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Firecats News

2007-06-20

A Look Across the Field at the Albany Conquest

By Patrick Kuras

The Albany Conquest look to begin their playoff push and find some consistency in their season against the Florida Firecats on June 23. Last week, the Firecats helped Albany out by beating the Conquest’s divisional foe, the Manchester Wolves. The loss by Manchester put the Conquest just one-half game behind the Wolves for 3rd place in the American East division, but more importantly for the 8th and final playoff spot in the American Conference. This week, Albany (4-6) would like to help their own cause by producing a victory against the 8-3 Firecats.

The Conquest have not won more than two games in a row this season, which will contribute to a nail-biting finish of the season where Albany will have to dig deep for victories in an effort to make the playoffs. "Wins are at a premium," Albany head coach Pete Costanza said. "I don't care if we get it by 100 or by one. If we get the 'W', that's all I want." Quarterback Ryan Hart will try to keep his second-half performance against the Jungle Cats going against Florida. The final stat line for Hart was impressive: 384 passing yards and 8 touchdowns. This is even more inspiring for the Conquest, considering Hart gave the ball away 3 times in the 1st half on two INTs and a lost fumble. Hart has thrown for 2816 yards, 61 touchdowns and just 8 interceptions this season.

Bakari Brown will make his return from an ankle injury that kept him on the sidelines last week, against a Firecats team which he torched for 20 catches for 217 yards and 5 touchdowns at home on May 5th at the Times Union Center in Albany. He set a new af2 single-game record with his 20 receptions and his 355 all-purpose yards (217 receiving yards, 138 kick return yards) set another af2 single game high for 2007. Brown will almost certainly prove a tough task for the 2nd ranked scoring defense in the league, the Florida Firecats. Bakari comes in with 100 catches for 986 yards and 19 touchdowns. Nearly every pass Brown catches moves the chains, he’s averaging 9.9 yards per reception. Bakari Brown is one of the deadliest players in af2 football, leading the league in receptions/game (11.1), and all-purpose yards (1917 yards an average of 213/game). Brown also ranks 6th in the league in receiving yards per game with 109.6.

The Conquest are not a one mane team, as Albany head coach Pete Costanza said in an interview when asked about receiving corps; “we’ve got a lot of weapons in the receiving corps, so just put another bullet in the revolver and keep on shooting.” The Conquest have the leagues 7th ranked overall scoring offense. Included in the “revolver” is a bullet known better as Antwun Williams, who has 24 touchdowns to go along with 75 receptions and 910 yards. Add receiver Chris Curd and his 54 catches, 707 yards, and 18 touchdowns and you have a high-octane offense that can hurt any secondary in an instant. The three-headed monster of a receiving corps accounts for 67 of the team’s 76 offense touchdowns. Brown and Williams also have 1 kickoff returned for a touchdown each.

This will prove to be a great match up at Germain Arena in Estero, Fl on June 23 a game fans won’t want to miss. The two teams have only met twice before with the Firecats coming from behind to win both games. Florida and Albany rank among the top-10 in the league in passing offense and total offense, which should lead to a high-scoring, fast-paced game. Florida will need to be prepared for a Conquest team that is fighting for their playoff lives.