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Empire kick off season tonight

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April 14, 2018 12:42 am

ALBANY — Are you ready for some (Arena) football?

Tonight the Albany Empire make history as the team competes in its inaugural Arena League Football game against the Philadelphia Soul at the Times Union Center.

Should the Empire bring home the win tonight, it will mark the first victory for an Albany-based AFL team since the Firebirds won the 1999 championship.

The Soul present no cake walk for the Empire, though.

The reigning back-to-back AFL champions are the favorite to make it three straight this season.

For some on the Albany roster, Philadelphia is no stranger.

Empire head coach Rob Keefe won a championship

playing with the Philadelphia Soul in 2008.

Pass Rush Coordinator Beau Bell played the last three

seasons with the team, winning two ArenaBowl’s and receiving All-Arena Honors and Defensive Player of the Year.

The Empire also have three players on the 24-man roster that have played on the Philadelphia Soul previously.

Keep an eye on the quarterback position for Albany as the team recently signed Tommy Grady.

Grady is an experienced QB, holding the single-season record for touchdowns (142) and yards (5,863). He also tossed 12 TDs in one game.

On the receiving end of many of Grady’s passes this season is sure to Greg Carr.

Carr is in his fifth season in the AFL and has 311 receptions with 89 touchdowns on his ledger.

Defensively, Joe Sykes is a man among boys. At 6 foot five, 265 pounds, Sykes is a two-time Defensive Player of the Year and his sack total ranks third in AFL history.

On the other side of the ball, Darius “Money” Reynolds is going to be a tough receiver to lock down.

With 1,272 career yards and 35 touchdowns, Reynolds is the biggest playmaker that the Soul has on their roster.

Game time is slated for 7 p.m. tonight and the TU Center is sold out. If you didn’t get a ticket to the season-opener, you can watch the game on CBSSN.