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GUERRA SCORES SIX TOUCHDOWNS BUT DESTROYERS FALL IN HOME OPENER TO EMPIRE, 56-40

Courtesy: Columbus Destroyers Media Relations

Russell throws for 281 yards and four touchdowns in defeat

Results

Team1234T
Albany Empire72172156
Columbus Destroyers77141240

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.

Picture Courtesy: Columbus Destroyers Media

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

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