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Hammers end 2011 SIFL season with loss at Albany

June 11, 2011 - Southern Indoor Football League (SIFL) - Alabama Hammers News Release

ALBANY, Ga. - The Alabama Hammers headed into Saturday night's game against Albany looking to end their 2011 Southern Indoor Professional League season on a positive note.

It looked good early, but it didn't happen.

The Hammers fell 68-51 to the Panthers before nearly 4,500 fans at the Albany Civic Center. Former North Alabama quarterback Harrison Beck threw six interceptions in the season-ending defeat as Alabama finished up 4-8, while the Panthers improved to 10-2 and will now host the Erie Explosion in the first round of the playoffs.

"We made tremendous progress this season and my guys battled hard tonight,'' said Hammers coach Marty Hammond, whose team was missing veterans Demetrius Derico and Travis Blanchard in the secondary, along with wide receiver Maurice Dupree.

The Hammers led 34-25 at halftime before the Panthers rallied to go up 47-37 on Lavance Richmond's 45-yard interception return of a Beck pass. Beck would pull Alabama within 3 on his 1-yard sneak heading to the final quarter, but the Panthers struck back on Cecil Lester's long strike to former Oklahoma receiver Antwone Savage and cruised from there.

Beck completed 14 of 37 passes for 152 yards and two touchdowns with his six picks in his second straight start. Charles McLain and Mico McSwain - a pair of former UNA stars - had six catches each with McSwain scoring once and McLain converting on a catch, a rush and kickoff return that sparked the Hammers early.

McLain returned the opening kickoff 45-yards for a touchdown and the Hammers led it 7-0 after the first of ex-UNA kicker Kenny Spencer's seven extra points on the night. A 44-yard fumble return by Anthony Hale had Alabama ahead 13-6 with less than three minutes elapsed in the opener and Beck's 29-yard strike to McLain kept it a seven-point game heading to the second quarter.

Turnovers ruled the early part of the second quarter, but the Hammers came out on the winning end of one when Beck fumbled a quarterback sneak at the Alabama 1 and Henry Freeman pounced on the miscue in the end zone for a 27-13 lead.

A sneak by Lester would pull the Panthers to 27-25 with a minute to go in the first half, but McLain's 8-yard run boosted the Hammers to their nine-point edge at the half.

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