After starting the season with 7 straight losses, losing their former AFL MVP starting qb Nick Davila for the season, and they would go on to fire their first ever head coach after the same game. Even after multiple starting QB changes the Valor were able to overcome a rough 2-10 season to become arena bowl champions for the first time in team history, after beating the Baltimore Brigade 69-55 over the weekend.
Despite its unsuccessful regular season under interim coach Benji McDowell and journeyman Qb Arvell Nelson, Washington had earned a spot in the playoffs under the format winning a two game aggregate playoff series against the top seeded Albany Empire to reach the ArenaBowl against the Brigade. the Brigade had dominated the valor in the regular season going 3-0 and outsocring the valor 175-139 until the last game of the season when washing was able to beat the brigade for their second win of the season.
Washington took the early lead with a one yard touchdown run by Nelson Arvell on the first drive of the game, a trend that would continue for him throughout the game. after Baltimore would tie the game on the next drive on a WR Brandon Collins 18 yd pass reception from Randy Hippeard ending a slow first quarter. Washington would take control in the second, outscoring the Brigade 28-13 including in that span an onside kick recovery for a touchdown and 3 rushing touchdowns from Nelson to make the score 35-20 at the half.
In the second half the offense for the valor wouldn’t slow down and the defense began to take the game away from baltimore after more turnovers and silly mistakes continued in the second half. on Baltimores first possession Hippeard threw a desperation pass to that was intercepted by Davenport, who returned the ball to the 21 yard line That led to another Valor touchdown. The Brigade’s WR Bardon Thompkins returned the ensuing kickoff to Washington 10 yard line where the ball was fumbled and recovered in the end zone for the touchdown to cut the valor lead to 42-27.
After the valor drive went 4 and out baltimore would fumble on the enxt play and was recovered by washington leading to a Nelson passing touchdown to WR Doug McNeill for 29 yards making the score 49-27. On the ensuing kickoff this time Thompkins returned the kickoff the full length of the field on his own for a 57 yard touchdown cutting the Washington Valor lead to 49-34, but Nelson would respond on the following drive with another passing touchdown to McNeil to extend the lead to 56-34. to end the 3rd quarter. Baltimore would start the 4th with a touchdown quickly when Hippeard hit Brandon Thompkins wide open for a 5 yard completion and the score.
The ensuing Brigade onside kick attempt was recovered by washingtom and returned 5 yards by McNeil for his 4th touchdown of the game extending the lead to 63-41. the brigade would close the gap with 2 quick scores including a RB Rory Nixon 3 yard touchdown, and a Brandon Collins 10 yard score following a turnover on downs by the valor making the score 63-55. Arvell Nelson would seal the win on the next drive when he scored on a 5 yard run, his 5th of the game which is a ArenaBowl record to make the lead extend to double digits at 69-55 with 51 seconds remaining in the game. baltimore would try to score befote the game ended but fell short after a turnover n downs ending the game, Arvell Nelson would be named MVP after his 5 rushing touchdowns and 3 passing touchdowns with 23 completions on 33 passing attempts hitting 5 different receivers for 223 yards.