The Washington Valor were defeated, 42-41, by the Baltimore Brigade Saturday afternoon at Capital One Arena. Valor wideout Reggie Gray was named Offensive Player of the Game for his performance – which included an AFL season-high 171 receiving yards and four touchdowns. Washington’s newly signed linebacker, Alvin Ray Jackson, was named Defensive Player of the Game after tallying 5.5 total tackles and a forced fumble.
“We came together through a lot of adversity,” Interim Head Coach Benji McDowell said after the game. “We stuck together until the end. We left a few plays out on the field but we will get better and continue to grow. We’ve got a great group of guys – we’ll keep getting better.”
In his first drive as quarterback of the Valor, Shane Austin connected on all three passes, including a 23-yard touchdown to Gray, giving Washington a 6-0 lead just over three minutes into the game. Gray has found the end zone in three-straight games. With 7:20 left in the first quarter, Baltimore took a 7-6 lead on fullback Rory Nixon’s second rushing touchdown of the season and his first since Week 1. Austin and Gray connected yet again, this time for a 13-yard score, giving Washington a 13-7 lead with just over a minute left in the opening frame. The Brigade retook the lead, 14-13, when quarterback Randy Hippeard found wide receiver Quentin Sims for a 22-yard touchdown with 12:12 left in the second quarter. Austin scrambled for a 27-yard rushing touchdown, giving the Valor a 20-14 lead, but the Brigade answered just a minute later as Hippeard found wide receiver Brandon Thompkins for a 15-yard score to put Baltimore back up by one, 21-20. With just over four minutes left in the first half, Gray hauled in his third receiving touchdown of the day, giving Washington a 27-21 lead.
Baltimore started off the second half with two-straight touchdowns – the first, a seven-yard pass from Hippeard to wideout Brandon Collins, and the second, a six-yard rush by Thompkins – giving the Brigade a 35-27 lead with 7:57 left in the third quarter. Gray grabbed his fourth score of the day, a 24-yarder from Austin, to get the Valor back within a point. Thompkins found the end zone for the third time and second through the air when he and Hippeard connected for a seven-yard touchdown with 13:26 left in the fourth quarter, giving Baltimore a 42-34 lead. Austin notched his second rushing touchdown of the game, punching it in from one yard out, cutting the Baltimore lead to 42-41 with just under eight minutes left in the game. With under a minute to go, the Valor forced a turnover on downs and retained possession of the ball, but were unable to turn it into a points as the Brigade forced a turnover of their own, ending the game.
MVP: BAL QB Randy Hippeard – 22-29 passing, 213 yards and four passing touchdowns
OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE GAME: WAS WR Reggie Gray – 12 receptions, 171 yards (AFL season high) and four receiving touchdowns
DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE GAME: WAS LB Alvin Ray Jackson – 5.5 total tackles and a forced fumble
The Valor are back on the road next weekend, taking on the Albany Empire on Saturday, May 26 at 6 p.m. at Times Union Center. The game will be broadcast live on CBS Sports Network.