The Washington Valor fell to 0-4 on the season as they were defeated, 53-42, by the Albany Empire in the home opener Friday night. this was the second straight week the Valor had taken a loss at the hand of the Empire.
Albany found the end zone on the game’s opening play as Empire quarterback Tommy Grady found wideout Malachi Jones for a 41-yard touchdown, the extra point was missed putting the Empire up 6-0. Washington answered quickly taking a 7-6 lead on a 14-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Warren Smith Jr. to wide receiver TT Toliver, his first touchdown reception of the season. On the next empire possession, Grady found former Valor wideout Greg Carr for a touchdown from 1 yard out, the extra point was again missed as Albany took a 7-12 lead. After recovering an on sides kick attempt, Washington took back the
lead on Toliver’s second touchdown catch of the night putting the Valor up 14-12 as time expires in the first quarter. Jones scored his second touchdown of the night, a 19-yard pass from Grady, giving Albany a 19-14 lead three minutes into the second quarter. Valor wide receiver Chris Duvalt notched his second receiving touchdown of the season with six minutes left in the second quarter, giving Washington a 21-19 lead. After another Grady passing touchdown giving the Albany a 26 -21 lead. Washington once again recovered an on sides kick attempt and Smith jr took advantage of the short field and snuck in a
touchdown from 2 yards ut too give the valor a 28-26 lead with 2:38 left in the first half. Albany answered, however, as Jones scored his third touchdown of the night this one on the ground to give the Empire a 32-28 lead heading into halftime.
Every drive in the first half resulted in a touchdown and that trend would’t continue as the Valor received the ball out of the half and drove deep into empire territory and Warren Smith was striped of the ball and Albany recovered resulting in the games first turnover. Albany wideout Jones scored the only points of the third quarter on a 22-yard pass from Grady with 5:36 remaining in the quarter, giving Albany it’s first double-digit lead of the game at 39-28. Another Valor fumble was lost, leading to Empire wideout Joe Hills scored his first touchdown of the night to extend the lead over Washington to 46-28. Valor wide receiver Reggie Gray caught his third touchdown of the season to bring the Valor within 11 points, but both teams would ultimately trade touchdowns in the final minutes setting the final score at 53-42.