The Baltimore Brigade improved to 4-1 Saturday afternoon, defeating the Washington Valor, 42-41, at Capital One Arena in Washington, D.C. Brigade quarterback Randy Hippeard was named the game’s MVP for his 213-yard, four-touchdown performance. Four wins matches the team’s win total during the 2017 season.
“We did not start how we needed to but it’s about how we finish,” Brigade Head Coach Omarr Smith said after the game. “It was a good character win – we found a way to win the game.”
In his first drive as quarterback of the Valor, Shane Austin connected on all three passes, including a 23-yard touchdown to wideout Reggie Gray, giving Washington a 6-0 lead just over three minutes into the game. 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 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 Brigade return home next weekend, hosting the Philadelphia Soul on Friday, May 25 at 7 p.m. at Royal Farms Arena. The game will be broadcast live on Monumental Sports Network, AFL Now and Facebook Watch.