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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 Center to cheer on the team. It was Milwaukee's biggest crowd of the season. Albany improved its record to 7-9 while Milwaukee ended the season with a record of 5-11.


Three people involved in the Milwaukee-Albany game have connections to the AFL Grand Rapids Rampage. Milwaukee head coach Gary Compton played WR/LB for the Rampage in 2002. Albany head coach Tony Bowick played OL/DL in Grand Rapids from 1998-2001 and again in 2005. He won an ArenaBowl title with Grand Rapids in 2001 and finished the 2005 season as an assistant coach with the team.

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.


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. The Mustangs were in existence from 1994-2001. It was evident that the ladies had not missed a step since they last performed at the Bradley Center!

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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 Football League, the Indoor Football League, the All American Football League and the Canadian Football League. Randy has been a member of the Arena Football League Writer's Association since 2005 and can be reached at randysnow22@yahoo.com. He also maintains the web site www.theworldoffootball.com and is the organizer of Operation Gridiron Airlift, which collects footballs and sends them to our troops serving overseas.

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.


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