Albany can't catch Syracuse

Special teams errors cost Metro Mallers

— Poor special teams play cost the Albany Metro Mallers their first loss of the season.

Tyrone Burke's long kickoff return set up Dewayne Gordon's 1-yard touchdown run with 1:55 left in the fourth quarter to give the Syracuse Shock a 32-26 Empire Football League victory over the Metro Mallers Saturday at Christian Brothers Academy.

Albany (2-1 league, 3-1 overall) tied the game at 26 on quarterback CJ Tarver's 27-yard touchdown pass to Domo Henderson, but Syracuse blocked Kelly Palmer's extra point attempt -- Palmer's second miss of the night. Burke then took the ensuing kickoff and raced to Albany's 3-yard line before David Lumpkin caught him for a touchdown-saving tackle.

From there, it took Gordon three attempts to cover the yards necessary to put the Shock ahead.

"Our special teams did not play well tonight," said Albany coach Tom Manny. "I'll tell you this much. When we get together Tuesday for practice, that's the first thing we're going to work on."

Syracuse grabbed a 6-0 lead on quarterback TJ Sheard's 8-yard touchdown pass to Burke late in the first quarter. It was the first six points allowed by Albany's defense all season.

Syracuse caught a break early in the second quarter when a botched snap on an Albany punt and an unsportsmanlike penalty after the play ended gave the Shock the ball on the Mallers' 7-yard line. Gordon scored on the next play from scrimmage, and Sherard added a two-point conversion pass to give Syracuse a 14-0 lead.

"The bottom line is we made too many mental errors in the first half," said Manny.

Tarver ignited Albany's offense late in the second quarter. He completed a fourth-down pass to Sean Singleton at midfield and added a 20-yard run to move the ball inside Syracuse's 30-yard line. Three plays later, Tarver completed a 25-yard touchdown pass to Ish Green to trim the Shock's lead to 14-7.

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