The Baltimore Brigade started the 2019 season 1-0 as they beat the defending ArenaBowl champions Washington Valor in their season opener at Royal Farms Arena Friday night. Quarterback Shane Boyd was named Most Valuable Player of the night for his performance with 19 completed passes for 232 yards and six touchdowns. Defensive back Joe Powell was named Defensive Player of the Game for his 6.5 tackles (6 solo) and two interceptions.
“I’m glad we won,” Brigade head coach Omarr Smith said. “I’m not happy with our execution and I would rather be on the winning side of the column, but we have a lot of work to do.”
Washington got on the board first when Valor quarterback Arvell Nelson connected with wide receiver Josh Reese. Fullback Rory Nixon answered with a two-yard run allowing Baltimore to take the lead following a made kick by Brandon Brown. The teams traded points throughout the game with wide receivers Brandon Collins and Joe Hills finding the endzone and Nixon rushing three yards for his second touchdown. In the third quarter, Baltimore scored 14 unanswered points when Boyd connected passes with Hills and wide receiver Brandon Thompkins. In the final minutes of the game, the Brigade led 59-51 with a chance for Washington to score but the Baltimore defense made crucial stops preventing Nelson from completing his passes.
Hills completed the night with 6 catches for 64 yards and three touchdowns in his Baltimore debut. His active streak is now 93 consecutive games with a reception touchdown.
This is the second consecutive season Powell was named Defensive Player of the Game in a season opener. Last year with the Brigade, Powell also had a stellar defensive presence his first night back on the field with five solo tackles. Tonight, Powell’s two interceptions came during the second half led to Baltimore adding extra points on the board with touchdowns by wide receivers Milton Williams III and Brandon Thompkins.
Brown, with his first ever game in the Arena Football League converted on all eight of his PAT’s. Brown was added to the roster earlier this week after having only a few days of training camp to learn the game.
“He may be a rookie, but you know his name now,” added Smith. “For a rookie kicker to come in this week, after only a couple days of practice and play that well is remarkable. His kick-offs, his PAT’s and a field goal when we are down 31-28, for him to go and make that as a rookie, is amazing.”
The Brigade are back at home to play the Philadelphia Soul on Friday, May 3 at 7:00 pm. Fans looking to purchase tickets may visit BaltimoreBrigade.com or call 667-930-0200. Media interested in covering a brigade home game must reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org at least 24 hours before kickoff.
MVP: BAL QB Shane Boyd, 19 completed passes for 232 yards and six touchdowns
OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE GAME: WAS QB Arvell Nelson, 27 passes for 391 yards, eight touchdowns, two interceptions
DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE GAME: BAL DB Joe Powell, 6.5 total tackles (6 solo), two interceptions and two pass breakups
Omarr Smith On Shane Boyd’s Performance
“I thought Shane Boyd played his tail off. He didn’t turn the ball over which is key in this league. He’s been in this league for a long time. He knows this game and he knows what he is doing, he just has to go out there and execute.”
K Brandon Brown on debut performance
“I had to strive through some mental toughness tonight and there are some things I want to work on but I said my prayers and it feels great. It’s my first game out. To be honest, it’s only been a week since I’ve gotten to know how arena football works. I had a lot of help from my teammates to learn the game and they made me feel welcomed.”
QB Shane Boyd on being named MVP
“My coaching staff has done a great job of putting me in a position to get the ball out of my hands and get into a rhythm. It felt good to get that first completion out of the way and then after that I was good. The guys here make my job easy, I just have to get it to them. “
DB Joe Powell on being named Defensive Player of the Game:
“It was an honor to win defensive player of the game my first night back. I got the chance to showcase my talents tonight and it felt good to be back out with my team and back out on the field. This fuels me to keep getting better week after week.”