Baltimore Brigade Press Release. Photo via: AFL Twitter
The Baltimore Brigade (5-3) defeated the Columbus Destroyers (1-7), 44-39, Saturday at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, O.H. Brigade wide receiver Joe Hills made Arena Football League history by catching a touchdown reception in his 100th consecutive game. Hills finished with six receptions for 54 yards and two touchdowns.
“It’s a milestone that I am very proud to have reached,” Hills said. “It took me a long time to get here. Over the course of my career, there has been a lot of coaches and players that were a part of those 100 games and my family has been supporting me the entire way.”
Quarterback Shane Boyd completed 18 of 28 passes for 229 yards and six touchdowns. Boyd was named Most Valuable Player for the second consecutive game and connected touchdown passes to all three starting wideouts including three to Brandon Collins who led the Brigade with seven receptions for 132 yards and three touchdowns. For his efforts, Collin was named Offensive Player of the Game. Baltimore sacked the Columbus quarterback four times with defensive linemen Darryl Cato-Bishop and Justin Lawrence hauling in two each.
“It was a big win for us,” Baltimore Brigade Head Coach Omarr Smith said. “First time in franchise history we won consecutive road games. Columbus is a very physical team, has a very good defense with a good young quarterback. We knew it wasn’t going to be easy and I’m happy for our guys.”
Columbus scored their first six points when quarterback Grant Russell completed a pass to wide receiver Paul Browning for a 22-yard touchdown. The Brigade answered with a 23-yard touchdown pass from Boyd to Collins. The made field goal left Columbus trailing by one. Columbus found the endzone again when their quarterback rushed five yards in for a touchdown. Hills scored his first touchdown of the night with a 11-yard pass, which extended his AFL record to 100 straight games. Both teams made one more score with Boyd connecting another pass to Hills for a 18-yard touchdown. The defense prevented Columbus from scoring on their next possession with Lawrence picking up his first sack of the night for a loss of five yards, however defensive back Varmah Sonie picked up an interception with 59 seconds remaining in the half. Unable to score, the Brigade and Destroyers went into halftime tied at 20-20.
Collins ran away with the game during the third quarter picking up two touchdowns for a combined 56 yards. Lawrence picked up his second sack of the night for a loss of four yards. Baltimore lead 34-27 going into the fourth quarter. The Brigade started the fourth quarter with a 16-yard touchdown pass from Boyd to Williams. Cato-Bishop brought down the Columbus quarterback twice during the fourth for a loss of eight yards combined. After a made field goal from kicker Lane Clark, Baltimore led 44-33. Columbus added the last points on the board with less than 30 seconds remaining in the game, but Baltimore took home the win with a 44-39 final score.
The Brigade take on the Washington Valor in Washington D.C. on Thursday, June 20 at 7:00 p.m. at Capital One Arena. Baltimore won 59-51 against the Valor at Royal Farms Arena during the season opener. This will be the teams second matchup of the season.
MVP: BAL QB Shane Boyd, 18 passes, 229 yards, 6 touchdowns, 1 interception
OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE GAME: BAL WR Brandon Collins 7 receptions, 132 yards, 3 touchdowns
DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE GAME: COL DB Varmah Sonie, 3 total tackles (2 solo), 1 forced fumble, 1 interception
Brigade Head Coach Omarr Smith
On game in general
“It was important for us to grow individually and as a team. I still think offensively we need to be better and defensively we didn’t handle the situation at the end of the game very well. So, those are things I am looking to work on but, I am proud of the way we played today.”
On wide receivers Brandon Collins and Joe Hills
“Brandon stepped up tonight. Made some big plays for us. Joe Hills, you have to acknowledge him for his 100th consecutive game with a touchdown. It is a remarkable feat, well deserved and a true testament to his work ethic and his God given ability.”
On defensive line 4 sack performance
“Going into this week we knew that for us to have success defensively we would have to get after them up front. Coach Housman put a great game plan together and got those guys motivated to get after it.”
Quarterback Shane Boyd
On game in general
“I’m proud of my guys, really proud. We knew coming into this game that Columbus was coming off a win and was going to give us their all. We knew we were in for a battle but the way we responded was great. Offensively we kept going, we overcame some adversity, we have some guys that are banged up, but they pushed through it. Defensively we got some stops, they got us the ball back and we were able to separate ourselves to be able to close the game out.”
On wide receiver Joe Hills
“When you look at the great milestone of Joe Hills and him having 100 straight games with a touchdown, that’s just amazing. Let alone playing 100 games period but to produce in 100 straight games is something unheard of. It’s a testament to how he prepares himself, how he takes care of his body and how he puts himself in different positions to help us win.”
Wide Receiver Joe Hills
On 100th consecutive game with a touchdown reception
“It’s definitely something that me and my family and my teammates are going to celebrate. It’s a great accomplishment to hit 100 but I look forward to pushing that streak further and to see what all my team can accomplish together.”