June 22, 2005 - arenafootball2 (af2) - Albany Firebirds
The Albany Conquest (3-8) fell by a 62-50 score in their first ever meeting with the Quad City Steamwheelers on Saturday. The Conquest trail Macon by two games for the final playoff spot in the American Conference, while holding the tiebreaker. The Louisville Fire (6-5) are coming off a 49-56 home loss to the Green Bay Blizzard on Saturday night. The Fire are tied with Wilkes-Barre for third place in the East Division and fourth overall in the conference.
JEREMIAH'S OUR GUY
Conquest OS Jeremiah Pope continues to build stellar performances as the season moves along. He leads the team with a career-high 16 receptions and 160 yards to go with three TD's in Quad City last Saturday night. He is now tied for 12th in the af2 with 71 receptions in just eight games during the 2005 campaign.
RUSHING FOR GLORY
Albany QB D. Bryant picked up 26 yards and a touchdown, while FB/LB Jameel Dumas added 10 rushing yards against the Steamwheelers. Those 36 rushing yards brought Albany to a total of 273 rushing yards this season, which is good for fifth in the af2. Bryant has picked up 130 yards on the ground and ranks third in the league with 12 rushing TD's this season. The Conquest also rank fifth in allowing just 16.1 rushing yards against.
GETTING HIGGY WITH IT
Conquest WR/LB Jeff Higgins caught his first TD reception of the season Saturday night. The six-year vet plays both sides of the ball and returns kicks for Albany. He ranks fourth on the club with 862 all-purpose yards, which includes a team-best 663 kick return yards. Defensively, Higgins is tied for the af2 lead with three fumble recoveries and shows 20.0 tackles in 11 games played.
PLAYERS & MATCHUPS TO WATCH
Louisville QB Matt Sauk leads the af2 with 294 completions, 3,148 passing yards and 61 TD passes. He is coming off a seven TD, 396-yard performance against Green Bay last week. OS Rob Mager hauled in 16 passes for 187 yards and four TD's last week and ranks second in the af2 with 92 receptions this year. Mager stands fourth among the league leaders with 29 receiving touchdowns, 1,103 receiving yards and 176 points scored.
Albany DS Pete McBride has another sterling effort in the game at Quad City on Saturday night. He led all players with seven (6UA, 2A) tackles and added one pass breakup. McBride leads the team with 12 pass breakups and ranks second on the club with 28 (25UA, 6A) tackles. The Conquest are tied for seventh in the af2 having allowed the opposition 193 first downs and now just one of seven af2 teams to allow less than 3,000 yards in total defense.
Albany QB D. Bryant threw for 310 yards and six touchdowns versus the Steamwheelers. He found three different receivers and has taken more snaps (447) than anyone else in the league. OS Jeremiah Pope stands second on the club with 768 receiving yards and 18 touchdowns in eight af2 contests. WR/LB Manwell Talbert's hauled in four passes for 77 yards and added two touchdowns. The 26-year-old leads Albany with 976 receiving yards and 21 TD's on the season. The club's steady veteran WR/DB Cy Butler leads the way with 1,012 all-purpose yards this season, 433 of which have come through the air.
Quad City DS Jabir Walker returned to the af2 with a team-high 6.0 (4UA, 4A) tackles, a forced fumble and three pass breakups. He returned to the club after spending most of the 2005 AFL season on the practice squad for the ArenaBowl Champion Colorado Crush. DB Nate Green has taken the reins with former Conquest DS Rob Green out of the lineup. He stands second on the club with 30.0 (25UA, 10A) tackles and leads the team with two forced fumbles.
The Albany Conquest continue their three-game homestand on July 8 against the South Georgia Wildcats in a 7:30 p.m. kick off. Fans can win tickets to an ESPN Sunday Night Football game, a neon ESPN football sign and everyone gets FREE ADT Thunderstix.