Nelson named game’s Most Valuable Player for the fifth time this season
News Release, Washington Valor
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Washington Valor (5-4) defeated the Baltimore Brigade (5-4), 42-35, Thursday night at Capital One Arena. Valor wide receiver Josh Reese put Washington ahead when he recovered a loose ball following a missed field goal with just 14.9 seconds left in the game. Valor quarterback Arvell Nelson was named the game’s Most Valuable Player for the fifth time this season, accounting for five total touchdowns, including four rushing touchdowns.
The win moves Washington into second place in the league standings, tied with the Brigade. The Valor are now 3-1 at home this season with two of their three remaining regular season games to be played at Capital One Arena.
VALOR NOTES & QUOTES
- Valor wide receiver Reggie Gray scored on the first possession of the game – a seven-yard touchdown reception from Nelson, giving him 11 receiving touchdowns on the season and a score in four consecutive games. The touchdown was also the 265th of Gray’s career, moving the him into a tie for 9th on the AFL’s all-time receiving touchdowns list.
- Nelson’s four rushing touchdowns were his most in a single game since running for five against Baltimore in ArenaBowl XXXI in 2018.
- In addition to the game-winning touchdown, Reese led the team with five receptions for 56 yards, his second game this season with 5+ receptions.
- Valor defensive back Jabari Gorman, making his first appearance of the season, tied for the team lead with five total tackles (four solo).
- Washington recorded 20 first downs to Baltimore’s 12 and have now registered more first downs than their opponent in seven of nine games this season.
- Valor kicker Pat Clarke hit all six of his extra point attempts against Baltimore. His third of the game, with just over 30 seconds left in the third quarter, marked his 100th in a Valor uniform.
VALOR HEAD COACH BENJI MCDOWELL
On Valor wide receiver Josh Reese’s game-winning touchdown:
“It was great. That was a game-winning touchdown and it meant a lot…He was prepped. (Josh) Reese is always around the ball like that and always makes a play when we need it most. He did that tonight.”
On the game:
“Sometimes things go your way and sometimes they don’t. When we really believe good things are going to happen, it happens and when we start doing things outside of our nature, it doesn’t go our way. This game, we stayed locked in the whole game.”
On sharing a moment pregame with decorated Special Olympian Tiffany Robinson:
“They have been coming to the games since the first game here. Her dad always speaks to me and I speak to him and send emails. She’s able to make probably half of the home games every year and every time I see her, she’s smiling. I didn’t know until this past offseason the type of athlete she was and how many medals she has won. Just talking to her, you can see why she’s always got a smile on her face. She’s always upbeat and able to bring that type of attitude and mentality to our guys. No matter what you’re going through, you can always have fun, you can always be a winner, you can always inspire. She’s been an inspiration to me and this team and I’m just excited for the team to have seen her today.”
VALOR WIDE RECEIVER JOSH REESE
On being ready to make a play late in the game:
“I always want to be the guy to make a play, so I never think about what’s going on or that we’re down or that we might lose. If I can control the game in any kind of way and make something happen, that’s what I’m going to do. That’s my goal the whole time. In my head, I was like ‘if it’s up to you make something happen, score a touchdown, get a fumble, some kind of way,’ and that’s what happened.”
On taking this momentum forward in the season:
“You can’t think too far ahead, but of course we want to win every game. We just take it one day at a time…We have a great team. In the games that we lost, we kind of stumbled on ourselves and made mistakes that were on us, but nobody is just going out and flat out beat us. We’re beating ourselves so we know if we play our football we can win any game.”
The Valor are back at Capital One Arena next Saturday, June 29, hosting the Atlantic City Blackjacks at 7 p.m. Washington won the team’s only prior meeting this season, 41-34, in the Valor’s home opener on May 11.