Conquest Extinguish Fire 41-35
LOUISVILLE, KY - Backup quarterback Joe DeLuise relieved injured starter Dan Cole and led the Albany Conquest to a 41-35 victory over the Louisville Fire Saturday night at Freedom Hall.
The Conquest got off to a flying start as their in-form defense led the way early in the game. Albany's defense forced the Fire to a turnover on downs in just four plays on the opening possession of the game. With the early advantage QB Dan Cole quickly led the offense down the field and gave Albany the lead on a nine-yard touchdown pass to WR Jared Jones; the Fire blocked Carlos Ojeda's extra point attempt for a 6-0 score. Louisville QB Danny Southwick answered back to tie the game with a four-yard TD pass to WR Lonnell Dewalt, but Fire kicker Danny Kight's extra point hit the right upright and the score was level at 6-6. Cole logged another touchdown pass with a 25-yard hook up with WR Antwun Williams, while Southwick found WR Ricardo Lenhart from three-yard out to tie the game 12-12 at the end of the first quarter.
Louisville's defense got their first turnover on the first possession of the second quarter as DB Matt Forbes picked off a Cole pass in the end zone; his 14th interception of the season. But the Conquest defense responded by forcing Louisville to turnover the ball on downs for the second time in the game. Starting their drive at the Fire two-and-a-half yard line, Albany took two plays to set up a 1-yard TD run from Cole to take an 18-12 lead. Louisville again tied the game on a Dewalt eight-yard TD reception, but the Conquest grabbed the lead with 16 seconds remaining in the first half. Cole found Jared Jones for a 16-yard TD reception and then hit WR Chris Bocage for the two-point conversion and a 26-28 lead at the half.
Neither team scored in the third quarter as each team's defense locked down the field. On the first possession of the second half Cole suffered an injury that knocked him out of the game, bringing in backup QB Joe DeLuise. It looked like the rookie was off to a flying start, running a quarterback draw on his first snap for 22-yards all the way down to the goal line, and appeared to score, but the officials ruled him down just inside the one-yard line. That stalled the drive and both teams missed field goal attempts in the quarter.
Louisville kicker Danny Kight drilled a 33-yard field goal on the first play of the fourth quarter, cutting the lead to 26-21 and then the Fire forced Albany to turnover the ball on downs. But LB Vernard Abrams rescued the Conquest by intercepting Southwick and returning the ball to the Louisville nine-yard line, setting up a two-yard TD pass from DeLuises to Bocage and a 32-21 lead. Louisville head coach Tommy Johnson then yanked Southwick in favor of backup QB Aaron Marshall and after each team turned over the ball on downs, the Fire closed the gap on a one-yard TD run from Demetrius Forney. Marshall's two-point conversion attempt failed and Ojeda booted a 19-yard field goal to give Albany a 35-27 lead with 36 seconds left in the game. On the next play from scrimmage Marshall connected on a 31-yard Hail Mary pass to Dewalt and then hit Dewalt again for the two-point conversion, tying the game with 25 seconds left. But Albany's backup QB drove the team down the field, and just as it looked that the Conquest would need a field goal to win the game, DeLuise scrambled for a 12-yard TD run, giving Albany the upset win, 41-35. On the final play of the game DS Clarence Curry intercepted another Marshall Hail Mary attempt for his second INT of the season.
Albany QB Dan Cole finished the game 14-for-19 passing for 129 yards, three touchdown passes, and one interception while also running once for a touchdown. Backup QB Joe DeLuise played a majority of the second half, going 8-of-10 passing for 64 yards and one touchdown, while rushing a season-high ten times for 47 yards and one touchdown. Louisville QB Danny Southwick was 17-for-27 passing, with three TDs and one INT, while backup QB Aaron Marshall finished the game 6-for-12 passing for 94 yards, one TD and one INT. Albany WR Chris Bocage led all receivers with a game-high nine catches for 62 yards and 1 touchdown; Louisville WR Lonnell Dewalt had seven receptions for a game-high 112 yards and three TDs. Albany's defense had four sacks in the game: Michael Lewis (1.5), Brenton Brady (1.0), Ed Greene (1.0) and Vernard Abrams (0.5). Louisville DE Zachariah Babington-Johnson had four sacks in the game by himself and five tacks for loss.
After their second trip to Kentucky during the 2008 season, Albany is back home in Week 17 as they host the Manchester Wolves for a 7:00 pm kick off on Friday, July 18th at the Times Union Center.
Group and individual game tickets are now on sale for the final two home games of the 2008 Albany Conquest regular season. For more information please contact the Conquest at (518) 487-2244 or online at www.albanyconquest.com.
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