AFL Photos: Playoffs GAME 2 - Washington Valor @ Albany Empire, July 21, 2018, Times Union Center, Albany, NY.

Here are the photos of Game 2 of the Arena Football League Playoffs between the Washington Valor and Albany Empire on July 21, 2018 at the Times Union Center in Albany, NY.

 
Josh Reese separates from Varmah Sonie for the go-ahead touchdown (photo credit: Mike Pelletier)
Like a true heavyweight fight the two teams traded blows for much of the first half. The Valor took a 26-19 lead at the end of the first half on a 1-yard touchdown plunge by quarterback Arvell Nelson.

The Empire kept slugging away, tying the game at 26 when Tommy Grady connected with Jordan Williams for a 46-yard touchdown strike with 9:21 left in the third quarter.  The back-and-forth action continued as Nelson hit Jared Dangerfield for a 3-yard pass to make the score 33-26 for the Valor after the PAT. 

The lead wouldn't last long though: the Empire went back to their bread and butter as Tommy Grady connected with Malachi Jones from 33 yards with 1:41 left in the third quarter, tying the game back up just as quickly.

The underdog Valor then went clock management mode and chewed up the clock effectively, with a seven play drive that took 6:17 off the clock and culminated in a Nelson 5-yard touchdown pass to Doug McNeil and a 40-33 Valor lead. 

After the ensuing the kick-off the Empire came out slinging the ball, seeming as though they were destined to tie the game up in front of their home crowd.  However, those hopes were dashed when Svante Davenport intercepted a pass in the back corner of the end zone with 4:48 remaining in the game. 

The Valor, smelling blood in the water came out aggressively throwing the ball on the ensuing drive. With 2:17 remaining in the game Valor receiver Josh Reese got separation from Albany defensive back Varmah Sonie and Nelson hit him for a 33-yard touchdown, making it a two-possession game late with a 47-33 score.

The Empire weren't going away quietly and brought their season back to life when Tommy Grady hit Malchi Jones for a 4-yard touchdown to pull within seven with 27 seconds to go. The Empire then recovered the ensuring on-side kick and it seemed as though the top seed was going to pull out a miracle. However, Grady couldn't connected on with a receiver on a couple of passes and a ill-timed penalty pushed the Empire back further. Faced with a fourth down and 3.6 seconds left in the game. Tommy Grady dropped back and hit Malachi Jones on the boards who broke a couple tackles but was finally upended. One last gasp of hope for the Empire was a penalty flag laying on the field but it was against them, sending the 3-11 Washington Valor to the Arena Bowl. 

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Fred Obi (photo credit: Mike Pelletier)

Jared Dangerfield (photo credit: Corey Mansfield)

Josh Reese (photo credit: Mike Pelletier)

Doug McNeil runs a route before the game (photo credit: Mike Pelletier)

Chris Duvalt catches passes during warmups (photo credit: Mike Pelletier)

Svante Davenport (photo credit: Mike Pelletier)

Josh Reese (photo credit: Mike Pelletier)

Joe Hills (photo credit: Corey Mansfield)

Hayworth Hicks (photo credit: Corey Mansfield)

Ryan Cave (photo credit: Corey Mansfield)

Mo Ruffins (photo credit: Corey Mansfield)

Bret Piekarski (photo credit: Mike Pelletier)

Kyle Rowley (photo credit: Mike Pelletier)

Tommy Grady (photo credit: Mike Pelletier)

Collin Taylor (photo credit: Mike Pelletier)

Joe Hills (photo credit: Mike Pelletier)

Not sure if they are playing "pirate" or what... (photo credit: Mike Pelletier)

Bret Piekarski (photo credit: Mike Pelletier)

Mykel Benson (photo credit: Mike Pelletier)

Collin Taylor and Jordan Williams (photo credit: Mike Pelletier)

Rob Keefe is all business (photo credit: Mike Pelletier)

Brandon Sesay (photo credit: Corey Mansfield)

Tommy Grady stretches before the game (photo credit: Corey Mansfield)

Collin Taylor (photo credit: Corey Mansfield)

Kyle Rowley (photo credit: Corey Mansfield)

T-Moe! (photo credit: Mike Pelletier)

Wes Mauia (photo credit: Mike Pelletier)

Terrence Smith catches balls during warmups (photo credit: Mike Pelletier)

Rob Keefe works with his DB's (photo credit: Mike Pelletier)

Marrio Norman goes through some drills (photo credit: Mike Pelletier)

Marrio Norman (photo credit: Mike Pelletier)

Bret Piekarski (photo credit: Mike Pelletier)

Malachi Jones (photo credit: Mike Pelletier)

The Empire break it down (photo credit: Mike Pelletier)

Tommy Grady (photo credit: Mike Pelletier)

Joe Sykes (photo credit: Mike Pelletier)

Nick Seither and Joe Hills talk with Coffee Jones (photo credit: Mike Pelletier)

Kenny Spencer practices his field goals before the game (photo credit: Mike Pelletier)

Rob Keefe (photo credit: Mike Pelletier)

Terrence Smith (photo credit: Mike Pelletier)

Terence Moore (photo credit: Mike Pelletier)

Greg Carr (photo credit: Corey Mansfield)

The Empire helmet (photo credit: Corey Mansfield)

Varmah Sonie (photo credit: Corey Mansfield)

AFL legends, Tommy Grady and Joe Sykes (photo credit: Corey Mansfield)

The Albany Empresses (photo credit: Mike Pelletier)

The Empresses perform before the game (photo credit: Mike Pelletier)

The Albany Empire!!! (photo credit: Mike Pelletier)

Bret Piekarski (photo credit: Mike Pelletier)

Brandon Sesay (photo credit: Mike Pelletier)

Terrence Smith (photo credit: Mike Pelletier)

Derrick Summers (photo credit: Mike Pelletier)

Daryl Cato-Bishop (photo credit: Mike Pelletier)

Riiiiiiiiiiiioo! (photo credit: Mike Pelletier)

Marrio Norman (photo credit: Mike Pelletier)

Varmah Sonie (photo credit: Mike Pelletier)

Terence Moore (photo credit: Mike Pelletier)

Get "Syked" (photo credit: Mike Pelletier)

Malachi Jones takes a moment to reflect before the game (photo credit: Mike Pelletier)

Varmah Sonie and Marrio Norman (photo credit: Mike Pelletier)

Jordan Williams takes the opening kick-off (photo credit: Mike Pelletier)

Kenny Spencer and the Albany Empire kick-off team (photo credit: Mike Pelletier)

Terrence Smith (photo credit: Mike Pelletier)

Kenny Spencer (photo credit: Corey Mansfield)

Oshay Dunmore gets ready for a kick-off (photo credit: Mike Pelletier)

Alvin Ray Jackson (photo credit: Mike Pelletier)

Josh Reese eyes a ball (photo credit: Mike Pelletier)

The ball is just out of the reach of Josh Reese (photo credit: Mike Pelletier)

The Empire defense (photo credit: Mike Pelletier)

Marrio Norman gets in position (photo credit: Mike Pelletier)

The Valor celebrate a touchdown (photo credit: Mike Pelletier)

Pat Clark lines up his PAT (photo credit: Mike Pelletier)

Collin Taylor (photo credit: Mike Pelletier)

Arkeith Brown (photo credit: Corey Mansfield)

Jake Payne (photo credit: Corey Mansfield)

The Empire offense (photo credit: Mike Pelletier)

Ryan Cave (photo credit: Mike Pelletier)

Lanford Collins (photo credit: Mike Pelletier)

Tommy Grady looks for Malachi Jones (photo credit: Corey Mansfield)

Joe Hills throws a stiff arm at Alvin Ray Jackson  (photo credit: Mike Pelletier)

Jordan Williams wide open for a touchdown  (photo credit: Mike Pelletier)

Mo Ruffins and Tommy Grady  (photo credit: Mike Pelletier)

Jordan Williams  (photo credit: Mike Pelletier)

A salute from Terrence Smith  (photo credit: Mike Pelletier)

Chris Duvalt hits the turf  (photo credit: Mike Pelletier)

Marrio Norman pushes Jared Dangerfield out of bounds  (photo credit: Mike Pelletier)

Hayley!  (photo credit: Mike Pelletier)

Maddy!  (photo credit: Mike Pelletier)

Jack!  (photo credit: Mike Pelletier)

Pat Clarke with a death stare  (photo credit: Mike Pelletier)

Doug McNeil  (photo credit: Mike Pelletier)

Doug McNeil points to a fan  (photo credit: Mike Pelletier)

Greg Carr  (photo credit: Mike Pelletier)

Pat Clark watches his kick-off  (photo credit: Mike Pelletier)

Bret Piekarski  (photo credit: Mike Pelletier)

Kenny Spencer lines up a PAT  (photo credit: Mike Pelletier)

Chris Duvalt takes a kick out of the endzone  (photo credit: Mike Pelletier)

Arvell Nelson drops in the pocket  (photo credit: Mike Pelletier)

Lanford Collins flexes a little muscle  (photo credit: Mike Pelletier)

Terence Moore  (photo credit: Mike Pelletier)

Svante Davenport  (photo credit: Mike Pelletier)

Pat Clarkes kicks off  (photo credit: Mike Pelletier)

Arvell Nelson  (photo credit: Mike Pelletier)

Arvell Nelson looks for an open receiver  (photo credit: Mike Pelletier)

Rob Keefe and Terrence Smith after Smith intercepted a pass  (photo credit: Mike Pelletier)

Rob Keefe  (photo credit: Mike Pelletier)

Jordan Williams gets by Tracy Belton  (photo credit: Mike Pelletier)

Jordan Williams gets ready to real in another touchdown  (photo credit: Mike Pelletier)

Jordan Williams  (photo credit: Mike Pelletier)

Jordan Williams celebrates his touchdown  (photo credit: Mike Pelletier)

Jordan Williams and Greg Carr  (photo credit: Mike Pelletier)

Tracy Belton  (photo credit: Mike Pelletier)

The Empire bench  (photo credit: Mike Pelletier)
Oshay Dunmore (photo credit: Corey Mansfield)

The ageless TT Toliver (photo credit: Corey Mansfield)

Tracy Belton takes down Collin Taylor (photo credit: Mike Pelletier)

Malachi Jones and Fred Obi (photo credit: Mike Pelletier)

Malachi Jones beats Fred Obi for a touchdown (photo credit: Mike Pelletier)

Malachi! (photo credit: Mike Pelletier)

Terrence Moore (photo credit: Corey Mansfield)

Arvell Nelson (photo credit: Mike Pelletier)

Shane Stafford relays the play to Arvell Nelson (photo credit: Corey Mansfield)

Arvell Nelson looks down field (photo credit: Corey Mansfield)

The Valor huddle (photo credit: Corey Mansfield)

The Empresses! (photo credit: Mike Pelletier)

Maria! (photo credit: Mike Pelletier)

Varmah Sonie tries to lay the boom on Jared Dangerfield (photo credit: Mike Pelletier)

Arvell Nelson dives for a first down (photo credit: Mike Pelletier)

Arvell Nelson looking for another score (photo credit: Mike Pelletier)

Daryl Cato-Bishop (photo credit: Mike Pelletier)
Touchdown! Doug McNeil! (photo credit: Mike Pelletier)

Pat Clark drills a PAT (photo credit: Mike Pelletier)
Jordan Williams (photo credit: Mike Pelletier)
Terrence Smith tries to get the fans pumped up (photo credit: Corey Mansfield)
The Empire secondary after a huge stop  (photo credit: Mike Pelletier)

Tommy Grady drops in the pocket (photo credit: Mike Pelletier)

Malachi Jones (photo credit: Mike Pelletier)

Svante Davenport positions himself for a huge interception (photo credit: Mike Pelletier)

Josh Reese beats Varmah Sonie... (photo credit: Mike Pelletier)

Josh Reese gets ready to real in a huge touchdown fro the Valor (photo credit: Mike Pelletier)

Joe Sykes wants to hear the crowd (photo credit: Corey Mansfield)

Joe Sykes (photo credit: Mike Pelletier)

Derrick Summers tries to block a PAT  (photo credit: Mike Pelletier)

The Albany offense gets ready to make a comeback  (photo credit: Mike Pelletier)

Claire!  (photo credit: Mike Pelletier)

Jordan Williams comes up with a huge on-side kick recovery with under a minute left  (photo credit: Mike Pelletier)

Kenny Spencer is pumped!  (photo credit: Mike Pelletier)

Tommy Grady looks for a receiver as time winds down in the game  (photo credit: Mike Pelletier)

Lanford Collins can't believe it! The Valor win!  (photo credit: Mike Pelletier)

Josh Reese and the Washington Valor dance their way into the Arena Bowl  (photo credit: Mike Pelletier)

All smiles  (photo credit: Mike Pelletier)

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