Brigade Press Release. Photo via: Baltimore Brigade
BALTIMORE, MD – The Baltimore Brigade (2-1) defeat the Columbus Destroyers (0-3) Friday night at Royal Farms Arena 48-30. Wide Receiver Joe Hills became the 17th player in Arena Football History to surpass 10,000 career receiving yards tonight. Hills was named Offensive Player of the Game with nine receptions for 74 yards and one touchdown. Quarterback Shane Boyd was named Most Valuable Player with his 24 completions for 287 yards and five touchdown performance.
“Our team grew a lot this game,” Brigade Head Coach Omarr Smith said. “We spoke about facing adversity and how to respond to it this week. From that perspective, I am very excited because our players grew tonight. It was a great, hard fought win.”
Boyd connected a touchdown pass to all four wideouts, including two to Brandon Collins in the second half. Wide receiver Brandon Thompkins led Baltimore with nine receptions for 74 yards and one touchdown, which pushed him pass 8,000 career reception yards. Hills, Thompkins, and wide receiver Milton Williams III have all scored at least one touchdown since the beginning of the season.
Baltimore’s defense brought the pressure throughout the night led by linebacker Dexter Jackson, defensive lineman Darryl Cato-Bishop, and defensive backs Joe Powell and Josh Victorian. Jackson was explosive grabbing one sack for a loss of seven yards, one forced fumble, one fumble recovery, and three solo tackles. Cato-Bishop also racked up a crucial sack for a loss of five yards, one solo tackle, and one forced fumble that defensive lineman Robert Hayes recovered in the third quarter. Victorian collected seven solo tackles for the second week in a row and one pass breakup. Powell stole an interception in the first quarter, his third for the season, and tallied five total tackles (4 solo).
Baltimore shut Columbus out for the entire first quarter. On the first play of the game Boyd connected with Hills for a 44-yard touchdown, making this the second straight week Hills scored the first touchdown of the night. His AFL record now sits at 95 consecutive games with a touchdown.
During the second quarter, Columbus added points to the board with a completed pass from Destroyers quarterback Grant Russell to wideout Paul Revis. Boyd answered by scoring a one-yard rushing touchdown, his first of the season. Grant inched Columbus up to Baltimore’s 8-yard line, but defensive stops and a sack by Jackson pushed Columbus back to the 14-yard line, forcing Columbus to attempt a field goal. Baltimore lead 21-10 at the half.
Columbus wideout Fabian Guerra returned a kickoff 55 yards for a touchdown to end the third quarter. By the fourth quarter, the Destroyers were trailing by only five points. Collins scored his second touchdown of the night and Columbus answered with a touchdown of their own. Brigade extended their lead to 41-30 after a two-yard touchdown by Rory Nixon. Jackson recovered a fumble late in the fourth and Thompkins scored a touchdown with 13 seconds left on the clock, sealing Baltimore’s victory.
The Brigade hit the road for their first away game of the season next Saturday, May 18 at 7:00 pm against the Atlantic City Blackjacks at Jim Whelan Boardwalk Hall. Baltimore is back home at Royal Farm Arena Sunday, May 26 at 3:00 pm to take on the Philadelphia Soul. 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, 24 passes, 287 yards, 5 touchdowns, 1 sack
OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE GAME: BAL WR Joe Hills, 6 catches, 93 yards, 1 touchdown
DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE GAME: COL DB Brandon Stephens, 11 solo tackles, one pass breakup
LB Dexter Jackson on Defense Performance
“We just took advantage of our opportunities tonight. We are all brothers and play off each other. If one guy isn’t in the right place, we can feel that. So anytime one of us make a play, we all make a play.”
DB Josh Victorian on Defense Performance
“We have a lot of big, physical guys out there. Guys like Dexter Jackson, I feed off him and my other teammates. We’ve been harping on defensive pressure all week. I feel like this is the first time this season that we all pulled it together from the front end to the back end.”
QB Shane Boyd On Performance
“We started off slow offensively, but defense had a great game. They made it tough for the Columbus quarterback and really brought the intensity from the beginning. Offensively, we are an unselfish team. Everyone had a touchdown and it’s always good to be able to spread it around. These guys can really play ball.”
WR Joe Hills on 10,000 Career Reception Yards
“I’ve been in this game for a long time. There’s a reason I keep coming back year after year, I love it. Putting on a show for the fans and coming on the field doing what I love every game is a blessing. It’s an honor to be a part of such an elite group in the league who have reached 10,000 yards, but I’m not done. Not yet.”
WR Joe Hills On TD Streak
“It feels good to keep the streak alive. Coach Smith does a great job at calling plays that will put myself and the rest of the receivers in the right position to be successful. Shane also does a great job at spreading the ball around. I I’m happy to be apart of this team and to see what all we can do.”
ABOUT THE BALTIMORE BRIGADE
The AFL’s Baltimore Brigade are owned and operated by Monumental Sports & Entertainment, which is one of the largest integrated sports and entertainment companies in the country with one of the most diverse partnership groups in all of sports. MSE owns and operates seven professional sports teams: the Brigade, 2018 ArenaBowl Champion Washington Valor, NBA’s Washington Wizards, NBA G League’s Capital City Go-Go, NBA 2K League’s Wizards District Gaming, WNBA’s Washington Mystics and the 2018 NHL Stanley Cup Champion Washington Capitals. Monumental Sports & Entertainment is also co-owner of aXiomatic, which has controlling interest in global esports franchise Team Liquid, and owns and operates Capital One Arena in Washington, D.C. Monumental Sports & Entertainment also manages MedStar Capitals Iceplex, the state-of-the-art training facility for the Capitals and EagleBank Arena on George Mason University’s campus. In conjunction with the District of Columbia and Events DC, MSE is a partner in a new sports and entertainment facility in Southeast DC on the St. Elizabeth’s East campus that opened in September 2018.