The Arena Football League Awards are starting to be announced. The Albany Empire are off to a great start. Ryan Cave and Joe Sykes have been names the Offensive and Defensive linemen of the year. The All Arena first and second teams were released earlier this week and the full schedule of when all the awards will be made public can be found HERE.

This is Cave’s first Offensive Lineman of the Year Award, and Sykes’ fifth Defensive Lineman of the Year award (also 2012, 2013, 2015 and 2018).

Cave played an integral role with an offensive line that defended its quarterback intensely and consistently. In all 12 games this season, the Empire’s offensive line allowed the fewest sacks against in the League, with just two allowed totaling a loss of 14 yards. Albany’s offense led the League in many statistical categories including total points scored, largely in part to Cave’s efforts up front.

Sykes added onto his League’s all-time career leading sack record by recording 6.5 sacks on the season, giving him 67.5 total sacks in his decorated career. In the Empire’s season-opener, Sykes had three tackles for loss (two sacks), which tie for a single-game high this season. The DE led the League in total tackles for loss (9, 8 unassisted), tackle for loss yards (50), sack yards (45), and ranked second in fumble return yards (21), including returning one fumble for a touchdown. Sykes also ranks tied for third in career forced fumbles (22).

Both Cave and Sykes also earned All-Arena First Team honors, announced on August 1. The Albany Empire teammates helped their team achieve the best record in the League, 10-2, earning the No. 1 seed during the playoffs. The OL and DE were also both named to the All-Arena First Team in 2018.

Tickets for the August 11 ArenaBowl championship game are on sale now by calling 518-533-2200, by going to, or by stopping by the Empire office located in the Times Union Center.  A limited number of great seats are still available!

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