1562in; height: 2.1562in;”>by fullback Mykel Benson to give Albany an early 7-0 lead. On the ensuing drive, Russell connected with Guerra for a 19-yard scoring strike to even things up, 7-7.
After the two teams traded interceptions, Empire quarterback Tommy Grady found wide receiver Demetres Stephens for a 34-yard touchdown in the second quarter to give Albany the lead back, 14-7. Columbus answered again on the next drive when Russell found Guerra for his second touchdown of the night, this one from 26 yards out to tie things up, 14-14. The Empire struck again on their next possession, as Grady found wide receiver Collin Taylor for a four-yard score, giving the road team a 21-14 edge. Albany tacked on another score before halftime, getting a 26-yard touchdown reception from wide receiver Malachi Jones to give the Empire a 28-14 lead.
On the first possession of the third quarter, Guerra picked up his third touchdown of the game, this time a two-yard rushing touchdown to cut into Albany’s lead, making the score 28-21. Grady extended the Empire lead once again when he found Jones for his second score of the night, increasing Albany’s lead to 35-21. Columbus answered on their next drive when Guerra scored his fourth touchdown of the night, this time an 11-yard strike from Russell, to make the score, 35-28.
In the fourth, Jones tallied his third touchdown of the night, catching a 24-yard pass from Grady to increase Albany’s lead to 42-28. The Destroyers responded once again when Guerra picked up his fifth touchdown of the night, catching a 28-yard pass from Russell to close to within 42-34 with 11:05 left in the game. Grady connected with wide receiver Quentin Sims for a 26-yard touchdown on Albany’s next drive, springing the Empire to a 49-34 lead. Guerra struck again on the ensuing kickoff, returning it 53 yards for his sixth score of the game to close the gap to 49-40. The Empire closed the scoring for the evening when Grady found Sims for his second touchdown of the night, cementing a 56-40 win for Albany.
Next up for the Destroyers is a home matchup with the Washington Valor on Saturday, May 25th at 3:30pm from Nationwide Arena in Columbus. The game can be seen live on The CW, heard on CD102.5, and streamed on ESPN3