AFL Valor 

4th quarter mistakes costly as Valor lose fifth straight game

The Washington Valor back and forth battle vs the undefeated Philadelphia Soul came down to the wire in a narrow disappointing 48-47 defeat at the Verizon Center. After being just activated off injured reserve just three days prior to Saturday’s matchup, Sean Brackett looked good in his first AFL start since August 8, 2015, as he led a late Washington charge coming up just short.

Brackett and Greg Carr were the story of the first half, connecting for three touchdowns including a 20-yard strike on the first possession of the game. Brackett was sacked 4 times in his first three possessions and quickly fell behind the soul 21-7 early in the second quarter. He responded with a touchdown pass the Carr tocut the deficit to 7, then on ensuing kickoff  the ball bounced off the net and was recovered by Josh Reese for a touchdown to tie the game up at 21. The defense forced a turnover on downs the next possession and Bracket connected with Carr again for his third touchdown of the half to take a 28-21 lead with 19 seconds left in the half. Before they could take that lead into halftime, Chris Duvalt returned the  ensuing kickoff 58 yards for the touchdown to tie the game at 28 at halftime.

Philadelphia had the first two scores in the third quarter, the first coming on a Mykell Benson one-yard rush. The Valor’s first drive ended when Brackett was hit by Sean Daniels and Tyre Glasper which caused a fumble which was recovered by Joe Goosby, the Soul took advantage as Dan Raudabaugh hit Darius Reynolds on a 28-yard slant to make the score 42-28 at the end of three.

The Valor charged back in the fourth quarter when Sean Brackett threw touchdown passes on Washington’s first two possessions in the fourth quarter. The first, a nine-yard reception by Greg Carr and the second a 13-yard catch by Josh Reese to cut the lead to 42-41. The following extra point was missed wide right and kept the deficit at one as the Soul scored on their next possession. Philadelphia failed to get the two point conversion, keeping the Valor within one possession with 57 seconds left. The Valor recovered the ensuing onsideskick and took over at the 9-yard line. They capitalized on the good field position when Charles McClain scored on a reverse from three yards out with 42 seconds left in regulation.  The extra point was mishandled by Brackett and Washington failed the attempt, leaving them down by one point. Washington attempted an onside kick but the Soul recovered and was able to run out the remaining time.

Philadelphia’s signal caller Raudabaugh, ranks second in the league in completion percentage, total passing yards, and passer rating. He was held below his averages with only 10 completions on 22 attempts for 148 yards, but did throw five touchdowns in the game. The Valor defense was able to hold this prolific Soul offense that leads the AFL in points per game to just 48, well below their season average of 61.3.

Brackett showed confidence throwing for 231 yards and five touchdowns with no interceptions in the place of the injured starting quarterback Erik Meyer. His main target on the day Greg Carr, led all Washington receivers with 12 receptions for 131 yards and four touchdowns to allow the Valor to stay in the game. The Valor look to build off the good defensive performance and carry the confidence of their new quarterback in their next game against the Cleveland Gladiators. The Gladiators only win this season came against the Valor.

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