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July 21, 2018
The Washington Valor punched their ticket to ArenaBowl XXXI following a 47-40 win over the Albany Empire Saturday night at Times Union Center in Albany, NY. It was the second game of a home-and-home playoff series, which Washington won in aggregate scoring, 103-97. Valor quarterback Arvell Nelson threw for five touchdowns, ran for two more and was named the game’s Most Valuable Player. Valor wide receiver Doug McNeil III caught three of Nelson’s touchdowns and was named Offensive Player of the game.

The Valor will take on the Baltimore Brigade in ArenaBowl XXXI next Saturday, July 28 at 7 p.m. at Royal Farms Arena, in Baltimore, Md. The game will be broadcast nationally on CBS Sports Network.

Tickets for ArenaBowl XXXI will be available Monday, July 23 at 10 a.m. and can be purchased online at , by calling the Valor Ticket Sales office at 202-661-5005 or by emailing .

Albany struck first when quarterback Tommy Grady found wideout Joe Hills for a 29-yard touchdown less than two minutes into the game. After Albany missed the point-after attempt, Washington took a 7-6 lead on the following possession when Arvell Nelson found McNeil III for his first of three touchdowns on the night. Grady and Nelson traded passing touchdowns on the following three possessions, setting Albany up with a 19-13 lead with 10:34 left in the first half. Nelson led Washington on a 45-yard drive on the ensuing possession, scoring his first rushing touchdown of the game third of the postseason. After the Valor defense forced a turnover on downs, Nelson scored his second rushing touchdown of the night as time expired in the first half, giving Washington a 26-19 lead after two quarter.

Empire defensive back Terrence Smith intercepted Nelson on the opening drive of the second half, putting Albany in position to tie the game at 26 on a 46-yard pass from Grady to wideout Jordan Williams. Washington responded with a four-minute drive capped off by a three-yard touchdown pass from Nelson to wideout Jared Dangerfield. Grady and Nelson again traded touchdown passes, giving the Valor a 40-33 lead, before Washington recovered a bouncing bar ball on the ensuing kickoff. Nelson found wideout Josh Reese to give the Valor the game’s first two-possession lead of the game, 47-33, with just over two minutes left in the game. Albany brought the game back within one possession when Grady found wideout Malachi Jones on a four-yard score, cutting the Valor lead to 47-40. Albany recovered the ensuing onside kick, setting them up with a chance to tie or win the game. On fourth-and-20 and the final play of the game, Valor linebacker Alvin Ray Jackson brought down Jones to seal the Valor win.

MVP: WAS QB Arvell Nelson – 18/29 passing, 260 total yards and seven total touchdowns

OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE GAME: WAS WR Doug McNeil III – six receptions for 88 yards and three touchdowns

DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE GAME: ALB DB Terrence Smith – 3.5 total tackles and one interception