Iron Loses Season Finale to Firebirds, 58-55
by Randy and Adam Snow
Originally posted on OurSportsCentral.com, Sunday, July 26, 2009
The Milwaukee Iron and the Albany Firebirds went into their final game of the 2009 af2 regular season Friday night (July 24) with the same goal. The two teams were each looking to close out the regular season with a victory as well as to keep their slim chances alive of sneaking into the playoffs. In the end, it was the Firebirds who walked off the field with a hard fought 58-55 victory and earning a playoff spot.
Both teams scored on their opening possessions. The only difference was a missed PAT following Milwaukee's touchdown, giving Albany an early 7-6 lead.
Milwaukee failed to score on its next two possessions after they were unable to convert on fourth down each time. Albany took advantage of the Iron's miscues and built a 21-6 lead. Milwaukee fought back, however, and trailed 28-20 at the half.
The two teams traded scores for most of the second half. Milwaukee tried to swing momentum their way by attempting four onside kicks in the fourth quarter, but each time, Albany came up with the ball.
With under a minute to play in the game, kicker Brian Umstead put the Firebirds up 58-48 with a 21-yard field goal. Milwaukee answered quickly with a 10-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Todd Hammel to wide receiver Scott Burnoski with just 22.8 seconds remaining on the clock. But Albany recovered the final onside kick of the night by the Iron and ran out the clock to preserve the win.
"The way we played tonight and the effort we gave out there, I have not seen that kind of effort in a while," said Milwaukee head coach Gary Compton. "I'm glad to have this group of guys. It didn't turn out the way we wanted it to, obviously, but we'll build on the positives from what we saw this year and regroup for 2010."
A crowd of 5,547
enthusiastic fans were in attendance at the Bradley
Three people involved in
the Milwaukee-Albany game have connections to the AFL Grand Rapids
Milwaukee quarterback Todd Hammel also played for the Rampage in 2002. In the game against Albany, Hammel completed 24 of 35 passes for 317 yards, seven touchdowns and no interceptions. It is uncertain at this time whether the 42-year-old Hammell will return to the team next season or not.
MILWAUKEE MUSTANGS DANCE TEAM REUNION
About a dozen members of
the dance team from the former AFL Milwaukee Mustangs reunited for a brief
performance between the third and fourth quarters of the Iron-Firebirds game.
- - -
Randy Snow is a freelance
football writer from Kalamazoo, Michigan. Since 2003, he has covered the Arena
Football League, arenafootball2, United Indoor Football, the Continental Indoor
Adam Snow is a student at Kalamazoo Valley Community College, studying English and Journalism. He has covered games in arenafootball2 and the Continental Indoor Football League.