Late field goal snaps Albany’s win streak
Baltimore back in first place after effective clock use
Arena Football League games often are determined by how well a team handles the final minute of each half. The Baltimore Brigade won that aspect Saturday night against the Albany Empire, and as a result they are back atop the AFL standings.
The Brigade scored 14 points in the final 40 seconds of the first half, then effectively milked the clock to set up Mark Lewis’ game-winning field goal in a 59-56 victory over the Empire in front of 8,767 at Times Union Center.
Albany (5-3) had its five-game winning streak snapped to fall a game behind Baltimore (6-2).
In a game with six ties and three lead changes, the Empire drew even at 56 with 1:15 remaining as Joe Hills caught his fourth touchdown pass of the game from Empire quarterback Tommy Grady.
The Empire tried an onside kick, but the Brigade recovered at the 11.
“If we kick the ball deep with a minute and 15 left to go, we will never see the ball back,” Keefe said. “They will hold for the last play. You onside kick so they can’t get a first down.”
The problem was the Empire allowed quarterback Randy Hippeard to open the drive with a 9-yard run. He ran for a first down on the next play but purposely stayed short of the goal line, forcing Keefe to use all of his timeouts and setting up Lewis’ 17-yard winning kick.
“We played it right,” Grady said. “We onside kicked the ball to the 11yard line. It’s tough to get a first down to the 1-yard line, and they did a good job doing that.”
Grady’s first interception in 102 pass attempts, covering four games, with 6:08 left enabled Baltimore to gain control of the scoreboard.
“Just a little miscommunication between me and Malachi (Jones),” Grady said. “I’ve got to do a better job of taking care of the ball at the end of games and not make that throw.”