May 11, 2018: The Albany Empire defeat the Washington Valor, 53-42, at Capital One Arena in Washington, DC.

Valor Fall to Empire, 55-54, in First Home Loss of 2019

Nelson throws touchdowns to five different receivers in seven-touchdown performance

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Washington Valor (4-4) suffered their first home loss of the season, a 56-55 defeat at the hands of the Albany Empire (7-1) Saturday night at Capital One Arena. The Valor jumped out to a 34-7 lead in the first half, thanks to five early touchdowns from quarterback – and Offensive Player of the Game – Arvell Nelson, but were unable to contain the Albany offense in the second half.

The Valor are back at Capital One Arena for their second of three consecutive home games on Thursday, June 20, hosting the Baltimore Brigade (5-3) at 7 p.m. The game will be broadcast live on NBC Sports Washington and ESPN3. Baltimore defeated Washington, 59-51, in the teams’ only prior meeting this season (Week 1).

VALOR NOTES & QUOTES

  • The Valor became the first team in the AFL this season to have five different receivers catch a touchdown pass in one game: Reggie Gray (2), Dezmon Epps (1), Jared Dangerfield (1), Josh Reese (1) and Anthony Parker (1).
  • Nelson registered his fourth game this season with 6+ passing touchdowns and his fourth game this season with 250+ passing yards.
  • Valor defensive back Svante Davenport, coming off a six-tackle performance last weekend against Philadelphia, recorded his best game of the season, tallying 5.5 total tackles (five solo), one forced fumble and an interception.
  • Nelson connected with wide receiver Josh Reese for a 45-yard touchdown on the game’s first play from scrimmage, just one yard shy of the team’s longest offensive play this season.
  • Valor offensive lineman Anthony Parker caught his first touchdown of the season, a six-yards pass that put Washington up, 34-7, with three minutes left in the first half. Parker now has nine receiving touchdowns in his eight-year AFL career.
  • Nelson scored his 10th rushing touchdown of the season, a one-yard run to put the Valor up, 27-7, in the second quarter, and has now registered a rushing touchdown in six of eight games this season.
  • In addition to his impact on offense, Reese made his presence known on special teams, recovering a pair of Albany onside kick attempts, one of which he returned for a touchdown early in the fourth quarter.


VALOR HEAD COACH BENJI MCDOWELL

On the game:

“We had a chance to win at the end. Things happen. We will get better from it. This season is far from over.”

On what he takes away from the loss:

“We played very well; we just have to shake some of the mistakes. Defensively, we lost two key players early in the third quarter and they got on us at the end.”

On becoming the first team this season to have five different receivers catch a touchdown in one game:

“(Our receivers) are all great players. They all have their own special attributes that they bring. We try to push that out of them and help it be seen a lot more. We did that tonight – we just didn’t come away with the win.”

On preparing for Baltimore on a short week:

“It doesn’t change too much. We just go back at it. Baltimore will be in the same position as us, playing Saturday and Thursday, so no one is really at a disadvantage. We just go in, get healthy and just try and come out and play.”

VALOR QUARTERBACK ARVELL NELSON

On the game:

“We just have to learn to finish…down the stretch, we just have to get better. We need to learn to finish. Do the small things right and everything will be alright.”

On what can be improved going forward:

“We’re going to keep fighting. We have a team full of fighters that are going to leave it all out there every week. Guys aren’t going to quit. This one hurt, but we’ll get over it and get to work.”

On being back in front of the home fans after three consecutive road games:

“It felt great, actually. These fans come out, they’re loud, they’re cheering and they’re having a great time. They gave us the energy.”

On becoming the first team this season to have five different receivers catch a touchdown in one game:

“We just have five guys that are willing and capable to score at any moment. I just try to get those guys the ball. We’re going to continue to do that. Those are our playmakers.”

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