COLUMBUS, Ga. (NEWS10) — The Albany Empire went down to Columbus Saturday night for the biggest game of their season thus far. The winner between the Empire and Lions would get home-field advantage throughout the NAL playoffs.
The Empire beat the Lions 65-60 in their first game of the season back in Albany in May, but this one didn’t prove to be quite the nail-biter.
The Lions defense came out to play early, intercepting Tommy Grady in the red zone to shut down an Empire drive as the first quarter remained quiet. The second quarter featured back and forth action, including a Mason Espinosa screen pass to Lonnie Outlaw that got the Lions in position to tie it up at nine.
Later in the second with the Empire facing fourth down Grady hit Darius Prince in the endzone to give the Empire a 22-16 lead. They would lead 30-16 at the half. The Lions cut it close in the third with an Espinosa to Antwane Grant touchdown to bring it to 30-22 Empire, but it didn’t get any closer than that.
Darius Prince took a handoff early in the fourth and found pay dirt to put the Empire ahead two scores as they went on to win 63-43 and secure home-field advantage throughout the NAL playoffs.