by Rob Tetro
A season ago, The Syracuse Shock lost to league rival Albany in the championship game of the Empire Football League playoffs. However, when The Shock went to Albany Aug. 4, they weren’t just playing for retribution. This was a battle for the top spot in the league standings.
With all of the storylines leading up to this match up of two league rivals, the game lived up to its billing. Unfortunately for Albany, the efforts of DeWayne Gordon and Tyrone Burke Jr. proved to be too much to overcome. The Shock held on for a 32-26 win over Albany, which puts them in first place in the Empire Football League standings.
The Shock built a two touchdown lead during the first quarter. Albany responded during the second quarter. They outscored Syracuse to cut their lead down to 13 points at 20-7 going into halftime. Albany continued their subtle rally during the third quarter. They outscored The Shock to cut their lead down to 12 points at 26-14 going into the fourth quarter.
Albany kicked its rally into a higher gear during the fourth quarter. They scored 12 unanswered and tied the score late in the game. With momentum strongly favoring Albany, Syracuse’s Tyrone Burke Jr. delivered a stiffling blow, taking the wind out of Albany’s sails.
After Albany tied the game at 26, Burke returned the ensuing kickoff 87 yards. Following Burke’s kickoff return, The Shock went on to score the game winning points to prevail with the six point win.
Despite a balanced offensive effort, Syracuse had ten more passing attempts than they did rushing against Albany. Quarterback T.J. Sheard was 14 out of 33 passing for 149 yards with two touchdowns while throwing three interceptions. Sheard also had 19 yards rushing on four carries.
Leading the way for The Shock on the ground once again was DeWayne Gordon. Gordon had 133 yards on 16 carries with three touchdowns. Gordon’s last touchdown run came late in the game following Burke’s crucial kickoff return. Fullback James Chaplin also chipped in 18 yards on three carries for The Shock.