Albany Takes Down West Texas 73-70 in an Overtime Thriller

In what was a game-of-the-year candidate, the Albany Firebirds defeated the West Texas Desert Hawks 73-70 in overtime.

Firebirds First Half Domination

The Firebirds started the game off with a bang. Jake Medlock, the AFL leader in passing yards, found his top target, Darius Prince, in the endzone for a 39-yard touchdown. Prince got behind the defense with his blazing speed, and Medlock hit him in stride.

Following a Marc Orozco Deuce to make the score 9-0, the Firebirds stripped receiver Lonnie Outlaw to set up yet another Medlock strike to Prince, who was wide open in the corner of the endzone. Orozco tacked on the extra point, as well as another Deuce to make the score 18-0 Albany.

On The Desert Hawks’ second drive, they began moving the ball up the field, but the drive eventually stalled out after they failed to convert a 4th and 5. Jonathan Bane’s pass was knocked away by the hounding Albany defense.

Albany looked to continue their early success, but Medlock was intercepted by Kenny Veal, who made an unbelievable one-handed catch while flipping out of bounds. After some untimely Albany defensive penalties, West Texas finally cashed in and got on the board. Isiah Scott took a jet sweep to the house for a 4-yard touchdown.

On the following Albany drive, Jake Medlock converted a huge 4th and 1 after a fumbled snap, scooping up the ball and running up the gut to gain 4 yards. Three plays later, Medlock threw a strike to Daquan Patten, who got in the endzone for his first touchdown of the season.

West Texas answered right back. A slow and methodical drive was cashed in as Isiah Scott took the handoff and trucked his way to the endzone for his second of the game. Albany would clap right back: Darius Prince took the ensuing kickoff 57 yards to the house, thanks to some great blocking by the Firebirds’ special teams unit. Orozco added another Deuce to make the score 34-13.

Following another West Texas fumble, Albany was set up nicely at the 10-yard line. Jake Molinich took a pitch to the endzone, and the Firebirds took a commanding 42-13 lead. The Desert Hawks would not end the half quietly, though. Bane found Jalen Wilson for a huge 26-yard gain to keep the drive going. On 4th and 1 from the 1-yard line, Scott got in the endzone for West Texas. Albany was halted on their next drive, ending the first half.

Tales of Two Halves

West Texas gave Albany a bit of their own medicine, scoring on the first play out of the break. Bane found Scott streaking down the field for a massive 33-yard touchdown to cut the score to 41-29, following a Hery Nell Deuce. Momentum seemed to be flipping as Nick Marshall came down with an interception on the next Albany drive. And if you weren’t convinced this game wasn’t over, three plays later, Isiah Scott scored yet another touchdown. Scott’s catch was ridiculous, jumping in the air and coming down with the ball over the top of the Albany defender. Nell added another Deuce to make it 41-38 Albany.

Albany would answer. Medlock found Prince again. This time off the net and into his hands in the endzone. Orozco’s extra point attempt was blocked and returned for two more points for West Texas.

After a failed onside kick attempt, West Texas was set up in a great field position. They cashed in quite easily as Bane found Scott once again to tie the game. Medlock responded with a dump-off pass to Molinich, who found his way into the endzone.

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Following back-to-back interceptions by both teams, the Desert Hawks found themselves in striking distance. Guess who? Bane found Scott again! And once again, the game was nodded up. Albany countered. This time on a methodical drive, Medlock, himself, capped it off with. a 4-yard QB sneak. Orozco added the extra point and another Deuce to make it 63-54. On the first West Texas play of their ensuing possession, Bane threw a missile to Outlaw for a huge gain and then finished the drive with another pass to Outlaw for a 12-yard touchdown. Nell matched Orozco, adding the extra point and Deuce—63 all.

With the clock winding down in the fourth quarter, Albany chewed some time off and scored on a 4th and goal play using a read option that Medlock kept for himself. Down 7 points with 35 seconds left, did West Texas have another miracle in their bones? You guessed it, they did. Thanks to a pass interference penalty in the endzone, Bane found Caleb Smith on a swing pass for the 1-yard score to tie the game again.


West Texas won the toss and chose to receive the kickoff. They drove down the field until the Albany defense stripped them of the football. Thanks to some short passes and Molinich’s runs up the middle, the Firebirds found themselves in field goal range with a chance to walk it off, and Orozco drilled it. Final score: 73-70, Firebirds win!

Next week, Albany travels back home to take on the Orlando Predators. West Texas will also play at home next week, taking on the South West Kansas Storm.

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