Hobbs’ return timely

The bad news is that the Alb­any Conquest must win their final three games to have any chance of se
PHOTOGRAPHER:

The bad news is that the Alb­any Conquest must win their final three games to have any chance of

securing an arenafootball2 playoff berth.

The good news is that Schenec­tady native Jacob Hobbs, a tight end/offensive lineman, has rejoined the team in time for the stretch run, which begins tonight against the Louisville Fire at Freedom Hall in Kentucky.

Hobbs, 6-foot-3 and 303 pounds, played for Schenectady High School and the University at

Albany before joining the Conquest. He caught three passes for 32 yards for Albany.

Hobbs signed as an undrafted rookie with the Philadelphia Eagles in 2007, and attended their training camp. He also became the first player from UAlbany to be signed by the New York Giants after participating in their 2008 rookie/free agent minicamp, but after two full months of training with the Giants, he was released in late June.

“I’m glad to get Hobbs back,” said Albany Conquest head coach Jeff Hoffman while in between flights to Louisville Friday. “He’s a good football player, and I hope he can be a factor for us in the final three games. When he got released from the Giants, we said if nothing worked out and he needed some more game film, that we would love to have him back.

“Although we are disappointed that things didn’t work out with the Giants, I think Jacob’s time with them was definitely beneficial,” Hoffman added. “I believe that Jacob still has a very bright future ahead of him, and we are thrilled that he’s back here to help us with the final stretch of the season.”

Hoffman said he tried not to put any added pressure on his team this week, even though every game for the rest of the season is a must win.

“We’ve got to win all three games to have any chance at all,” he said “but we’ve been using the same approach all season. We just need to execute. These guys are playing for the team, but they are also playing for themselves. They need more game film to help their careers. There is plenty of motiv­ation out there, and we’re looking forward.”

The Conquest (4-9) had a bye last week and are as healthy as they have been all season.

“The timing of the bye week was good for us,” said Hoffman. “It allowed us to get away from football, and take our minds off the game for a while. We’re fresh.”

But Albany, in third place in the American Conference’s East Div­ision, is only 1-6 on the road.

“We haven’t fared well on the road all year,” Hoffman said. “We need to play each down one at a time, then one period at a time, and one half at a time. Then, we’ve got to finish the game. That’s been one of our main problems. But we haven’t changed our approach at all. We’re ready to go.”

Along with the addition of Hobbs, the Conquest also learned they will have the services of wideout Chris Bocage for tonight’s game. Bocage, the team’s leading kick returner,

averages a team-best 13.8 yards per catch and ranks second in the entire af2 in all-purpose yards per game (211). Bocage has missed the last three games with an injury.

Quarterback Dan Cole paces the Conquest offense with 274 completions in 509 attempts for 3,064 yards and 60 touchdowns. Albany’s ace receiver is Antwun Williams (81 catches, 1,042 yards, 28 touchdowns).

Louisville (7-6) is spearheaded by quarterback Matt Bassuener, who has 1,568 passing yards and 16 touchdown passes to go along with 304 yards rushing on 68 carries and 18 running TDs.

“Louisville runs the ball a lot more than any team we’ve faced. We will need our defense against the run to be tight,” said Hoffman.

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