by Bee Jay Glosson
With the playoffs on the line, the battle for the beltway against the Brigade carried more weight than normal in the week 12 matchup in Baltimore. The last time the two squared off we saw a chippy back and forth game and this week would not be any different.
The scoring would start immediately as the Valor would score on a Nelson to Mcneil 8 yd pass. The proverbial little brother would not let the attention go off of them as the Brigade would go on a 9 play drive and score on a 1 yd run by QB Shane Boyd to tie the game at 7. Answering immediately on a 45 yard pass from Nelson to Dangerfield the Valor would take back the lead but, stop me if you’ve heard this one before, miss the extra point to only make the lead 13 to 7.
The Brigade would score on a return of the ensuing kickoff and then tack on another TD with a strike from Boyd to Collins to take a 20-13 lead. Arvell Nelson would add to his league leading rushing TD total with a 6 yd run but again a missed extra point only allowed them to get within 1. After a botched onside kick the Brigade would take over on a short field and would extend that lead back to 7 after a missed extra point of their own. That lead would hold up til halftime as poor clock management would keep the Valor from adding anymore to their first half total.
The third quarter would be all Valor as they would score on a Nelson run and another Nelson pass to McNeil that would give them the lead going into the fourth quarter 33-26.
Then the real fireworks would start. Joe Hills would continue his streak of 103 straight games with a TD reception as he goes up and over the wall to pull in a Boyd pass in the back of the endzone.
As he jumped back over the wall though he would kick a Valor player and get a flag. The flag wasn’t the real story as this situation set off a pushing, shoving and eventual punching match between Brigade and Valor players that would lead to 3 ejections. Joe Hills and Maurice Morgan for the Brigade and Jadar Johnson for the Valor would all get an early shower and end of their night on the field.
The two teams would trade 45 yd pass TDs with Josh Reese for the Valor and Brandon Collins for the Brigade tying the game up at 40 apiece. Josh Reese however was not done as he would add another pass TD from Nelson to give the Valor the final lead of the game 47-40 and the defense would keep the Brigade off the board securing the win on the night for the Valor.
The extra curricular activity would not end on the field as sources reported that security kept the teams apart in the tunnels and then the police were called to the parking lot to break up a fight between multiple parties according to a police scanner app identified the two football teams and others. Until we hear from the league later this week we wont know the circumstances of suspensions or other penalties that may result from all of this.
The Valor now sit in the 3 seed position with one game to go with the possibility of ending up in the 4 seed or the 2 seed depending on the outcome of the final week of the season. With only Albany securing the 1 seed the other 3 seed positions are still open between the Soul, Brigade and the Valor.
Seed position is not the only thing up for grabs in the final week of the regular season as the AFL MVP race is coming to a head.
Arvell Nelson leads the league in total TD’s (65), total yards (2937), total rushing yards (199) and total rushing TD’s (17). Tommy Grady is just behind him with 64 TDs, all of those coming through the air.
While Nelson has thrown 4 more INT’s than Grady, his ability to score on the ground sets him apart from Grady. My MVP vote would go to Nelson as all but 3 Valor TD’s on the year have gone through Nelson making him the teams true MVP.
Next week is the final regular season home game for the Valor as they face off against the Columbus Destroyers at 3:30 pm on Saturday July 20th. With so many things on the line in the final week, it should be one of the most entertaining times in this already action packed year. As always, be loud, be proud and Go Valor.