When the weekend started, the league had the undefeated Empire, the winless Destroyers and then everyone else tied for second with 3-3 records. Then the second half of the season started and all those records went out the window.
On Friday we saw the Columbus Destroyers take down the Atlantic City Blackjacks for their first win of the season. On Saturday night the Baltimore Brigade told everyone to “hold my beer and watch this” as they went on to hand the Empire their first loss of the season, breaking their 6 game win streak.
Sunday started with the win and loss streaks broken, now it was time to find out who would join the Brigade at 4-3 for a second place tie on the season.
Cue the music. Valor vs Soul part 2. The final matchup between these two teams in the regular season. The last time these two met it was a back and forth affair that saw the game come down to the last seconds before the Valor would walk away winners. Round 2 would not disappoint as we again would have to wait til the last seconds to find out who would walk away tied for second or who would be tied for third.
The action started immediately as the Soul fumbled on their opening possession, but the Valor would not capitalize on it as Arvell Nelson would throw a interception in the endzone ending the chances for an early lead. The Soul would not let the opportunity go though as they went down the field and scored the first points of the game on a run play by the running back Ferns.
The Valor would respond with a Pass TD from Nelson to McNeil to make it 7-6 after a failed PAT by kicker Pat Clarke. Then the Soul and Valor would trade points as Raudabaugh would find Ferns for a 6 yd pass and with Nelson again finding McNeil bringing the game to 14-13 soul lead.
The Valor would get a stop and find their own way into the endzone again, this time being a Nelson to Epps 8 yd pass giving them their first lead of the game at 20-14. The defense would step up and get the ball back for the offense but with no timeouts and poor play management the valor would watch the clock hit zero on the half without adding anymore breathing room.
Receiving the kickoff in the second half the Valor would see their first drive of this half end the same way as they saw their first drive in the first half end, with an interception killing any chances of extending their lead over the Soul.
The Soul would go down the field and again capitalize on a Valor turnover taking the lead 21-20. That score would set up a second half that would go on to see these two teams trade touchdowns on 4 consecutive drives for each team.
Tied at 34 with just over 3 minutes left, Nelson would throw a deep bomb to Reggie Gray for a 45 yd touchdown and a 41-34 lead. The Soul, not bowing down, would answer with a TD of their own as Raudabaugh finds Prince for a 33 yard strike that would tie the game at 41 with only 1:44 left in the fourth quarter.
Enter Arvell Nelson as he takes the Valor down the field and pounds in his league leading, 9th rushing TD of the year, giving the Valor a 7 point lead with just 20 seconds left to go in the game.
No game is ever over until the final buzzer, and the Soul after receiving the kickoff would find themselves with a chance to tie the game in the final seconds, but a interception in the endzone by the Valor would thwart thoughts the Soul had of tieing or winning this game.
With the win the Valor sit tied for second in the league at 4-3 with their beltway rivals, the Brigade.
After the game, Arvell Nelson finds himself in the middle of the MVP race as he leads the league in passing yards (1814), rushing yards (144), rushing TD’s (9) and tied for overall TD’s (41). For more proof that he deserves to be considered, the Valor have scored 42 TD’s on offense this year and Nelson is responsible for 41 of those.
The Valor have now matched their win total from last year (4) and come home to play the Empire with a chance to close the gap in the standings and a chance to stay undefeated at home for the season. Come out, be proud, be loud and support your Valor team on June 15th at 7 pm as they go for their third straight home win.