Nelson totals seven scores, finds Reese for 46-yard game-winner with six seconds remaining
News Release, Washington Valor
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Washington Valor (2-2) defeated the Philadelphia Soul (2-2), 53-46, Saturday afternoon at Capital One Arena. Valor quarterback Arvell Nelson, whose seven total touchdowns earned him Most Valuable Player honors, connected with wide receiver Josh Reese for a 46-yard score with just six seconds left to give Washington the victory. With the win, the Valor improve to 2-0 at home this season.
VALOR NOTES & QUOTES
- Nelson recorded his second game this season with 300+ passing yards and 5+ passing touchdowns.
- Valor wideout Reggie Gray caught multiple touchdowns for the second straight week. His 10-yard and 37-yard scores put him just five receiving touchdowns away for 10th in AFL history.
- Valor rookie defensive back Jadar Johnson registered his first career interception, picking off Soul quarterback Dan Raudabaugh in the end zone with 5:49 left in the third quarter, setting up a Valor drive that gave them their first two-possession lead of the game. Johnson was named Defensive Player of the Game for his 6.5-tackle, one-interception performance.
- Valor wide receiver Dezmon Epps, who entered the game leading the league in yards per reception (18.9) and receiving touchdowns (5), recorded team highs of nine receptions and 113 receiving yards.
- Nelson ran for a pair of touchdowns, both in the first half, giving him three consecutive games with multiple rushing touchdowns and six games with 3+ passing touchdowns and 2+ rushing touchdowns since joining the Valor midway through last season.
- The Valor held the ball for a season-high 36:54 of the game, the third straight week the team has won the time-of-possession battle.
- After Nelson’s only interception of the game was returned to the Valor one-yard line, Washington kept Philadelphia out of the end zone with a four-play goal-line stand to maintain a one-point lead midway through the first quarter.
- Valor kicker Pat Clarke was a perfect 7-7 against the Soul, converting on six extra points and one field goal.
- Washington earns its first-ever home win over Philadelphia. The Valor had lost the previous four matchups with the Soul in D.C.
- Valor wide receiver Douglas McNeil III, making his season debut, caught his first pass of the season with 7:26 left in the third quarter, an 11-yard touchdown that put Washington up 35-27.
VALOR HEAD COACH BENJI MCDOWELL
On today’s game
“Our biggest goal is to put guys in position to win. We did that today. We have a lot of weapons on offense. It’s a really skilled group that compliments each other well and they did their jobs here today.”
On playing against Philadelphia
“Philadelphia is a great team with a track record of success. [Head Coach] Clint Dolezel and [quarterback] Dan Raudabaugh have been together a long time and know how to put together wins in this league. It’s never easy to beat these guys.”
VALOR QUARTERBACK ARVELL NELSON
On today’s game
“This is what we play for. This is what we work for in the offseason. These moments in the fourth quarter where everything is on the line – that’s what it’s all about. That’s what makes this game so fun.”
On what can be improved going forward
“We just have to stop shooting ourselves in the foot with unforced errors. Once we eliminate some of the mistakes and turnovers, we are going to be a really dangerous team. There’s a lot of talent on this team.”
VALOR LINEBACKER JIMMY GORDON
On today’s game
“It was a little close for my liking, but we got the win. That’s what counts. We accomplished our goal today.”
On the team coming together as the season progresses
“We really came together as a team in all three phases of the game today. We have some incredible athletes that can really do damage. Some of our young guys are really starting to put it together as well. Once we really start firing on all cylinders, we can do some special things.”
NEXT TIME OUT
The Valor are back in action next Saturday, May 25, taking on the Columbus Destroyers at 3:30 p.m. at Nationwide Arena in the first of three consecutive road games. The game will be broadcast live on NBC Sports Washington + and ESPN3. The Valor return to Capital One Arena on Saturday, June 15, hosting the Albany Empire at 7 p.m.