Empire Fall Short to Brigade, 42-41
The Albany Empire (6-1) were defeated by the Baltimore Brigade (4-3), 42-41, in front of 10,287 fans at the Times Union Center on Saturday night in what was Albany's first defeat of the 2019 season. Brigade quarterback, Shane Boyd, went 24 of 37 passes for 261 yards and six passing touchdowns earning himself the game MVP award. Brigade receiver, Joe Hills, tallied 13 catches for 137 yards and four touchdowns, being named Offensive Player of the Game against his former team. Brigade defensive back, Josh Victorian, led Baltimore with five total tackles and an interception on the night, being named Defensive Player of the Game.
SCORE BY QUARTER 1 2 3 4 FINAL
ALBANY 7 14 14 6 41
BALTIMORE 14 14 14 0 42
The Empire received the game's opening kickoff and began on their own 20-yard line after the Brigade kickoff hit off the side wall. Following a deep incomplete attempt down field, Tommy Grady took another shot towards the end zone and connected with Quentin Sims from 30-yards out to give the Empire an early 7-0 lead. Baltimore's offense took the field for the first time on their own four-yard line after recovering a bar ball on the kickoff. Boyd opened up the team's first possession with a six-yard completion to receiver Brandon Collins. The Brigade would pick up a first down one play later as Boyd his former Empire receiver, Hills, for a short gain. Following an illegal contact penalty on Albany, Boyd went back to Hills to push the ball to midfield. After two consecutive incomplete passes, the Brigade faced a fourth down and four situation from the 25-yard line. One play later, Boyd connected with Hills for the third time on the drive who ran 25 yards for the touchdown to tie the game.
Starting from their own five, Grady threw a dart over the middle to Collin Taylor who made his way near midfield. On the next play, Grady's hand was hit, causing a short pass attempt down field that was intercepted by Victorian. On first down, Boyd targeted Milton Williams along the sideline dasher who was stopped after a seven-yard gain. On the following play, Boyd connected with Collins to move the ball into Albany territory. Two plays later, Baltimore was in the red zone after Boyd hit Hills over the middle. After an incomplete pass, Boyd went right back to Hills in the end zone from two yards away.
Baltimore's kickoff traveled through the slack net, giving Albany the ball at their own five-yard line. The Empire gained an extra five yards on a Brigade penalty as time expired in the first quarter. To open the second quarter, Grady found Sims for a quick first down. Going back to Sims, the Empire wasted no time moving the ball into Brigade territory. One play later, Grady connected with Collin Taylor to tie the game from 17-yards out.
The Brigade offense took the field on opposing 19-yard line after the Empire failed to recover a squib kick attempt. Following a short completion and an incomplete pass, Boyd found Hills in the end zone for the third time of the half. Beginning on their own three-yard line, Grady threw a bomb to Sims on second down who took it to pay dirt for a 47-yard touchdown to tie the game. After Albany nearly recovered an onside kick attempt, Baltimore took over on the Empire 16. Following a delay of game penalty on Baltimore, Boyd located Hills over the middle who moved the ball into the red zone. Boyd then handed the ball off to fullback, Rory Nixon, who rushed ahead for a first down to the five-yard line. On first down, Boyd found Hills in the corner of the end zone for his fourth touchdown reception of the half.
Trailing by a touchdown, Grady and company took the field on their own two-yard line with four minutes to go in the first half. Following a short completion to Sims, Grady went back to Sims on second down who stiff-armed his way to the Brigade 15-yard line. Grady then found Malachi Jones for the first time on the night who moved ahead into the red zone. After a short rush by Mykel Benson and an incomplete pass to Sims, Albany turned the ball over on downs after an offensive pass interference penalty on fourth down. Opening with two incomplete passes, Boyd found Hills on third down near midfield for the first down leaving just 12 seconds on the clock. Boyd was then sacked by Joe Sykes who stripped the ball loose and was recovered by Jeramie Richardson. On the final play of the half, Grady targeted Jones in the end zone, but was intercepted by Joe Powell as the Brigade took a 28-21 lead into the locker room.
The Brigade would start the second half from their own five-yard line and open with a short completion to Collins. Boyd went to Hills on second down to move the chains as Baltimore approached midfield. On the next play, Boyd went deep to Collins who made an impressive one-handed grab in the end zone to extend the Brigade lead.
Albany would begin on their own three-yard line and open with a completion to Jones at midfield. On first down, Benson carried the ball eight yards before being launched over the wall into the Empire bench. Grady then found Jones on a slant route who muscled his way through a Brigade defender and into the end zone for the Empire score. Attempting another pooch kick, Albany failed to recover as the Brigade took over on their own 16. After an incomplete pass, Boyd lofted one up for Collins who came down with the ball in the end zone from 34-yards out.
Starting on their own two, Grady connected with Taylor along the sideline who worked his way near midfield. The Empire would move the ball into Baltimore territory on a short completion to Sims. Grady then handed the ball off to Benson who plowed ahead for a gain of seven. On the handoff, Benson took over at the number two spot in the League's all-time career rushing category. Two plays later, Benson took a screen pass into the end zone for the eight-yard score.
Taking the field on their own two-yard line, Boyd connected with Hills over the middle to pick up a quick first down. After an incomplete pass, time expired in the third quarter with the Brigade on top, 42-35. After opening the fourth quarter with a short completion, Boyd followed up with a pass over the middle to Collins who ran down to the Empire 16. Two plays later, Baltimore picked up a first down as Boyd once again found Hills. The Brigade were then assisted by an Empire penalty to move the ball down to the one-yard line. After a loss of three yards on the ground by Nixon and a no gain by Collins, Boyd fumbled the snap t set up a fourth and goal situation on the four-yard line. The Brigade would attempt and miss a field goal to turn the ball back over to Albany on their own 10.
Albany would pick up a quick 10 yards and move the chains as Grady threw a dart to Jones on a slant route. The Empire would gain additional yards on a Brigade roughing the passer penalty, which moved the ball across midfield. Grady then found a wide-open Jones in the end zone for the score. Due to an unsportsmanlike penalty, the extra point distance was furthered, and the kick was eventually missed, leaving Baltimore in the lead by a point.
Failing to recover an onside kick, Baltimore's offense took the field on the Empire 11-yard line. Three plays later, Boyd was intercepted by Arkeith Brown, who ran the ball to midfield before fumbling the ball back to Baltimore. Following a short rush by Nixon, Baltimore was bailed out by a defensive holding penalty on Albany, to move the ball down to the Empire 15. Baltimore would once again hand the ball off to Nixon, forcing Albany to use their final timeout with 39 seconds left in the game. Following two kneel downs by Boyd, the clock expired as the Empire suffered their first loss of the season by a score of 42-41.
Albany Empire 2019 Season Presented By CDPHP.
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Arena Football League Stories from June 8, 2019
- Empire Fall Short to Brigade, 42-41 - Albany Empire
- Brigade Top Previously Unbeaten Empire, 42-41 - Baltimore Brigade
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