The Washington Valor, seemingly rejuvenated after a coaching and a quarterback change last week were defeated 48-21 by the Albany Empire. This loss brings Washington’s record to 0-4 on the season.
Shane Austin was intercepted by Albany’s Arthur Hobbs in the end zone on Washington’s first possession of the game. The turnover led to Albany getting on the board first, Tommy Grady found wideout Joe Hills for a 30-yard touchdown, giving Albany a 7-0 lead with 8:30 left in the first quarter. The Empire recovered the ensuing kickoff, Kenny Spencer was able to bounce the kickoff off of the bar and his teammates were able to recover it inside the Valor 7-yard line. On the very next play, a backwards pass from Grady to fullback Wes Maui’a was mishandled and recovered by Washington’s Greg Reid. Shane Austin led a game-tying drive, finding wideout TT Toliver on an 8-yard over-the-wall touchdown catch with just a little over two minutes left in the game’s opening quarter.
Albany took charge in the second quarter, scoring a trio of touchdowns including a interception for score by linebacker Terence Moore. The Valor broke the scoring drought on a 3-yard connection between Austin and wideout Josh Reese, cutting the Empire lead to 28-14 with 5 seconds left in the first half. After a failed onside attempt on the opening kick of the second half by the Valor, the Empire would score on a touchdown pass to receiver Malachi Jones. He walked into the end zone to extend the lead to 35-14. After another pair of Grady touchdown passes, his fifth and sixth of the night had extended the Empire lead to 48-14. After three straight drives that ended on turnover on downs, the Valor finally found the end zone for the final score of the game when Reggie Gray grabbed his eighth touchdown of the season. That touchdown catch in four straight games, Gray became the 15th player in AFL history to surpass 800 receptions for a career.