Pirates Sink Albany 46-42
ALBANY, NY - Firebirds wide receiver Jarrod Jones took a kick-return to the house to make it a four-point game with eight seconds remaining, but the Peoria Pirates recovered the ensuing onsides-kick and held on to win it 46-42 Saturday night at the Peoria Civic Center.
Albany trailed by just two points midway through the fourth quarter after an Alvin Ray Jackson touchdown, but the next two scores belonged to Pirates quarterback Luke Drones as Peoria extended their lead to 43-28 with three minutes to play. Adam Bednarik hauled in a deep pass from Albany signal-caller Stephen Wasil to bring the Firebirds to within a touchdown, but the Pirates added a field goal to make it a 46-36 prior to Jones' kick-return heroics.
Peoria seemed to be in control after two quarters of play, as they opened the second half with a two-possession lead and the ball. However, Albany's defense kept the visitors in the game by keeping the Pirates off of the scoreboard throughout the third-quarter. Jones scored the only touchdown of the frame and Albany headed into the fourth quarter with the ball and down by just three points. Peoria linebacker John Jackson halted the Firebirds momentum with a fumble return for a touchdown to make it 30-21.
The Firebirds offense struggled in the first half, scoring on just two-of-five possessions and allowing Peoria to jump-out to a 24-14 lead. Both of Albany's scores came from receiver Anthony Rodriguez, who filled in as Wasil's top deep-threat with leading receiver Christian Wise on the shelf. Pirates lineman Michael Lewis and receivers Donte Ridgeway and Jonathan Schoonover found the endzone for Peoria, which also tacked-on a field goal as the first half expired.
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