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Albany Gets Franchise’s First Victory

The Albany Empire (1-2) won their first game in franchise history against the Washington Valor (0-3) 47-23, Saturday night at the Times Union Center in front of a crowd of 10,065 wearing orange.  Empire quarterback Tommy Grady threw for five touchdowns on his way to winning the game MVP award.  Valors’s Rod Windsor caught the two of the three Washington touchdown passes earning Offensive Player of the Game.  Marrio Norman was named Defensive Player of the Game with two interceptions and a touchdown.

ALBANY 7 21 12 7 47
WASHINGTON 7 8 0 8 23

Albany receiving the opening kickoff and instantly found receiver Joe Hills on the first play of the game for a first down.  On just the third play of the drive, Quarterback Tommy Grady threw a 25-yard floater that looked like it was intercepted, but the ball bobbled up into the hands of Hills for the touchdown.  With the score, Joe Hills extended his record of consecutive games with a touchdown reception to 83.

To answer, the Washington Valor methodically drove the ball down the field.  On fourth down in the red zone, Valor quarterback Warren Smith found Washington’s top target Rod Windsor for the score.  On the ensuing possession, Grady found Collin Taylor for a long catch-and-run hookup, but after being tackled from behind, Taylor fumbled the ball into the end zone for a Valor touchback.  After the quarter break, the Valor were unable to capitalize and turned the ball over on downs thanks to a sack by defensive end, Joe Sykes.

After a penalty on Washington and a few short completions, Grady was able to find rookie receiver Malachi Jones on a short pass that he broke for a 14-yard touchdown.  That touchdown marked the third touchdown in as many games for the rookie.

Starting on their own 1-yard line on the following possession, the Valor were helped by a series of Empire penalties that slowly moved the ball down the field.  Washington was able to capitalize on the penalties and cap the drive off with an 8-yard touchdown to Windsor, his second of the game.  The extra point attempt was blocked but recovered by the Valor for a two-point conversion, giving them the lead 15-14.

After Valor kickoff went out of bounds, the Empire received the ball with great starting field position at the 20-yard line.  Albany easily worked the ball down the field finishing the drive with a four-yard fade to Hills for his second touchdown reception of the game.  

The Empire surprised Washington with an onside kick that was recovered by Malachi Jones, giving Albany the ball with a minute remaining in the first half.  The offense milked some clock while at the same time making their way down field thanks to two catches by Hills and a Valor penalty.  The Empire controlled the ball down to the one-yard line as time was about to expire before Malachi Jones capped the drive off with a short touchdown run giving the Empire the lead 28-15 at the half.

The first play of the second half, Valor quarterback Warren Smith was intercepted by Marrio Norman, who ran it back for a touchdown.  The Valor’s next possession ended with another turnover on a strip sack by Willie McGinnis, giving the ball back to the Empire on the short side of midfield.  Beginning on the Valor 20-yard line, the Empire took their time as they moved down field and capped the drive with a five-yard hookup from Grady to Hills.

Washington set up their next drive after a nice kickoff return by Chris Duvalt, giving the Valor the ball at the 16-yard line.  At the start of the fourth quarter, the Valor were able to move down Transfinder Field but were unable to punch the ball into the end zone, turning the ball over on downs.  The Empire capitalized working their offense before finishing the drive with a pass off the net, caught by Collin Taylor in the end zone for the score, furthering the Empire lead 47-15.

After a penalty on the kickoff, the Valor began their offense from midfield.  Two plays later, Smith was picked off once again by Marrio Norman, his second interception of the game.  Entering the game for the first time, quarterback Mike Fafaul was intercepted by Dominic Addison.  The Valor took advantage and were able to end their scoring drought with a one-yard touchdown reception by Reggie Gray.  The game was already on ice as the Empire took the field for the final time and ran down the remaining seconds on the clock on their way to a 47-23 victory.

Albany Empire 2018 Inaugural Season Presented By CDPHP.

About Albany Empire

The Arena Football League’s newest franchise, The Albany Empire, are back home at the Times Union Center on 5/26. Season memberships for the inaugural 2018 season are on sale now. For tickets, contact the Albany Empire sales department at (518) 533-2200 or by going to Follow the team on Facebook at and Twitter at

About Arena Football League

The Arena Football League will enter its 31st Season in 2018. Since its inception in 1987, the Arena Football League has showcased a fast-paced and exciting game to millions of fans in a myriad of markets across the country. Teams slated for 2018 include: Albany, Baltimore, Philadelphia, and Washington D.C. CBS Sports Network nationally broadcasts AFL games each week, culminating with the ArenaBowl. The AFL launched AFLNow, the League’s streaming “Over-the-Top” network to give fans even more access to the League on For all the latest news and discussion on the Arena Football League follow the AFL on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram (@aflarenaball) 

About Times Union Center

Albany’s Times Union Center, formerly Pepsi Arena, continues to have great success. Renamed in January 2007, the The Times Union Center is “Upstate New York’s Premier Sports and Entertainment Facility. Owned by Albany County and operated by SMG, the world’s largest private management firm for public assembly facilities, the Times Union Center has an adaptable seating capacity between 6,000 and 17,500. Since Frank Sinatra christened the building on January 30, 1990, more than seven million patrons have walked through the turnstiles. As a multi-purpose facility, the Times Union Center has hosted a variety of events, including concerts, family shows and sporting events, averaging 165 events each year. 

About CDPHP®

Established in 1984, CDPHP is a physician-founded, member-focused and community-based not-for-profit health plan that offers high-quality affordable health insurance plans to members in 24 counties throughout New York. CDPHP is also on FacebookTwitterLinkedInPinterest, and Instagram.

About Transfinder

Founded in 1988 and headquartered in Schenectady, New York, Transfinder is a national leader in intelligent transportation systems, providing transportation management systems and services to school districts, municipalities and adult care facilities. Transfinder, an Inc. magazine “fastest-growing company” for the past eleven straight years, has offices in Austin, Texas, and Shanghai, China. The software company develops and supports routing and scheduling solutions for optimal transportation logistics.

Albany Empire Partners

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