ALBANY, NY (NEWS10) — After the departure of two key members on last year’s Albany Empire team – quarterback Tommy Grady and wide receiver Malachi Jones – there was uncertainty as to what this year’s offense would feature, and if a repeat as National Arena League champion would be in the cards.
Enter: quarterback Sam Castronova, who has put those doubts to rest with an MVP-caliber campaign.
The Bethel University product has posted 73 total touchdowns, 58 of which have come through the air.
The confidence the first-year gunslinger has in his offense heading into Saturday’s playoff game seems to be at a season-high.
“We’re scoring every drive; that’s what we expect at this point,” said Castronova. “Last game we didn’t score one drive. The game before that we didn’t score one, or two drives, so we like to have a game where we score every single drive.”
Now, this isn’t a completely new-look offense in 2022 for the Empire. They did return reigning NAL offensive player of the year, Darius Prince, who has picked up the extra slack in the receiving core since in the absence of Jones.
Prince has hauled in a remarkable 39 receiving touchdowns – 34 more than the next highest total on the team – and has raked in 1,308 receiving yards.
Albany’s 717 points scored this season are the second most in the league this season; 10 ahead of their opponent Saturday: the Jacksonville Sharks.