Category Archives: Team Posts

Stat Pack Attack: The Drought is Over!

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

Valor / Soul Part 2: The Final Matchup

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.

AFL Week Seven Preview and Picks!

by: David Taylor

Stuck in the Middle With You is the theme song for the majority of the AFL as week 7 approaches. As five teams battle for four playoff spots, getting the fourth win of the year and an advantage in the end of year tiebreakers will be critical. Here is a look at what is coming up this week:

(3-3) Atlantic City Blackjacks vs. Columbus Destroyers (0-6)

Atlantic City has beaten two teams this season: Baltimore and Columbus. The Blackjacks have an opportunity to pick up another win against Columbus this weekend, as the Destroyers are still looking for that ever elusive first win. On defense, Columbus has been pretty good this season, holding undefeated Albany to under 40 points in week one, and Washing to under 30 in week 5. The problems for Columbus have been on offense. The Destroyers have scored 40 points only once all season and have been held to below 30 twice. For Atlantic City, the key to victory is ball security. The Blackjacks have won the turnover battle in two of three victories and lost it in three defeats.

Players to Watch: Kendrick Ings and Fabian Guerra. Both Ings and Guerra have returned at least one kick for a touchdown this season. It will be interesting to see if the return game can tip the scales one way or another.

Prediction: Blackjacks 41, Destroyers 36

(3-3) Washington Valor vs. Philadelphia Soul (3-3)

This is the key matchup of the weekend, as the head-to-head tiebreaker is up for grabs. Washington defeated Philadelphia 53-46 in a previous encounter this season. This means that Philly must pick up a win, or the Soul could find themselves on the outside looking in come playoff time. Philly wins by winning the turnover battle. Otherwise, there will be too much Arvell Nelson for the Soul to contain. The Valor quarterback is lighting up the league this season, leading in both rushing and passing yards.

Player to Watch: Arvell Nelson, quarterback, Washington Valor. Nelson’s ability to improvise with his legs has made him a challenge to defend this season. It has also made him a fantasy football must-play.

Prediction: Valor 43, Soul 42

(3-3) Baltimore Brigade vs. Albany Empire (6-0)

On paper, this is Baltimore’s scheduled weekend to win, since the Brigade continue to alternate wins and losses this season. Unfortunately for Baltimore, games are not played on paper. This week Baltimore travels to face the undefeated Albany Empire. Albany has shown little weaknesses all season, but some sloppy play in last week’s game showed up late in the third and fourth quarter. Has complacency begun to creep in? Is this the weekend the Empire falls? Doubtful. Albany has scored over 50 points in the last four straight games. The aforementioned sloppy play occurred with a nearly 30 point lead, so there was plenty of room for error.

Player to Watch: Malachi Jones, wide receiver, Albany Empire. Enjoy watching him while he is in the league. Jones is such a big play threat that he is garnering the attention of NFL teams.

Prediction: Empire 51, Brigade 36

Here is how the games will go, according to our experts: