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One-Seeded Albany Named AFL Champions

The Albany Empire defeated the Philadelphia Soul, 45-27, in front of 12,042 fans at the Times Union Center on Sunday night at ArenaBowl 32.  The Empire capped off their championship run by winning all three post-season games as the top seed.  Up next for the newly crowned champions, the Empire will host a celebratory block party on South Pearl Street in front of the Times Union Center on Saturday, August 17 from 3-7 p.m.  Albany Empire players and coaches, along with the ArenaBowl trophy and championship belt, will be at the block party and available for pictures.  Fans can also purchase ArenaBowl 32 Champion T-shirts at the block party, or get them in advance on .

Empire quarterback, Tommy Grady, completed 16 of 25 passes for 200 yards and five touchdowns, earning himself the game MVP award.  Empire receiver, Quentin Sims, hauled in nine catches for 93 yards, and four receiving touchdowns, being named Offensive Player of the Game.  Empire defensive back, Maurice Leggett, returned an interception for a touchdown and had a fumble recovery, being named Defensive Player of the Game.  

ALBANY 14 21 7 3 45
PHILADELPHIA 14 7 0 6 27

Philadelphia received the game’s opening kick and began with the ball on their own five-yard line.  On the first play from scrimmage, Dan Raudabaugh found receiver Darius Prince on a quick pass for an early first down.  Following an incomplete deep attempt, Raudabaugh looked downfield again and connected with Prince for an early 34-yard touchdown.  AJ Coney was stood up at the Empire seven-yard line where the Albany offense took the field for the first time of the night.  Follow consecutive passes to open the drive, Tommy Grady found Malachi Jones across midfield, who fumbled the football back to Philadelphia on the 23-yard line.

To start the new possession, Raudabaugh found BJ Bunn along the sideline to push the ball over midfield to the Empire 18.  Following a short gain on the ground, Raudabaugh was intercepted by Maurice Leggett in the end zone who ran the ball all the way across the field for an Empire score to even the game at seven.  The 54-yard interception return set an ArenaBowl record, seven more return yards than the previous record.  Returner Jordan Williams was wrapped up in the end zone, spotting the ball at the Philadelphia three where the offense took over.  On first down, Raudabaugh threw a quick-hitter to Darius Reynolds for a quick nine-yard gain.  One play later, Bunn was left wide open downfield as the receiver pulled the ball in for six to reclaim the lead.  

Starting from their own 10, Grady completed quick pass to Quentin Sims for a minimal gain.  One play later, the Empire were in Soul territory as Grady connected with Jones over the middle down to the 11-yard line.  On the following play, Grady went to the corner of the end zone where Sims came down with the ball after making an impressive one-handed grab to tie the game.

The Soul would start with the ball on their own 14 after a nice return by Williams.  In two plays the Soul were across midfield as Raudabaugh found Reynolds in motion to end the first quarter.  After four consecutive incomplete passes, the Soul turned the ball over on downs to the Empire.  Albany was quickly in the red zone after Grady found a wide-open Jones along the sideline who ran his way down to the Philadelphia nine.  Two plays later the Empire were in the end zone as Grady connected with Sims who extended over the goal line for the score to take the lead for the first time in the contest, 21-14.

Beginning on the two, Raudabaugh whipped a quick pass to Bunn who was taken down at the wall at the 10-yard line.  Going back to Bunn, the receiver was stopped at the 19 for a Soul first down.  One play later, Philadelphia was in Albany territory as Raudabaugh connected with Prince for a 12-yard gain.  Going right back to Prince, the Soul were quickly in the red zone as the wideout caught a swing pass and maneuvered his way to the eight.   Two more plays to Prince and the Soul were in the end zone to tie the game.

Philadelphia would recover their onside kick attempt and begin a new drive on the nine-yard line.  On the first play, Raudabaugh found Prince down field who fumbled the ball that was recovered by Leggett right at midfield.  In just one play, Grady found Sims wide open along the sideline who did the rest of the work as he stiff-armed his way in for another Empire score; his third receiving touchdown of the half.  The Empire would attempt an onside kick of their own and recover as Terence Moore caught the ball at the top of his jump before being upended at the 11-yard line.  Albany was aided by an illegal defense penalty to quickly gain a fresh set of downs.  Mykel Benson would take the handoff on first down and plow his way ahead for a gain of eight.  One play later, Grady would connect with DJ Stephens who moved the ball to the Soul 11 as Albany called their first timeout with 29 seconds to go in the half.  Grady then floated one up for Sims who came down with his fourth touchdown of the half to give the Empire a two-score lead with just 22 seconds to go.

Williams was stifled at his own two-yard line where the Soul offense would begin with minimal time left in the first half after calling their second timeout.  On first down, Raudabaugh connected with Reynolds who had space and ran his way to the 22-yard line as the Soul called their final timeout of the half.  Raudabaugh would then find Bunn who was wrapped up and unable to get into the end zone as time expired in the first half with the Empire up two scores, 35-21.

The Empire would start with the ball in the second half and go to work on their own 11.  Grady would open up the drive with a slant route to Jones who moved the chains to the 23-yard line.  One play later, Grady connected with Sims who moved the ball into the red zone to the seven.  Following a delay of game penalty and an incomplete pass, Grady went back to Sims who moved ahead for a short gain.  Grady would then throw a short screen pass to Benson who stumbled his way into the end zone to put the Empire up by three scores.

Starting on their own 14, Raudabaugh would sling one to Bunn along the sideline dasher for a nine-yard pickup.  Going back to Bunn, the receiver made his way down to the Empire 14.  Three plays later, the Soul picked up a first down and were knocking on the door at the two-yard line.  After three consecutive plays of being stopped short of the end zone, Raudabaugh attempted to run the ball in himself, but was stopped in the backfield for a turnover on downs.  From the Soul three, Grady would quickly find Sims for a short gain. After three consecutive incomplete passes, the Empire would turn the ball over on downs.  The Soul were assisted by a defensive pass interference penalty to move the ball inside of the five.  One play later, Raudabaugh found Lonnie Outlaw who made an impressive catch over an Empire defender for the score.  The extra point attempt was missed, leaving the Empire with a 42-27 lead.

Arkeith Brown would recover the Soul onside kick attempt, giving the Empire the ball on the Philadelphia 10-yard line.  Grady would attempt to swing one back for Jones, but the ball was tipped as Jones recovered the loose football for a loss of six.  Follow consecutive incomplete passes, Adrian Trevino came on for the long field goal and drilled it, putting the Empire back up by three scores, 45-27.

Beginning on their own five, Raudabaugh would find Bunn who moved ahead for a first down to the 17.  Two plays later, the Soul were across midfield as Raudabaugh connected with Reynolds for a big chunk of yards.  Following a short completion to Prince, Raudabaugh went to Reynolds who plowed his way forward before being stopped at the two-yard line.  After consecutive incomplete passes, Philadelphia was helped by a defensive pass interference to pick up a new set of downs on the one.  After being stopped on two straight plays, Adrien Ferns would then carry the ball for a loss after being stuffed by Jeramie Richardson forcing fourth down.  A short pass to Darius Prince would be snuffed out by Tevin Homer before reaching the endzone thus forcing a turnover on downs.  After the play, Darius Prince was flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct awarding Albany with 10-yards.  Albany would start on their own 11-yard line.

To start the fresh set of downs, Benson would run up the middle for 6 yards.  Benson would then carry the ball again for a short gain before being tackled by Thomas Dover. On third down, Grady went deep to Jones in the endzone who drew a pass interference penalty.  The ball would then be pitched to Jones on first down and he would take it up the left-hand side for a short gain. Grady then connected with Sims for a short gain on second down.  All the Empire needed to do was line up in victory formation as Grady took a knee and let the clock expire as Albany was crowned 2019 Arena Bowl Champions, 45-27.

Albany Empire 2019 Season Presented By CDPHP.

About Albany Empire

Season memberships for the 2020 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 the Arena Football League

The Arena Football League enters its 32nd season in 2019. Since its inception in 1987, the AFL showcases a fast-paced, exciting game to millions of fans in a myriad of markets. With the addition of two new teams in Atlantic City, N.J., and Columbus, O.H., the League totals six teams for 2019: Albany, Atlantic City, Baltimore, Columbus, Philadelphia and Washington D.C. Each team will play 12 regular-season games in 2019. One can find the League can on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook using the handle @OfficialAFL.

About Times Union Center

Albany’s Times Union Center, formerly Pepsi Arena, continues to have great success. Renamed in January 2007, 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 26 counties throughout New York. CDPHP is also on Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Pinterest , 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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