by Richard Martin
This week was another wild week in the Arena Football League. Philadelphia gave Columbus another heartbreaking loss, Albany and Atlantic City broke the scoreboard, more on that later, and Washington and Baltimore may have had the dumbest and craziest ending to a football game I’ve seen in a while.
Last Thursday, tied at 35, the Valor went for a field goal with under 20 seconds left to give them a narrow three point lead over the Brigade. The kick was up…and missed off the irons! But Josh Reese was composed enough to pick up the live ball and scramble into the endzone for one of the craziest wins in the Valor’s short history.
Add in the come from behind win against Columbus earlier in the year, this is a Washington team that understands the importance of finishing the drill and continuing to play hard no matter the score, which could make them dangerous come playoff time.
Week 9 Results
Washington 42 Baltimore 35
Albany 63 Atlantic City 61
Philadelphia 42 Columbus 35
The Albany Empire have been the unstoppable force in the AFL this season. With one loss and just three games left, the Empire can claim the number one overall seed with a win this week. Meanwhile, spots two through four all have teams sitting at a 5-4 record. Atlantic City sits two games out of the final playoff spot at 3-6, and Columbus is in last at 1-8.
Standings (As of June 22, 2019)
Atlantic City 3-6
*Clinched a Playoff Berth
Run It Up
No, that Albany-Atlantic City score is not a typo. The Blackjacks and Empire did combine for 124 points last week.
Warren Smith finished 24-for-34 for 329 yards and seven touchdowns for Atlantic City, while Tommy Grady wen 18-for-27 for 229 and seven touchdowns for Albany.
And while Malachi Jones continued his stellar season with nine receptions for 114 yards and two touchdowns, teammate Quentin Sims was the hot target, with seven receptions for 91 yards and five touchdowns.
Kendrick Ings struggled for A.C. with just two catches for 20 yards, but Antwane Grant went off with 11 receptions for 177 yards and four touchdowns.
While these stats and the final score is impressive, the 124 combined points isn’t even in the top 15 of most combined points in AFL history. That distinction belongs to the game in this week’s League Lookback.
League Lookback: The Highest Scoring Game in AFL History
The Bossier-Shreveport Battle Wings and Oklahoma City Yard Dawgz were two teams left over from the af2 that found themselves in the new AFL in 2010. While each team would relocate after one season and were just a blip on the radar in the entire history of the Arena Football League, they gave us a night to remember on May 8, 2010.
That night, at the Cox Convention Center in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, 4,775 fans saw the Yard Dawgz come from behind to knock off the Battle Wings 88-79. This was not a basketball game folks. This was an arena football game.
For a while, it looked like the Wings were going to run away with it, up 33-14 after the first quarter. But the Dawgz defense stepped up and Bossier-Shreveport didn’t score more than 20 points in any of the remaining three quarters of football.
OKC would take their first lead of the game with 4:02 left in the third quarter, but the Battle Wings would take it right back. Things looked dire for the Yard Dawgz as they trailed 79-75 with under 10 seconds left. But Timon Marshall would return a missed field goal 56 yards to give OKC the lead with four seconds left on the clock. Add in a David Hyland fumble return for a touchdown, and the Yard Dawgz would win the game 88-79.
The losing QB was Ray Philyaw, who on any other night would’ve had an MVP performance, going 29-for-38 for 355 yards and nine touchdowns. The winning QB was, who else, Tommy Grady, who went 34-for-42 with an astonishing 430 yards and 10 touchdowns.
Four receivers went for over 100 yards and caught at least four touchdowns. PJ Berry lead the Wings with 12 receptions for 173 yards and four TDs, while OKC was lead by Anthony Hines who finished with 11 receptions for 137 yards and four scores of his own.
Folks, I need to watch this game. The only video online I could find was one of Al Hunt’s four touchdown grabs. If anyone has any video, digital, DVD, heck even VCR tape of this game, contact AFL Fan Zone however you can because this game needs to be revisited and documented.
Game of the Week: Albany Empire at Philadelphia Soul
We’re getting to the point of the season where every game is important, but this one has an edge to it.
The Soul have been very up and down this season, at one point finding themselves under .500 for the first time in four years. This team is still dangerous, as they’ve rattled off two straight impressive wins over the lower half of the league.
The Empire will always be a tough team with Malachi Jones and Tommy Grady leading the offense. But after the way the defense has played the past few weeks, Dan Raudabaugh may be looking to show that he’s still one of the top QBs in the AFL.
This Week’s Games
June 28, 2019
Columbus Destroyers (1-8) @ Baltimore Brigade (5-4) – 7:00 PM
June 29, 2019
Albany Empire (8-1) @ Philadelphia Soul (5-4) – 3:30 PM
Atlantic City Blackjacks (3-6) @ Washington Valor (5-4) – 7:00 PM