The Washington Valor take on the Albany Empire this Saturday, May 4 at 7:30 p.m. at Times Union Center in Albany, NY in a rematch of the 2018 AFL semifinal series that sent Washington to ArenaBowl XXXI. The Valor looks to bounce back from a Week 1 loss to Baltimore while the Empire are coming off a win over the Columbus Destroyers.
“Albany brings experience,” said Valor quarterback Arvell Nelson. “They have a great defensive line and great defensive coaching. We just have to take care of what we take care of, take what they give us, and we should be fine. We know what we did wrong in Week 1 and we’ve made our adjustments. We just need to keep the energy up. We know our talent and we know what our goals are and where we can be by the end of the season.”
VALOR PLAYER TO WATCH:
WR Dezmon Epps – The rookie wideout made his presence known in his first-ever AFL appearance, amassing a franchise-record 201 receiving yards to go along with four receiving touchdowns, tying the team’s all-time high, on a game-high nine receptions. All four of Epps’s scores were 20 yards or more, including a pair of 46-yard touchdowns.
EMPIRE PLAYER TO WATCH:
WR Malachi Jones – Jones, who was named AFL Rookie of the Year for his performance in 2018, picked up 2019 where he left off last season, registering a league-high 11 receptions on Week 1 for 94 yards and a score. In two postseason games against Washington last season, Jones tallied 17 catches for 283 yards and seven touchdowns.
MATCHUP TO WATCH:
Valor QB Arvell Nelson vs. Empire DBs – After throwing for 391 yards and tying a career high with eight touchdowns passes in Week 1 against Baltimore, Nelson faces off against an Empire defense that held the Columbus Destroyers to just 19 points. Defensive back Tevin Homer was one of two Empire defenders to record five solo tackles while defensive back Arkeith Brown recorded one of the team’s two interceptions.