The Washington Valor begin defense of their ArenaBowl XXXI championship against the Baltimore Brigade this Friday, April 26 at 7 p.m. at Royal Farms Arena in Baltimore, Md. The matchup will kick off the 2019 Arena Football League season and serve as a rematch of last season’s title game.
“We have to execute and be locked in to what our plan is,” Valor Head Coach Benji McDowell said. “If we don’t do that, it’s going to be a tough game. Baltimore has a lot of guys returning from last season and we know this game means a lot to them. We have to match their early intensity.”
VALOR PLAYER TO WATCH:
QB Arvell Nelson – In the nine games that Nelson played in 2018, he led the AFL in both passing yards per game (246.6) and rushing yards per game (24.8); and accounted for 250+ total yards and 7+ touchdowns in each of the three postseason games in which he appeared. In three games against Baltimore last season, Nelson averaged 251.7 total yards and 6.0 total touchdowns per game.
BRIGADE PLAYER TO WATCH:
WR Joe Hills – Hills, who begins his first season in Baltimore, has tallied 9,910 receiving yards and 263 receiving touchdowns in his seven-year career. In 2018, Hills was named First Team All-Arena after amassing 88 receptions, 1,045 receiving yards and 33 receiving touchdowns for the Albany Empire.
MATCHUP TO WATCH:
Valor DBs vs. Brigade WRs – Washington’s defensive backfield, led by newly signed Marrio Norman, whose 2018 campaign with the Albany Empire earned him First Team All-Arena honors, will take on one of the AFL’s most talented groups of wideouts to start the 2019 season. In addition to Hills, the Brigade’s wide receiving corps includes Brandon Thompkins and Milton Williams, who combined for 48 touchdowns in their first two years with Baltimore.