Professional Football

Empire Defeats Colorado, 55-44

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The Empire (10-2, 8-1) went on the road in Week 15 of the 2016 Indoor Football League season and defeated the Colorado Crush (2-11, 0-7) by a final score of 55-44 at the Budweiser Events Center in Loveland.

Spokane extended their Intense Conference lead on Friday with a Nebraska Danger loss to the Wichita Falls Nighthawks. The Empire can punch their ticket as the host of the Intense Conference Championship game with a win next Saturday, June 4th over the Billings Wolves at Spokane Arena.

Recently activated Empire kicker Pat Clarke scored the first points of the game as he converted a 49-yard field goal to give Spokane the 3-0 lead. Colorado responded and took their only lead of the game as they scored on their opening possession via a 10-yard pass from Fleming to Kaiser.

The Empire would go on to trade scores with the Crush for the remainder of the half and close out the second quarter leading 36-24.

Colorado had a chance to keep pace as they opened the second half with the ball, but Empire defensive lineman Ben Perry would tip a Crush pass at the line of scrimmage that would then be intercepted by linebacker Pasquale Vacchio. The Colorado turnover led to a seven-yard pass from Dowdell to Kennedy to give Spokane a 42-24 lead at the eleven-minute mark in the third quarter.

The Crush found the end zone once again to bring the game back within two scores, but Spokane defensive back Lorenzo White Jr. jumped a Colorado pass attempt to record the second interception of the game to set up another Empire lead-extending score.

Trailing at the midway point of the fourth quarter, the Crush attempted a surprise onside kick but Spokane wide receiver J.J. Hayes made a heads up play on the recovery. After going to the ground untouched, Hayes jumped up and scrambled into the end zone for the Empire’s final score of the night as they went on to close out the 55-44 victory.

NEXT HOME GAME

The Empire will return to Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena next Saturday, June 4th for Military Appreciation Night against the Billings Wolves with a 7:00 p.m. PT kickoff. The first 2,500 fans will receive an Empire Rally Flag courtesy of the U.S. Border Patrol. Using promo code “HERO” via TicketsWest box office locations, 800-325-SEAT (7328), or www.ticketswest.com; fans receive a buy-one-get-one ticket special on the single game ticket price.