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Valor Fall, 53-42, to Empire in Home Opener

Friday May 11, 2018

Smith Jr. sets season highs in passing yards and passing touchdowns

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Washington Valor were defeated, 53-42, by the Albany Empire on Friday night at Capital One Arena. Valor quarterback Warren Smith Jr. threw for a season-high 227 yards and five touchdowns. Empire quarterback Tommy Grady was named MVP for his seven-touchdown performance.

Albany found the end zone on the game’s opening possession as quarterback Tommy Grady found wideout Malachi Jones for a 41-yard touchdown, putting the Empire up 6-0. Washington answered quickly, taking a 7-6 lead on a 14-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Warren Smith Jr. to wide receiver TT Toliver. After Grady found former Valor wideout Greg Carr for a touchdown, Washington took back the lead on Toliver’s second touchdown catch of the night, putting the Valor up 14-12 with 18 seconds left in the first quarter. Jones scored his second touchdown of the night, a 19-yard pass from Grady, giving Albany a 19-14 lead three minutes into the second quarter. Valor wide receiver Chris Duvalt notched his second receiving touchdown of the season with six minutes left in the second quarter, giving Washington a 21-19 lead. After another Grady passing touchdown, scored his first rushing touchdown of the season, giving Washington a 28-26 lead with 2:38 left in the first half. Albany answered, however, as Jones scored his third touchdown of the night – this one on the ground – to give the Empire a 32-28 lead heading into halftime.

Jones scored the only points of the third quarter – a 22-yard pass from Grady with 5:36 remaining in the quarter, giving Albany it’s first double-digit lead of the game. Empire wideout Joe Hills scored his first touchdown of the night and Albany’s third-straight to extend the lead over Washington to 46-28. Valor wide receiver Reggie Gray caught his third touchdown of the season to bring the Valor back within 11 points. Grady tossed his seventh touchdown of the night with 4:15 left in the contest, finding Joe Hills for the second time and giving Albany a 53-35 lead. Smith Jr. found wideout Josh Reese in the end zone to set the final score at 53-42.

MVP: ALB QB Tommy Grady – 16/24 passing, 257 yards and seven touchdowns

OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE GAME: ALB WR Malachi Jones – 126 total yards and four total touchdowns

DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE GAME: ALB LB Terrence Moore – Six total tackles and a fumble recovery

The Valor return to action next weekend, hosting the Baltimore Brigade on Saturday, May 19 at 3 p.m. at Capital One Arena. The game will be broadcast live on Monumental Sports Network, AFL Now and Facebook Watch.


The AFL’s Washington Valor are owned and operated by Monumental Sports & Entertainment, which is one of the largest integrated sports and entertainment companies in the country with one of the most diverse partnership groups in all of sports. The company also owns and operates the NBA’s Washington Wizards, NHL’s Washington Capitals, the WNBA’s Washington Mystics, the NBA G League’s Capital City Go-Go, the AFL’s Baltimore Brigade, NBA 2K League’s Wizards District Gaming, as well as Capital One Arena, the premier sports and entertainment venue in Washington, D.C. Monumental Sports & Entertainment is also co-owner of aXiomatic, which has controlling interest in global esports franchise Team Liquid, and oversees the management of Kettler Capitals Iceplex--the training facility for the Washington Capitals--and the Eagle Bank arena at George Mason University.