As an expansion team last year, the Albany Empire started the season with back to back losses. In year two, the Arena Football League team made sure that wouldn't happen in 2019.

With the Columbus Destroyers expansion franchise in town, the Empire put up a dominant defensive performance at times in front of 11,682 fans at the Times Union Center. The first touchdown of the season and of the game, came on the ground with Mykell Benson but reigning MVP Tommy Grady got the passing game going from there. Grady finished the game with four passing touchdowns, one of them to last year's Wide Receiver of the Year Malachi Jones.

Joe Sykes also had a big night. The 2018 Defensive Lineman of the Year and AFL all-time sacks leader recorded two tackles for a loss and a sack in the win over Columbus but he'll remember most something that happened in the first half off the field. That's when Sykes ran across the field, into the stands and got down onto one knee to propose to his girlfriend. She said "yes" and it was game on again.

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