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Albany Dispatches ThunderBirds To Snap Losing Streak

June 25, 2008 - arenafootball2 (af2) - Albany Firebirds News Release

Week 13 Recap:

The Albany Conquest snapped a seven-game losing streak and improved to 4-8 on the 2008 season as they beat the Daytona Beach ThunderBirds 59-49 Friday night at the Times Union Center. The Conquest got off to a fast start as the defense forced a turnover on downs on the opening possession of the game. Albany QB Dan Cole turned it into seven points with a 7-yard rush for an early 7-0 lead. The ThunderBirds got on the board after a Cole interception led to WR Toris Rutledge's five yard TD reception from QB Matt Bohnet to tie the game at the end of the first quarter. The second quarter began with a Daytona Beach touchdown right off the kickoff as the ThunderBirds kick hit the upright and bounced around in the end zone before being recovered by Christopher Coach, giving the visitors their first lead of the game. Albany FB Kyle Acker tied the game at 14-14 with a five yard run shortly thereafter and then LB/DE Michael Lewis sacked Bohnet, forcing a fumble that was recovered by LB Vernard Abrams. That turnover set up a 28-yard field goal from Albany's Carlos Ojeda, giving the Conquest a 17-14 lead. Lewis and Abrams teamed up once again, forcing a sack and recovering a fumble again with only 5 seconds remaining in the first half. Ojeda again drilled his field goal attempt, this time a 40-yard boot, as the first half ended with the Conquest trailing 28-27.

Cole directed Albany to a strong second half, leading the way with his second touchdown rush of the night, giving Albany its first lead since the opening quarter. Albany would never look back as Cole hooked up with three different receivers; Jared Jones, Antwun Williams and RJ Harvey all caught touchdown passes in the fourth quarter as the Conquest finished off the ThunderBirds 59-49.

Week 14 Preview:

Albany snapped a seven-game losing streak last week by beating Daytona Beach and kept their playoff hopes alive. But if the Conquest have dreams of the post-season they now must beat the Manchester Wolves on the road for the second time this season. Manchester faces a similar situation as they try to maintain their playoff hopes and their lead over Albany in the East Division. This is the 21st all-time meeting between Albany and Manchester and it is their third game of the 2008 season. The Wolves hold a 12-8 lead in the all-time series, while the road team has won each of the first two games in 2008.

Week 14 Schedule:

(All games are broadcast LIVE on af2TV free streaming video at

Friday, June 27 - 7:05 pm - Verizon Wireless Arena

@ Manchester Wolves (5-7) - Streak: Lost 1

Second Place, East Division, American Conference

Winners of four-straight games going into last week, Manchester stumbled against the East Division-leading Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Pioneers, losing 69-40 at Wachovia Arena in Pennsylvania. The Pioneers lethal defensive line repeatedly got to QB James Pinkney, sacking him six times and hurrying him three other times, helping to force four interceptions from the Wolves QB. Manchester also struggled to keep possession as the Pioneers defense forced six turnovers (4 INTs, 1 fumble, 1 downs). Leading Passer: James Pinkney (#7) - 8 GP, 146-for-237, 2,025 yards, 40 TDs, 7 INTs, 116.3 QB rating. Leading Rusher: James Pinkney (#7) - 8 GP, 46 carries for 172 yards, 13 TDs, 3.7 yards per carry. Leading Receivers: Bradley Chavez (#1) - 12 GP, 71 catches for 907 yards, 21 TDs, 12.8 yards per catch & Emery Sammons (#5) - 11 GP, 66 catches for 948 yards, 19 TDs, 14.4 yards per catch. Leading Tackler: Dahn Singfield (#21) - 10 GP, 42.0 tackles (38 solo, 8 assisted), 7 Pass Break-Ups. Conquest Player of the Week: (Week 13)

Vernard Abrams - WR/LB - #11 1 INT, 2 Fumble Recoveries, 3.5 Tackles

WR/LB Vernard Abrams had his best defensive week of the season against the Daytona Beach ThunderBirds. Abrams recorded his first career af2 interception, tallied 3.5 tackles (2 solo, 3 assisted), recovered 2 fumbles and added 2 pass break-ups while playing "Jack" linebacker. Offensively, Abrams caught 2 passes for 19 receiving yards to help Albany secure their first every franchise victory over Daytona Beach. Abrams is tied for the team lead in fumble recoveries (2), is tied for second in sacks (3.0), third in receptions (50), third in tackles for loss (3.5), fourth in receiving yards (498) and sixth in tackles (21.5).

Conquest Arrows:

- SHORT OF A RECORD - QB Dan Cole had two rushing touchdowns last week against Daytona Beach, the most in one game by an Albany player this year. Cole's performance was just shy of the Conquest single-game franchise record of 3 rushing touchdown shared by QB Ryan Vena and D. Bryant; Vena accomplished the feat four times, while Bryant did it twice.

- CLOSE, BUT NO CIGAR - DB Brandon Taylor recorded a season-high 9.0 tackles (6 solo, 6 assisted) against the ThunderBirds, passing the previous high of 8.0 tackles that Taylor posted twice in 2008. The Albany single game record for tackles is held by Brandon Tinson who had 12.5 tackles (11 solo, 3 assisted) on April 27, 2002 against the Rochester Brigade.

- NEARING FRANCHISE MARKS - WR Antwun Williams needs 12 receiving touchdowns to reach WR Tony Locke's single-season record of 39 TD receptions set during the 2004 season. QB Dan Cole needs 91 rushing yards to equal QB Ryan Vena's single-season record for rushing yards (241), set during the 2002 season. DB Brandon Taylor needs one interception to break the single-season record for interceptions; he is currently in a three-way tie with six INTs this year.

- EVEN MORE LEG - Kicker Carlos Ojeda knocked in two field goals against Daytona Beach, the most in one game by an Albany kicker in 2008. Ojeda first nailed a 28-yard kick, then followed it with a 40-yard boot on the final play of the first half. The Albany franchise record for longest field goal is 56 yards, set by Vinny Cirrincione on June 6, 2008 against the Cape Fear Wildcats; the Conquest single-game record for most field goals is four, set by Chris Drennan on June 1, 2002 at the Richmond Speed.

- ALUMNI WATCH - Former Albany QB D. Bryant was named to the 2008 AFL All-Rookie Team on Tuesday. Bryant completed 215-of-336 passes for 2,340 yards, 40 touchdowns and a 101.8 QB Rating in his first 10 career AFL games played for the Kansas City Brigade. The Michigan native also finished tied for sixth in the AFL in rushing touchdowns (12) and eighth in the league in rushing yards (149) accomplished on 43 carries.

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