Tag Archives: Game Recap

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.

We Will Defend this House: The Valor home win that was more than a win

by Bee Jay Glosson

It started early and it happened often, scoring that is, lots of scoring and lots of action.

With the Soul winning the coin toss and deferring to the second half, the Valor would start the game with the ball and almost immediately with the lead. Less than 1 minute and 20 seconds into the game and the Valor would strike with the first touchdown, Arvell Nelson 7 yd pass to Jared Dangerfield. 

Not to be outdone though, the Soul in less than 3 minutes strike back with a touchdown of their own, but the kicker commits the ultimate sin and misses the extra point leaving the Valor with the lead 7-6.

That is how the night got started and that is exactly how the rest of the night would go. Back and forth the entire night with no team having a greater lead than 15 at anytime, it would be a game where we saw the 2 starting quarterbacks combine for 14 total touchdowns.

Even the 15 point lead didn’t last longer than 3 minutes, putting the game back within 8 and striking distance the rest of the game.

As exciting as the whole game was, in which we saw Arvell Nelson pass for over 300 yards and 5 touchdowns and another 29 yards and 2 touchdowns on the ground, it would be the final minute of play that would give the fans their money’s worth and all the blood pressure raising moments that they could have hoped for. 

The Valor, leading 42-40 with 52 seconds left in the game, saw Pat Clarke kick a 30 yd field goal that cleared the nets and the uprights giving the Valor a 5 point lead and someone in the crowd a going home present in the form of a free ball.

With a 5 point lead and 52 seconds left, the game is over right? No, not even close. The Valor attempt an onside kick only to lose the attempt giving the Soul the ball on a short field. 

When asked after the game why they went for an onside kick in that position, head coach Benji McDowell stated ” We wanted to give ourselves a shot at getting the ball back and running out the clock or if that didn’t happen, to hopefully still have enough time to score at the end should the Soul get the ball and strike fast.” 

Strike fast they did. The Soul received the kick and then went on to score less than 30 seconds later giving them the lead 46-45 after a failed 2-point conversion, leaving just 23 seconds left on the clock for the Valor to try and win the game.

Down by 1 with 23 seconds left, the Valor line up on their own 4 for their final drive and  chance to win their second game in a row.

“This is what we play for, what we practice for, what we put these uniforms on for. This is the moment we live for as players” is how Arvell Nelson responded when questioned on what was going through his mind taking the field for that last drive. 

With a crowd over 6300, Capital One Arena was at its loudest, you had no doubt this would be a defining moment of the game. Then it happened. Nelson found Josh Reese running down the sideline. The Soul went for the pick instead of the tackle and Reese made them pay for it, taking it 46 yards to the house.

“I knew we could do it, it was a great pass from Arvell and we scored when we had to” Reese stated after the game on his winning catch.

The Soul would get a final shot at winning the game with just 6 seconds left but it would fall short. Valor winning the game 53-46.

Winning 2 regular season games in a row for the first time in franchise history, the Valor seem to be turning the corner and finding the high gear for the rest of the season. After all, the last time the Valor won 2 straight games they brought an ArenaBowl trophy home with them.

Jimmy Gordon was asked if this team is better than the championship team from last year, he responded, “Its hard to compare last year to this year. We have our core guys still and we are way more experienced, we know what we can do and we believe we will do it every play.”

courtesy @WashingtonValor

As great as the game was, not everything went smoothly for Valor personnel. As I was waiting to get in the media entrance before the game, Jake Payne was attempting to gain access to the arena when a security guard asked if he was media or something. I responded with “That’s Jake Payne, Valor player and ArenaBowl 31 champion” Jake turned around and said “See, he knows me!”  Asked if he had any I.D. to prove who he was, Jake responded with the most priceless quote of all time while holding his hand up “I’ve got a ring!” I literally started laughing out loud.  

All jokes aside, it was easily one of the most exciting games I have ever witnessed as a Valor fan. 

Next week the Valor travel to Columbus, Ohio to take on the winless expansion team, the Columbus Destroyers. 

Arvell Nelson has extended invitations to Ted Ginn Sr. and Jr., stating that “He has a special place in his heart for the pair and Columbus has a special place in their’s, and he looks forward to the chance to share that moment with them.”

One third of the way through the regular season the Valor sit at 2-2 on the season, in third place in the league. They control their own destiny, just win and keep winning is the motto. Tracy Belton in a candid moment after the game told me he thinks the Valor could honestly run the table the rest of the year, and you know what, I believe him.

With Arvell Nelson leading the league in pass yards (1121), rushing yards (94), rushing touchdowns (7) and overall touchdowns (24), there is no reason that they can’t. It’s a great time to be a fan, Go Valor.

Blackjacks knock off Brigade at Home, 48-41

By David Taylor

In Atlantic City, the home team Blackjacks were able to defeat the Baltimore Brigade 48-41 on Saturday. Atlantic moves to 2-2 overall and 2-0 at Boardwalk Hall. Atlantic scored first, on a Randy Hippeard to Lamarck Brown touchdown pass. Following that score, the two teams traded interceptions on three consecutive drives. The Blackjacks were finally able to capitalize off of the turnovers, and punched it in again to make it 13-0. By halftime, the score was 20-13 in favor of Atlantic City.

The second half began with a quarterback sack of Brigade quarterback Shane Boyd, resulting in a fumble and a Blackjack recovery. Atlantic City QB Randy Hippeard took advantage of the situation, putting the Blackjacks up 27-13. Hippeard finished the game 20-32 for 192 yards and four touchdowns. He was also intercepted twice.

Baltimore never led the entire contest. Quarterback Shane Boyd was harassed all game and was picked off twice and fumbled once. Boyd finished the game 22-33 for 236 yards and four touchdowns. Boyd’s turnovers seemed to come at the worst possible time, continuing to add momentum and energy to the Atlantic City crowd.

Notable Performances:

  • WR Joe Hills, Baltimore. Hills has now caught at least one touchdown pass in 96 consecutive games, an AFL record he breaks weekly.
  • WR Kendrick Ings, Atlantic City. Ings had 10 catches for 91 yards. He also added 77 return yards.

Up Next:

  • Atlantic City hosts the undefeated Albany Empire on May 25th at 7pm.
  • Baltimore hosts the Philadelphia Soul in a matchup of 2-2 teams. Kickoff is scheduled for 3pm on Sunday, May 26th.