Image courtesy: Austin McFadden http://www.amp.photos/
The Washington Valor survive a furious second-half comeback by the Baltimore Brigade to get the first victory in Valor history
— Geoff L of GoingFor2 (@GeoffLambert77) April 7, 2017
Washington D.C. – Tonight was a night of firsts. It was the first game of the inaugural season for the Washington Valor. For the Baltimore Brigade, it was also their first game of their inaugural season. And for the Valor, their first touchdown came on their first possession – and it was fittingly scored by a wide receiver named Washington. Mike Washington.
The 34-yard strike from QB Erik Meyer to Mike Washington would be the first of three first-half touchdowns for the duo. The third touchdown came on a deep pass play after DB Tracey Belton intercepted a pass in the end-zone to put the Valor up 27-0.
Brigade’s rookie QB Shane Carden replaced starter Chase Cartwright in the second quarter, and on his first possession, found WR Reggie Gary for a 27-yard touchdown to finally put Baltimore on the board. But, as they did all night, Washington answered back with a three-yard WR reverse touchdown to Antoine Tolliver, giving the Valor a 34-6 halftime lead.
The momentum changed when Washington’s second half kickoff was shanked, giving the Brigade excellent field position. Two plays later, Carden found former Baltimore Raven WR Laquan Williams for an 11-yard touchdown. On the ensuing possession, the Valor turned the ball over on downs in their own territory, and Carden scored his first of two rushing touchdowns to cut the Valor lead to 14.
After the Valor tacked on a field goal to extend their lead to 37-20, they were threatening to score again when a fumble on their own six-yard line resulted in a 44-yard return touchdown for the Brigade. Cutting their deficit to 11 points after a missed extra point. With just over six minutes to go in the fourth quarter, suddenly the Valor had a game on their hands.
The comeback would fall short, however, as Tolliver and Meyers connected for a 20-yard touchdown on the next possession, extending their lead by 18.
Carden would add his second rushing TD of the game with 40 seconds left, but was quickly followed by a rushing TD from backup QB Bernard Morris. The Brigade would add one more TD to Williams, in what amounted to junk time, with seven seconds remaining — leaving us with a final score of 51-38.
Offensive Player of the Game was awarded to Baltimore QB Shane Carden going 21-for-32 197 yards three touchdowns and added two rushing touchdowns.
Defensive Player of the Game was awarded to DB Tracy Belton with nine tackles and two interceptions.
MVP of the Game went to Washington QB Erik Meyers going 21-for-31 237 yards and four touchdowns.
Tonight’s Attendance was a reported 15,579