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Washington Valor win ArenaBowl XXXI 69-55

Joe Kauffman
Saturday July 28, 2018

After a bizarre finish with a roughing the passer penalty resulting in an untimed down after the arena fired off its confetti, the Washington Valor won ArenaBowl XXXI 69-55 over the Baltimore Brigade. Arvell Nelson shined, scoring five rushing touchdowns and three passing touchdowns on 23 completions in 33 attempts. Neslon hit 5 different receivers for 223 yards.

For the Brigade, Randy Hippeard was 19 of 30 passing for 288 yards and 5 touchdowns, but his 2 interceptions, both by Svante Davenport, came at bad times and the Brigade ended up trailing the majority of the game.

0:51.0 4Q - Touchdown!  Arvell Nelson scored on a 5 yard run on 3rd down. The rushing touchdown was Nelson's 5th of the game, setting an ArenaBowl record. Pat Clarke's PAT attempt was no good. The drive forced the Brigade to use all of their timeouts, and the Valor lead 69-55.

2:18 4Q - Touchdown! - Brandon Collins caught a Randy Hippeard pass for 10 yards for the score following the Baltimore turnover on downs. The pass was the 6th play of a 44 yard drive. The Mark Lewis PAT trimmed the Washington lead to 63-55.

5:18 4Q - STOP! Following a Baltimore Brigade failed onside kick attempt, he Washington Valor chose to run time off the clock using downs  rather than trying to score, resulting in an incomplete pass on fourth down in the end zone. 

10:03 4Q Touchdown! - Rory  Nixon carried the ball 3 yards for the touchdown.The PAT by Mark Lewis was good, making the score 63-48.

11:39  4Q - Touchdown! The Brigade onside kick attempt was returned 5 yards by Doug McNeil for the touchdown. It was McNeil's 4th touchdown of the game. The Valor lead is 63-41.

12:19 4Q -Touchdown! Randy Hippeard hit Brandon Thompkins for a 5 yard completion and the score. The touchdown was the third play of the 10 yard drive.  The PAT by Mark Lewis reduced th e Valor lead to 56-41.

End 3Q - Touchdown! Arvell Nelson and Doug McNeil have quickly hooked up for their third aerial scores of the game, a 14 yard pass. Washington has dominated the time of possession after 3 quarters, leading 32:11 to 12:49. Pat Clarke's PAT extends Washington's lead to 56-34.

1:38 3Q -Touchdown! This time Brandon Thompkins returned the kickoff the full length of the field on his own, scoring the 57 yard touchdown. The Mark Lewis PAT cuts the Washington Valor lead to 49-34.

2:32 3Q - Touchdown! On the third play following the recovery of a Baltimore fumble, Arvell Nelson hit Doug McNeill for 29 yards. This was the second passing and receiving TD for both in the game. The Pat Clarke PAT made the score 49-27.

6:31 3Q - Touchdown! The Baltimore Brigade's Bardon Thompkins returned the kickoff to Washington 10 yard line where the ball was fumbled and recovered by Michael Knight in the end zone for the touchdown. The PAT by Mark Lewis is good and the Brigade cut the lead to 42-27.

7:14 3Q - Touchdown! Following an interception, Arvell Nelson hit Doug McNeil for an 11 yard touchdown pass. The scoring drive was 5 plays long for 21 yards and used 3:44 off the clock. The Washington Valor extend their lead to 42-20.

11:55 3Q - STOP! Randy Hippeard threw his second interception of the game. Svante Davenport intercepted the pass in the end zone, his second of the game, and returned it to the Baltimore 21 yard line. This was the second stop of the game for Washington.

HALF! - The Washington Valor lead ArenaBowl XXXI 35-20 at halftime. The Valor executed an excellent first half leading the game in nearly all statistical categories. Washington's Nelson Arvell is 15-of-23 passing for 136 yards. He also has 7 rushing attempts for 25 yards and four, yes four, touchdowns on the ground. For the Baltimore Brigade, Randy Hippeard is 8-of-11 passing for 141 yards with 3 touchdowns and an interception. The key play in the first half was a Pat Clarke onside kick that was recovered by the Valor and returned for a touchdown.

0:06.2 2Q - Touchdown!  Arvell Nelson does it again, scoring on a one yard run. It was Nelson's fourth rushing touchdown of the game. The Valor playcalling was near-perfect, forcing the Brigade to use all their timeouts and running out the majority of the second half clock. Washington's drive was 5 plays for 12 yards and used 38 seconds of clock. Pat Clarke's PAT extends the Washington lead to 35-20.

0:43.8 2Q - Touchdown! Randy Hippeard completed a 9 yard pass to Quentin Sims for the touchdown on the second play afte another Washington onside kick attempt. Following a holding penalty on the first PAT attempt, a bad snap on the second resulted in a missed conversion. Washington leads 28-20.

0:55.0 2Q - Touchdown! Chris Duvalt recovered the Pat Clarke onside kick at the 17 yard line and returned it 33 yards for a touchdown. Clarke's PAT extended the Washington Valor lead to 28-14.

1:00 2Q - Touchdown! Arvell Nelson ran for 14 yards for the score. The TD was Nelson's 3rd rushing touchdown of the half. Pat Clarke's extra point makes the score 21-14 for the Valor. Washington's drive was 5 plays for 45 yards and used 5:10 of the clock.

6:10 2Q - Touchdown! Randy Hippeard completed a 45 yard pass to Brandon Collins resulting in the score. The pass was the only play of the drive. The PAT by Mark Lewis is good and the game is tied 14-14.

8:00 2Q - Touchdown! Arvell Nelson rolled right and kept the ball, running 6 yards for the score. The PAT is good as the Valor retake the lead 14-7. Washington's drive was 5 plays for 18 yards and ran 3:05 off the clock.

11:46 2Q - STOP! Randy Hippeard's pass riccocheted off the iron and was intercepted by Washington's Svante Davenport and returned to the Valor 18.

0:24.4 1Q - STOP! A fourth down Washington Brigade touchdown was negated when Arvell Nelson's forward pass was deemded illegal after he crossed the line of scrimmage. The penalty resulted in a loss of down and turnover on downs. First down Baltimore.

5:25 1Q - Touchdown! Randy Hippeard threw an 18 yard touchdown to Brandon Collins on just the second play of the drive. The Mark Lewis PAT is good and the score is all tied up at 7-7.

7:40 1Q - Touchdown! The Washington Valor take the early lead in ArenaBowl XXXI with a one yard touchdown run by Nelson Arvell. Key plays on the drive were a pair of third down conversion passes to Doug McNeil and Josh Reese. The Pat Clarke PAT makes the score 7-0.

7:13 pm ET - Kickoff of ArenaBowl XXXI! Mark Lewis kicks the ball off the net, but the Valor are unable to maintain control. The ball goes out of bounds in the end zone for a touchback.

7:10 pm ET - Coin toss! The Washington Valor call tails. It is heads and the Baltimore Brigade win the toss and choose to defer to the second half. Washington will receive to begin the game.

7:07pm ET - Please rise for the National Anthem.

7:00pm ET - Kickoff of ArenaBowl XXXI is coming up in ten minutes. Tha Baltimore Brigade are taking the field. The Washington Valor came through the tunnel a few minutes earlier.

6:13pm ET  - ArenaBowl XXXI is set to kickoff in 56 minutes at Royal Farms Arena. The championship matchup is between the 7-5 Baltimore Brigade and the 2-10 Washington Valor. Fans are beginning to arrive at the arena.

Joe Kauffman is President and Editor in Chief of Arenafan Online, having joined the staff in 2000. He graduated from Florida State University in 1998 with a degree in communications andbuilds ecommerce sites for a day job. Joe has enjoyed Arena Football since 1991 and has been a member of the Arena Football Internet community since 1995. Prior to Joining Arenafan, he was a co-founder and Technical Editor of the Storm Shelter, which covered the Tampa Bay Storm from 1996-99. Joe and his wife Erika live in Hackettstown, New Jersey with their two daughters.
The opinions expressed in the article above are only those of the writer, and do not necessarily reflect the thoughts, opinions, or official stance of ArenaFan Online or its staff, or the Arena Football League, or any AFL or af2 teams.
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