Thursday, November 17, 2005

The Road to the Championship Comes to an End

The undefeated story of the 2005 Albany Metro Mallers came to an abrupt end in the Quarterfinal round of the Harvest Bowl Tournament, as the Buffalo Gladiators' aerial assault bombed the Empire Football League Champs into a 44 - 19 season end.

The Gladiators took advantage of the Maller's heretofore smothering defense right from the opening kick off as they drove for the opening score by Matt O'Malley on a 5 yard pass reception just 1:27 into the game. The Mallers, playing without EFL Defensive Player of the Year Middle Linebacker Greg Woodward, had no answer for the passing attack of Gladiator Player-Coach John Augustine, who threw for 320 yards and 4 touchdowns in a 24 for 31 performance. O'Malley and former Syracuse Orange Quarterback Kevin Mason each hauled in 8 passes. The Buffalo entry in the NYAFL balanced their attack with a running game that gained 135 yards on 17 carries and accounted for 2 scores as well.

The Gladiator defense stalled the Maller big play offense holding QB Scott Lawson to his worst performance of the season at 9-19 and a dismal 85 yards and 2 interceptions in just under 3 quarters of play. The Maller power backfield of Sylvester Cooperwood, Jadel Whitfield and Matty Holmes were held to a mere 43 yards on 11 total carries. Reserve QB Ken Schaefer led the team in rushing in his 4th quarter performance gaining 32 yards on 3 carries while throwing 5-14 and 70 yards while engineering  Albany's  2  fourth quarter scoring drives. Whitfield scored on a 3 yard run with 5:17 left and Cooperwood pulled down a 5 yard pass from Schaeffer with just 3 ticks left in the game. Albany converted for 2 following both scores. The Mallers scoring was rounded out by a 26 yard field goal by Vinnie Cirrincione as the first half came to a close.

The Gladiators (13-3) advance to the Semi Final Round of the Harvest Bowl traveling to bean town to take on the AAA Champs of the New England Football League, the (15-0) Boston Bandits on Saturday. In the other Semi-Final, the Middleboro (MA) Cobras (11-1) of the Eastern Football League, travel to the Big Apple to take on the champs of the Garden State Football League (11-1) Brookyn Mariners.

The Albany Metro Mallers finish their season with a record of 16-1, and 28-3 overall since their return to the Capital District last season after a 13 year absence, and look forward to another great season in 2006.

The Metro Mallers wish to extend our thanks for the help and support that you have given us this season. We'll be back for another run in 2006.

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