In franchise debuts for both organizations, the Baltimore comeback led by rookie quarterback Shane Carden, fell short as they fell 51-38 against the Washington Valor in beltway showdown.
Brigade struggled early giving up a 27-0 run to the Valor. It wasn't until the second half that the young, rookie-led squad started to show some life when Rookie quarterback and former East Carolina Pirate Shane Carden entered the game, replacing Chase Cartwright.
On his first possession, Carden found veteran wide receiver Reggie Gray for a 27-yard touchdown, cutting the Valor lead to 27-6. But TT Toliver answered for the Valor, taking a reverse for a three-yard touchdown and giving Washington a 34-6 lead going into halftime.
Less than a minute into the third quarter, Carden found former Maryland Terrapin and Baltimore Raven Laquan Williams for an 11-yard touchdown to cut the lead to 34-13. Carden proved to be a threat on the ground as well, notching his first of two rushing touchdowns with 8:07 to play in the third quarter, cutting the Valor lead to 34-20.
The comeback continued when Dexter Davis recovered and returned a Valor fumble 44 yards for a touchdown, bringing the score to 37-26, Washington. While they the team wasn't able to close the gap, the showed a "no-quit" effort with a second rushing touchdown of the night by Carden with 40 seconds remaining, and a TD pass to Williams with seven seconds remaining to set the 51-38 final score.
The Brigade travel to Cleveland next weekend to take on the Gladiators on Sat., April 15 at 7 p.m.
Offensive Player of the Game: Baltimore QB Shane Carden completed 21-32 passes for 197 yards and three touchdowns to go along with two rushing touchdowns.
BRIGADE IN QUOTES…
Head Coach Omarr Smith
On the team’s performance…
“We as a team and as a coaching staff talked about players coming out and playing with a little bit more energy, but at the end of the day we lost and that's not our expectation, so we weren't good enough today.”
On making in-game adjustments…
“Well we were down 34-6, and in this game, if you’re down 34-6 and you can’t move offensively that's a problem. If you have a problem, as a head coach you have to find a way to fix that problem.”
Reggie Gray, WR
On the team’s performance…
“We can't start off like that. I understand there were nerves, first game ever. We have a young quarterback and young players on the offensive side. I have to do a better job of getting my guys ready, a better job of breaking down film, and we just can't start off like that. You just can't get down 30 something to six... I mean it's Arena Football anything can happen but you can't put your defense in situations like that. I just have to do a better job of getting the offense ready.”