It happened. It finally happened.
The Albany Empire lost a game.
While that was shocking, the biggest storyline may have happened on Friday when the Columbus Destroyers won their first game of the season, a 54-50 win over the Atlantic City Blackjacks.
Fun fact, the game winning touchdown was scored by Kenny Cook who graduated from Gardner-Webb University. While this is also the school I graduated from, Sko Dawgs, but almost a week to the day of the Destroyers first win in 11 years, Harold Wells, a former GWU Runnin’ Bulldog himself and the Destroyers all time leader in rushing touchdowns, was inducted into the Big South Hall of Fame.
The Destroyers may not win the ArenaBowl their first year back, the team is able to hold their heads up high and know they gave the city of Columbus a huge boost.
Week Seven Results:
Columbus 54 Atlantic City 50
Baltimore 42 Albany 41
Washington 48 Philadelphia 41
Arvell for MVP?
As everyone knows, MVP stands for Most Valuable Player. For years, I’ve held the belief that the MVP award should go to the player that, is the most valuable to their team. The player that, if you took them off the roster completely, the team would change completely in the wrong direction.
This year, that player has to be Arvell Nelson of the Washington Valor. Nelson has been on fire this season, throwing for 1814 yards and 32 touchdowns. And while those numbers don’t compare to guys like Tommy Grady or Dan Raudabaugh, Nelson has been able to get it done with his legs, leading the AFL with 144 yards and nine touchdowns.
The Valor may not be the best team in the league, but Nelson has proved that he is the most valuable player to his team.
Fabian Is For Real
Fabian Guerra has been a force to be reckoned with in the special teams department. He showed off his skills against Atlantic City early this week, taking the opening kickoff 57 yards to the end zone, his third kickoff return touchdown of the season.
Guerra also has 488 receiving yards and nine touchdowns, along with a rushing touchdown.
Guerra may gave been an afterthought to some after the shutdown of the AAF, but he is making his case for rookie of the year
League Lookback: Columbus Destroyers last win
In a new section, we’re going to throw it back to some old school Arena Football League games. This week, we’re going to look back at the Columbus Destroyers last win before Friday, a 43-41 win over the New York Dragons.
While the Destroyers won just three games all season, this one was huge as the Dragons made it to the second round of the playoffs that season, falling to eventual ArenaBowl champs Philadelphia 49-48.
This game was a QB shootout, as Aaron Garcia would go 30-for-40 for 295 yards and six touchdowns for New York. Current Chicago Bears head coach Matt Nagy would go 19-for-32 for 269 yards and four touchdowns.
CJ Johnson would be named Offensive Player of the Game with nine receptions for 112 yards and two touchdowns
The Dragons would take a 35-30 lead into the half, but a rushing score by Nagy and then a 40 yard reception by Calvin Russell would give the Destroyers a 43-35 lead.
Garcia would lead a last second touchdown drive, but the two point conversion would fail, and Columbus would hold on to knock off New York, 43-41.
Game of the Week: Albany at Washington
It’s not how you start, it’s how you finish.
At the halfway part of the season, the Albany Empire were 6-0. Tommy Grady and Malachi Jones were rolling.
Last week, Grady was still on top of his game, going 17-of-24 for 284 yards and six touchdowns. Unfortunately, Grady also threw two interceptions, but luckily only one of them lead to points.
While Grady and Jones did hook up for a late touchdown, the extra point was missed by Adrian Trevino. This was the fifth missed extra point by the Empire this season and Albany hasn’t made a single field goal this year.
This could be a trap game for Albany, as the Valor have given them trouble all year long, with the Empire pulling out nine and 10 point wins with late scores.
If the Empire can reload and move on from the loss, then they should stay the top dog in the AFL. But if they drop a second straight game, look for the Valor or another team to try to claim the yard.
This Week’s Games
June 15, 2019
Baltimore Brigade (4-3) @ Columbus Destroyers (1-6) — 3:30 PM
Albany Empire (6-1) @ Washington Valor (4-3) — 7:00 PM
June 16, 2019
Atlantic City BlackJacks (3-4) @ Philadelphia Soul (3-4) — 4:00 PM